ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — If the Buffalo Bills are making any kind of strong statement by opening their season with consecutive losses, quarterback Josh Allen isn’t about to speak up.
As he did after a 31-10 win over the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, Allen dismissed questions about the message the Bills sent by strangling the Tennessee Titans 41-7 in Buffalo’s home opener. Monday night.
“When we execute like we know we should execute, success usually leads to success,” Allen said. “We’re just trying to be the best version of ourselves.”
Allen didn’t care if the Bills got any vindication against an opponent who had beaten them in each of the past two seasons.
“It doesn’t matter who it’s against. It’s a good team we played against,” he said. “For us to go do that was great.”
Allen threw four touchdown passes, including three to Stefon Diggs, and the Bills’ defense did the rest, holding off Derrick Henry and the Titans. Buffalo forced four turnovers, including linebacker Matt Milano returning the second of Ryan Tannehill’s two interceptions 43 yards for a touchdown.
Buffalo was never far behind and opened the game by beating the Titans 24-0 in the third quarter. The surge began in the final minute of the second quarter when Buffalo went ahead 17-7 on Allen’s 4-yard touchdown pass to Diggs.
Allen topped 300 passing yards for the 15th time in his career, completing 26 of 38 attempts for 317 yards, and sat out the entire fourth quarter. Diggs had 12 receptions for 148 yards. He has topped 100 yards in each of his first two games, a feat previously accomplished for the Bills only by Hall of Famer Andre Reed.
“A lot was left on the bone actually,” Diggs said with a shrug. “We had a lot of points. I think we had a clearance and I think he came back to us. But just doing his job, and at this point we’re doing fine, I guess.”
The Titans, coming off a 21-20 season-opening loss to the New York Giants, opened 0-2 for the first time since 2012.
The two-time defending AFC South champions face numerous questions about a defense that allowed 313 yards through the air a week after allowing 238 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, his offense racked up 187 yards, had 12 first downs and two of 11 drives ended in Bills territory.
“We got (butt) kicked, plain and simple,” coach Mike Vrabel said after the most lopsided loss in his four-plus seasons in charge of the Titans. “They outplayed us and they outplayed us in practice, and that’s the definition. We’re going to go back to work and try to figure out how to win a football game.”
While Tannehill was benched after throwing his second interception, the Titans’ Henry-led running game continued to be punished.
The two-time rushing champion was limited to 25 yards on 13 carries while scoring on a 2-yard throw.
“I take pride in making plays and being a playmaker for this team. And I didn’t do that tonight,” Henry said. “They were the best team tonight in all three phases, the entire game. We just weren’t good enough. Absolutely.”
Injuries plagued both teams, the most serious involving Bills cornerback Dane Jackson, who hurt his neck in a troubling collision with a teammate and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. The Bills said Jackson had full movement in his limbs.
Coach Sean McDermott said Jackson was still awaiting test results. The entire Bills team gathered around Jackson as he was loaded into an ambulance on the field.
“You go from being a coach to just a human being. That’s a real moment,” McDermott said. “Just praying for him. It’s an unfortunate situation.”
Tannehill was 11 of 20 for 117 yards and was benched after Milano’s interception with 3:49 remaining in the third quarter. Rookie Malik Willis took over, and if Tannehill continues to struggle, Tennessee fans will want to see more of the young backup.
Vrabel emphasized that he benched many of his starters to protect them from getting hurt.
REMEMBERING THE VICTIMS OF THE SHOOTING
Bills Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith asked fans for a moment of silence before the game to honor the memory of 10 people killed in a shooting at a Buffalo supermarket in May.
“We stand united with the victims and the families of the victims,” Smith said.
“No one can erase your pain and suffering. But Buffalo, your acts of love and kindness will never be forgotten,” she added. “The national media, the national activists are all gone. But we are here right now. It is up to us to love these families. be with them”.
Titans: LT Taylor Lewan did not return after injuring his right knee in the first quarter. … RB Trenton Cannon did not return after hurting his right knee on the opening kickoff. … LB Ola Adeniyi hurt his wrist. … LB Bud Dupree hurt his hip. … The Titans dropped wide receiver Josh Gordon from their practice squad about three weeks after he signed with the team.
Bills: S Micah Hyde suffered a neck injury. … Kite did not return because of what was called a sting. … DT Jordan Phillips strained his hamstring. … No. 2 WR Gabe Davis was inactive after spraining his ankle in practice Saturday. … DT Brandin Bryant and CJ Brewer were lifted from the practice squad to replace injured starter Ed Oliver (ankle) and backup Tim Settle (calf).
UNTIL NEXT TIME
Titans: Host the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday.
Bills: At the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.