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Week 5 Game Recap: Buffalo Bills 14, Tennessee Titans 7

What you need to know

Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills defeated the Titans on the road on Sunday. Josh Allen started at quarterback after spending much of the week in concussion protocol and outside of one interception made no big mistakes. Allen threw frequently early in the game and had a good rapport with John Brown early in the game, and throwing two touchdowns to Lee Smith and practice squad signee Duke Williams. The rushing attack centered around Frank Gore with Devin Singletary missing his third straight game.

Tennessee Titans

Poor offensive line play, four missed field goal attempts, and two touchdowns on the same drive nullified by penalties sum up what was a tough day for the Titans offense. Marcus Mariota was constantly barraged with pressure as his offensive line let him down again. All receivers suffered as a result. No wide receiver finished with more than 30 yards, while Delanie Walker was virtually ignored for the second-straight game. Derrick Henry got going on a few runs and finished with a decent stat line including 78 yards and a touchdown, but even he could have had a bigger day as a touchdown run was called back due to penalty.

Buffalo Bills

QB Josh Allen, 65 offensive snaps, Pass: 23 - 32 - 219 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 10 - 27 - 0
Josh Allen started against the Titans after spending the week in the concussion protocol following a vicious hit last week against the Patriots. Allen was more effective this week, limiting his mistakes after an error-prone effort last week. Allen threw one interception, a late throw in traffic across the middle of the field, but otherwise was risk-averse. Allen missed a couple of short throws but played on time in good rhythm throughout much of the game. Buffalo has been very pass-heavy on early downs throughout the season and Sunday was no exception. This allowed Allen to get in rhythm with easy throws early in the game, particularly to John Brown. Allen had a quieter second half, in part because of heavy rains. Allen threw two touchdown passes, the first a throwback across the field on a play-action pass to Lee Smith in the red zone, and the second an RPO to Duke Williams on a skinny post. The RPO was a consistent threat in the game and created defined open reads for Allen. Allen also ran effectively, including several scrambles with slides that avoided contact. Allen will be off next week before a prime matchup against the Dolphins in week 7.

RB Frank Gore, 33 offensive snaps, Rush: 14 - 60 - 0, Rec: 2 - 9 - 0 (2 targets)
Frank Gore started against the Titans with Devin Singletary missing his third consecutive game with an injury. Gore was a secondary part of the offense early in the game, as Buffalo threw frequently in the first half. He did have interior success on downhill runs for the second consecutive week. Despite missing two offensive linemen with injuries during the game, Gore had success in the fourth quarter including two first downs to keep the clock moving. Gore was a short check-down option for Josh Allen, in the passing game, but the targets designed for running backs were run when T.J. Yeldon was in the game. Gore will have an off week in week 6 and will likely be in a committee with a healthy Devin Singletary in week seven.

RB T.J. Yeldon, 32 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 15 - 0, Rec: 4 - 13 - 0 (5 targets)
T.J. Yeldon played in a committee role with Frank Gore with Devin Singletary absent for the third straight game. Yeldon was the primary passing game back, including designed screen passes, and played well despite a small statistical game. He was limited in the running game behind Gore but had a critical carry for a first down on a clock-killing drive at the end of the game. Yeldon is likely to take a reduction in snaps when Devin Singletary returns in week seven after a bye next week.

WR John Brown, 53 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 75 - 0 (5 targets)
John Brown had a strong first half against Tennessee before quieting down later in the game. Brown had a good catch in the intermediate area of the field on the first play of the game and then another first down catch for a first down. He also had a strong catch along the sideline on a low ball. Brown came to Buffalo with the reputation as a deep speed threat but has consistently shown the ability to win in the short and intermediate areas of the field through five weeks, with a strong rapport with Josh Allen. Brown will be off next week before facing the Dolphins in week seven.

WR Duke Williams, 51 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 29 - 1 (4 targets)
Duke Williams was activated off the practice squad this week and saw his first action of the season against the Titans. The activation of Williams forced Zay Jones to the bench as Williams ran in two-receiver sets opposite of John Brown. Williams worked on the outside and saw success on two RPO post patterns, including one for a red zone touchdown. Williams also ran a whip route on third down for a conversion. Williams was a good recruit to Auburn before having success in the CFL last season. He presents a big body for Josh Allen in the red zone and has better hands than Zay Jones. He will be off next week before a matchup against the Dolphins in week seven.

WR Cole Beasley, 42 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 21 - 0 (3 targets)
Cole Beasley had a quiet game with only three receptions. All three were short routes, including two receptions on third down, one for a conversion and one a near miss. Beasley still has a strong role in the offense despite a down week. Beasley will be off next week before a good matchup in week seven against the Dolphins.

TE Dawson Knox, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 12 - 0 (5 targets)
Dawson Knox had a down game against the Titans on Sunday. He had two short catches but dropped two third down targets. He will look to bounce back after a bye in week seven against the Dolphins.

Tennessee Titans

QB Marcus Mariota, 62 offensive snaps, Pass: 13 - 22 - 183 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 13 - 0
Marcus Mariota was under constant pressure despite the return of his Pro-Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan. The poor offensive line play led to numerous hurried throws along with five sacks on the day. Mariota did stand in there and make some decent passes, including 23-yarder to Corey Davis just before halftime. Mariota was taking heavy pressure, again, but made the throw despite taking an illegal hit to the legs at the time of his release. He can’t take much credit for his longest pass of the day, as it was a mere dump-off behind the line of scrimmage to Jonnu Smith. Smith did all the legwork as he rumbled to a 51-yard gain. Mariota Mariota nearly rushed for a touchdown midway through the third quarter, but the call was reversed on the basis that Mariota was down just before the goal line. Later in the second half, he made a great would-be touchdown throw on the run to A.J. Brown, but Mariota ended up being over the line of scrimmage as the touchdown was called back and ultimately led to yet another missed field goal. This marked the second touchdown of the day nullified due to penalties for the Titans. Between the sacks and penalties, Mariota finished with yet another dismal showing.

RB Derrick Henry, 38 offensive snaps, Rush: 20 - 78 - 1
Derrick Henry saw another healthy workload as he ran 20 times for 78 yards and a touchdown. Henry’s longest run of the day came late in the first quarter as he kicked off a drive with a 24-yard run. He showed excellent patience to wait on his blockers to set up the play down the right sideline, then he capitalized on an open hole to accelerate through on the way to his longest gain of the game. He would break free for another big gain, this time 17-yards, as Henry mowed over a group of three Bills defenders before being taken down just inside the Bills 10-yard line. Henry would follow that drive up with the goal-line plunge for the Titans’ only touchdown of the game. Henry should have had a second touchdown on a solid eight-yard run up the middle, but it was nullified by an offensive holding penalty.

WR Adam Humphries, 36 offensive snaps, Rec: 4 - 30 - 0 (6 targets)
Adam Humphries led the Titans in receptions and targets as Marcus Mariota struggled under pressure, opting for quicker passes underneath to his slot receiver. Humphries grabbed a 10-yard reception over the middle on the first drive. On the second drive, he was the target of a short pass on 3rd-and-3 but bobbled the ball before ultimately dropping it. He would grab another short reception before halftime. Humphries was the target of another third-down ball after halftime, which he converted for a nine-yard gain to keep the chains moving.

WR Corey Davis, 54 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0 (4 targets)
The top play of the game for Davis came just before halftime as he ran a great comeback route to make the catch about 11-yards downfield before shedding an arm-tackle and turning it upfield to gain another 12 yards on his way to the 23-yard reception. Davis was targeted just three more times and managed to haul in just one short pass as he finished with a disappointing 28 total yards.

WR A.J. Brown, 40 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 27 - 0 (2 targets)
A.J. Brown saw just two targets in this game--a disappointing showing to prove his rock bottom floor in this offense. Brown’s first reception was his longest of the day as he hauled in a 14-yarder from a great play-action fake by Marcus Mariota. Brown would haul in a short pass over the middle for 13 yards midway through the fourth quarter. The kicker for Brown, however, was the touchdown taken off the board due to an illegal forward pass by Marcus Mariota. This would have marked Brown’s third score of the season as he found himself wide open in the end zone.

TE Delanie Walker, 27 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 10 - 0 (2 targets)
Walker started the game off with a 26-yard reception that was called back due to an offensive holding penalty. Walker would follow that up with a short reception for 10 yards, coming up just two yards short of converting the first down. Walker saw his only other target midway through the fourth quarter as he was well defended, but dropped what would have been a first-down ball to convert on third down--a critical missed chance for the Titans. That catch early in the game would be his only production of the day as Walker has now been virtually ignored for two straight games.

TE Jonnu Smith, 38 offensive snaps, Rec: 1 - 57 - 0 (2 targets)
Tight end Jonnu Smith broke free for 51-yards from a screen pass late in the third quarter. This was just his fifth reception of the year, but Smith showed great speed to turn on the burners and get through early tackle attempts as he rumbled downfield.