NASHVILLE – The Titans beat the Buffalo Bills 34-31 in a wild one on Monday night at Nissan Stadium.
Here's a look at six things that stood out from the contest…
Last Second Stop
The game was on the line. The Bills, facing a 4th and 1 at the Titans three-yard line with just 22 seconds left, were on the verge of finishing off a long drive for a touchdown, and a win. The Titans, and defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, had something else in mind. At the snap, the seemingly improbable happened. Bills quarterback Josh Allen got the ball, and he was stifled at the line by Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, who table-topped Bills tackle Dion Dawkins, for no gain on a QB sneak. It was game over, and celebration on. "We anticipated the sneak," Simmons said. "That's the play I thought they were going to run, and they did. I just put my big arms around him, and he was short. … I knew he was short."
Titans running back Derrick Henry is a machine. And he just keeps on running. Henry ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns last night, including a 76-yard burst in the first half that sent Nissan Stadium into a frenzy. Henry also scored on a 13-yard touchdown run late. It was the fifth straight 100-yard game for Henry, who now has 783 yards and 10 touchdowns after just six games. What we're all witnessing is incredible really. "We continue to jump on Derrick's back," Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said. "He's willing and able to carry us. It's something that you know that you have in your back pocket, front pocket. We pull it out and we use it."
Yes, the stat sheet doesn't look pretty for the Titans defense. The Bills racked up 28 first downs, 417 yards of offense and controlled the ball 32:50 of the game's 60 minutes. Bills quarterback Josh Allen threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns. But the Titans got some key stops, and it wasn't just the play at the end. On three different possessions, the Titans held the Bills to field goals, not touchdowns. Safety Kevin Byard set up another score with an interception. The Titans defense, thinned out in the secondary with injuries, made some key plays when it mattered to give the team a chance. "We were literally on the field talking about defending every blade of grass," Byard said. "I was yelling defend every blade of grass. Thinking about the Jacksonville play from last week, just a resilient bunch of guys. It's not perfect. But at the end of the day we have guys that fight, that's all you can ask for in this league."
The sight of one Titans player being helped off – and two carted off – on Monday night was a tough one to see. Cornerback Caleb Farley and left tackle Taylor Lewan were both taken off the field and to the locker room on carts. Farley suffered a knee injury, while Lewan was being evaluated for a concussion after a scary scene – his helmet was removed, and he was placed on a flat board and on the cart. Lewan gave a thumbs-up as he left the field, and the team announced he had feeling in all his extremities. The Titans announced early running back Jeremy McNichols suffered an ankle injury, and receiver Cameron Batson had to be helped off the field with a knee injury in the first half. In the second half, defensive back Chris Jackson (foot) and receiver Julio Jones (hamstring) were also ruled out for the rest of the contest after suffering injuries. In the win, the Titans suffered some big losses. "You never want to see a teammate go down," Titans center Ben Jones said. "All the blood, sweat, and tears you put into it, you want them out there fighting right beside you. … Just put your hands on them and say a prayer for them tonight."
A.J. Feeling OK
Titans receiver A.J. Brown, like so many of his teammates, showed a great deal of resiliency on Monday night. And, he contributed in a big way to the win. Brown led the Titans with seven catches for 91 yards, and he made some big catches in the second half to extend scoring drives. Brown did it while battling through a bad case of food poisoning. "It has been a rough 48 hours," Brown said. "Leading up to the game it was still, without a doubt, there. They gave me a whole bunch of medicine, as much medicine as I could take. … I got three IVs. I got two this morning. I got bag and half before the game. I didn't know if I was going to play or not."
From beginning to end, Nissan Stadium was back, and better than ever. Starting with the pregame light show, and ending with the wild celebration at the end, the 69,419 on hand Monday night experienced one of the all-time classics at the stadium. The crowd was loud, and the fans provided an incredible amount of energy. The Titans felt it, heard it, and appreciated it. "This, today, was incredible," Henry said. "The whole atmosphere, it felt like a playoff game. The crowd was in it – they came and packed the stadium out. I'm just so glad to be able to be back, and in that atmosphere, and have that connection with the fans again. It's something that we'll always remember, especially on a big stage like this. It was great to have the fans out, and that great atmosphere."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Buffalo Bills in Week 6 at Nissan Stadium.