Orchard Park, N.Y. (WGR 550) - The last time Buffalo Bills fans saw their team play a real football game at Highmark Stadium, the offense was seemingly scoring at will, while the defense was making every critical stop and taking the ball away in a 47-17 route over the New England Patriots in the AFC Wild Card Round.
In the 2022 home opener on Monday night, the Bills picked up right where they left off by destroying the Tennessee Titans, 41-7 in Orchard Park.
Let’s get to the Arrows Up after another big win:
QB - Josh Allen
Once again, another terrific performance from the Bills quarterback, who was 26-of-38 (68.4%) for 317 yards, four touchdowns and didn’t turn the ball over.
Allen is making throws that it feels like only he can make. He’s on another level right now.
WR - Stefon Diggs
The Allen-to-Diggs connection was on full display in front of a national audience, connecting for a whopping 12 passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns!
Diggs was having his way with Titans cornerbacks all night long.
FB - Reggie Gilliam
When Gillian signed his two-year contract extension back in training camp, it was a signal the Bills might want to use him more in the offense.
That happened Monday night when he caught two passes for 17 yards, including the first touchdown of the game, as he broke a tackle then showed off both speed and power to get to the corner of the end zone.
WR - Jake Kumerow
In the absence of Gabriel Davis, Kumerow stepped up and made two big catches for a total of 50 yards to finish as the game’s second-leading receiver in yardage.
Offensive line's job on Jeffery Simmons
Last week, it was Aaron Donald. This week, the Bills' offensive line neutralized another one of the best defensive tackles in the game, Jeffery Simmons, who made very little impact overall.
In fact, Simmons was shut out on the stat sheet other, than knocking down a pass at the line of scrimmage. He had zero tackles.
LB - Matt Milano
Milano showed why he’s such a valuable piece of the defense in both the pass and run game, intercepting a Ryan Tannehill pass and taking it back to the house for a touchdown, then laying down a big-time hit on quarterback Malik Willis on a 3rd-and-1 on the very next series, forcing a punt.
Overall, Milano finished with three total tackles, including that one for a loss, the interception, and two other pass breakups.
S - Jordan Poyer
Another game, another interception for the All-Pro safety, who also finished with four total tackles, one for a loss, and two pass breakups.
DE - Gregory Rousseau
Rousseau played an absolutely solid game as a pass rusher and also an edge center, collecting a sack, two tackles for loss, and a quarterback hurry.
LB - Tremaine Edmunds
Edmunds played a solid game, finishing with a sack on a beautifully timed blitz, two tackles for loss, a quarterback hurry, and a pass break up.
Shutting down Derrick Henry
Titans running back Derrick Henry scored on a short touchdown run in the first quarter, but that was really all he did of note all game long. The Bills held him to just 25 yards on 13 carries, a 1.9 yard per-run average.
187 seven total yards given up
The Titans just couldn’t move the ball against the Bills, regardless of how they tried, other than on the opening drive, when they went 75 yards in 12 plays for their loan score.
After that, for the rest of the game, they had a total of 112 yards of offense. The Bills defense just smothered them all night long, including holding Tannehill to just 11-of-20 passing for 117 yards, and intercepting him twice.
Tyrel Dodson’s hustle
Good things happen when you play fast and hustle, and Dodson was rewarded for just that when he was Johnny-on-the-spot to recover a muffed punt in the third quarter.
Third down defense
The Bills held the Titans to just 4-of-12 third down conversions (33.3%).
At halftime, the score was 17-7.
In the third quarter, the Bills racked up 125 yards of offense, scored 24 points, and shut out the Titans. At the end of the third quarter, it was 41-7.
Ball game over.
The 97-year-old Hall of Fame former Bills head coach said his famous, "where else would you rather be than right here, right now?" to the capacity crowd right before kickoff, and it was awesome.
This was a tough game on the injury front for the Bills.
Cornerback Dane Jackson was taken to the hospital with a neck injury. Thankfully, he has movement in all his extremities. Safety Micah Hyde also left the game with a neck injury. Linebacker Matt Milano suffered a stinger and defensive tackle Jordan Phillips hurt his hamstring late in the game, and neither returned to action.
Center Mitch Morse hurt his right elbow and didn’t play for most of the first half, but fortunately came back in.
Short yardage offense
The Bills were too sloppy and unable to execute on several short-yardage situations, including third and fourth down.
That included one fourth down where they had to rush to get the play off, which ultimately led to Allen getting corralled and throwing the ball into the ground and turning it over on downs
Third down offense
After a week where they converted on 90% of their third down attempts, the Bills were only 5-for-13 in this one (38.5%).
Running game efficiency
The Bills were not very effective running the football. They did wind up with 101 total yards, but only 46 yards came before the fourth quarter, before both teams pulled their starters and just ran the ball to keep the clock moving.
Not converting after Dodson recovery
Dodson recovered a the muffed punt at the Titans' 20-yard line in the third quarter. From there, the Bills only gained one yard on three plays and had to settle for a field goal.
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