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Week 5 Game Recap: Tennessee Titans 12, Buffalo Bills 13

What you need to know

Tennessee Titans

The Titans offense sputtered in Bills territory as they settled for four field goals, no touchdowns, and the loss in Buffalo. Marcus Mariota had a forgettable day with only 129 passing yards and one interception. Dion Lewis won the battle for touches, but Derrick Henry was the more productive runner averaging over five yards per rush for the first time this season. Corey Davis led the team in targets but had a quiet day under tough coverage. Left tackle Taylor Lewan did not return to the game after suffering a foot injury in the second quarter.

Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills took an early lead against Tennessee and were able to score a late field goal to win a low scoring contest. The early lead and low scoring nature of the game allowed Buffalo to feature the running game, with LeSean McCoy and Chris Ivory working in tandem for 38 carries. The passing game was sparse with only 19 offensive attempts, but Zay Jones continues to show a rapport with Josh Allen in conversion situations.

Tennessee Titans

QB Marcus Mariota, 54 offensive snaps, Pass: 14 - 26 - 129 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 10 - 0
Mariota was under heavy pressure on a play near the end of the first quarter and tried to throw the ball away as he was being tackled. He ended up lobbing the ball dangerously close to the sideline as it was only a few inches from being intercepted. had to throw it away near the red zone at the end of the first quarter and was nearly intercepted. On a long second down midway through the second quarter, Mariota threw his first interception of the day as his he found the arms of a defender after the intended receiver made some incidental contact and couldn’t finish his route. Mariota threaded the needle on a 13-yard dart to Tajae Sharpe on third-and-eight to start the fourth quarter. On that same drive, Mariota scrambled up the middle and showed some hops to leap over a defender to convert another third down. A few plays later, Mariota nearly got sacked as the defender fully wrapped him up before letting off (likely for fear of penalty). This allowed Mariota to scramble out and take a deep shot to the end zone that fell incomplete. To cap off this drive, Mariota was flushed out of the pocket again and bought enough time to find a wide open Nick Williams on his way to the end zone, but Williams allowed the pass to go right through his hands, dropping a sure-thing touchdown that could have been the game-winner. Mariota would try to lead the Titans downfield on their last drive of the game, but a fumble as he was scrambling under pressure on third down would seal the field goal.

RB Dion Lewis, 34 offensive snaps, Rush: 12 - 34 - 0, Rec: 3 - 14 - 0 (4 targets)
Dion Lewis out-touched Derrick Henry 15 to 11 despite the slow and low-scoring pace of the game. His first touch of the game came on the Titans’ drive to close out the first quarter as Lewis was the feature back on this one. Lewis hauled in a swing pass for six yards followed by three lackluster runs of three or fewer yards. His next two carries would go for negative yards until Lewis finally found a seam for a big play late in the second half. He nearly ran past his opportunity but made a good cut through a wide open lane before accelerating upfield nearly untouched for the first dozen yards of his 15-yard run. Lewis came out of halftime as the featured back on the Titans’ first series and started with a nice 10-yard reception coming off the short dump-off. Lewis would lose yards on his next two plays though to help stall that drive. The big blunder of the day for Lewis came on the next drive in the third quarter as he was stripped on a short run, fumbling the ball with the Bills recovering it. Lewis saw just three more carries after that fumble.

RB Derrick Henry, 21 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 56 - 0 (1 targets)
Derrick Henry was the starting running back, but he ended up getting out-touched by Dion Lewis 11 to 15. Henry saw the field for the first two Titans series, but with turnovers and ineffective plays, Henry only managed to run once for four yards. Henry took back over in the second quarter and had one of his best runs of the day on the second play of that drive. The run came on a second chance effort as he plowed into the back of his lineman, nearly being knocked down in the backfield, but instead bounced to the right and weaved between defenders for a 14-yard gain. Henry would bust off another 14-yard run in the Titans’ last drive of the game, showing great vision to find his hole between the tackles as he accelerated upfield before being pushed by a defender for the last few yards.

WR Corey Davis, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 49 - 0 (6 targets)
Corey Davis was the Titans’ top target again this week, but he only managed 49 yards against tough coverage from Tre’Davious White. Davis started with a quiet first quarter outside of a short screen pass for four yards. Late in the first half, Davis made the catch and showed some extra effort to pick up the last couple yards on 3rd-and-11 deep in Titans territory to pick up the first down and keep their drive alive. His biggest play of the game would come midway through the third quarter as Mariota connected with Davis stealing across the middle of the field on a crossing route for 23 yards.

WR Tajae Sharpe, 33 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (4 targets)
Tajae Sharpe caught three balls for 30 yards as he continues to line up as the Titans’ third receiver. Sharpe caught a short pass for 13 yards along the sideline on the first drive of the game. He would not see another target until the end of the third quarter with another short pass on a stop route. On that same drive, Sharpe caught his final reception in traffic as Mariota threaded the needle for a 13-yard gain. Sharpe would be the target of a deep ball to the end zone, but he could not haul it in after plenty of contact after which he beckoned for a penalty.

WR Taywan Taylor, 25 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 30 - 0 (5 targets)
Taywan Taylor cost the Titans on their first drive, fumbling after catching a short pass for five yards. Later in the first quarter, taylor took a flip pass in the backfield for six yards on a play that confused the Bills defense with Dion Lewis running the opposite direction. Taylor’s biggest play of the game came right after the two-minute warning before halftime as he hauled in a pass on a comeback route in the flats for 19 yards, getting the Titans into Bills territory. Taylor was not targeted at all during the second half.

Buffalo Bills

QB Josh Allen, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 10 - 19 - 82 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 19 - 1
Josh Allen was not asked to do a lot in a low scoring game where Buffalo had an early lead. Buffalo was able to limit Allen to only 19 attempts with a volume based running attack. In the passing game, Allen struggled with accuracy. There were multiple attempts that show as completions in the box score that were caught but the ball placement hurt run after catch opportunities. Allen added a rushing touchdown that showed his athleticism, making multiple cuts to get into the end zone. Allen has struggled with big mistakes and fortunately did not make any against Tennessee.

RB LeSean McCoy, 47 offensive snaps, Rush: 24 - 85 - 0, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (3 targets)
LeSean McCoy had his best performance of the season. Buffalo played a close game with a lead through much of the game, which allowed McCoy to see steady volume. McCoy did not break a big gain but was elusive throughout the game and consistently forcing missed tackles. McCoy had his best success on interior runs downhill runs, where Buffalo’s offensive line had success creating running room. McCoy was also used in the passing game on quick flat throws on high percentage opportunities for Josh Allen, including a critical conversion on the game winning drive where he forced a missed tackle to convert a first down. Chris Ivory rotated with McCoy and handled the short yardage runs throughout the game.

RB Chris Ivory, 18 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 43 - 0
Chris Ivory saw extensive work in the offense. Ivory was the primary short yardage back, but also got standalone work in relief of LeSean McCoy. Ivory’s workload of 14 carries was a product of a game script that allowed Buffalo to run the ball 43 times while only attempting 19 passes. Ivory was physical and broke tackles for conversions and key runs on the final drive to set up a game winning field goal.

WR Zay Jones, 50 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 20 - 0 (4 targets)
Zay Jones was used early in the game to move the chains on third downs. Jones was motioned to get him free and was able to convert two third downs with runs after the catch along the perimeter. The volume was low in the game, but Jones has become the most dependable target for Josh Allen over the past two games.

WR Kelvin Benjamin, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 11 - 0 (5 targets)
Kelvin Benjamin was the most targeted Buffalo receiver (5) but managed only one catch on the day. His lone catch was a nice play action pass where Benjamin was able to run over the coverage of Tennessee’s linebackers. Benjamin’s only other catchable target was a curl route where he was unable to get out of his break before Allen’s pass was on him.

TE Charles Clay, 49 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 12 - 0 (1 targets)
Charles Clay was only targeted once against Tennessee on a crossing route off play action. Clay was able to get behind the linebackers on a good play action fake by Josh Allen. Clay has become an ancillary option in a low volume passing attack.