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Sunday, January 17, 2021

5 takeaways from the Bills’ 42-16 loss to the Titans

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Well… Tuesday football wasn’t very fun, was it?

Buffalo Bills were topped badly by the Tennessee Titans, 42-16, to round out the NFL’s Week 5. The offense had few moments, while the defense practically had none. If you had to guess who was battling a pandemic and not practicing, you’d guess the Bills with the way this one went.” data-reactid=”7″ type=”text”>The Buffalo Bills were topped badly by the Tennessee Titans, 42-16, to round out the NFL’s Week 5. The offense had few moments, while the defense practically had none. If you had to guess who was battling a pandemic and not practicing, you’d guess the Bills with the way this one went.

Now the Bills must rebound.

With that, here are five takeaways from the Bills’ loss to the Titans:

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Josh Allen (Gannet photo)” data-reactid=”30″ type=”text”>Bills quarterback Josh Allen (Gannet photo)

Bills played unprepared

There weren’t a lot of good moments to be found for the Bills in this one, but it was especially a bad look for Buffalo’s coaching staff in this one. The Bills didn’t appear to be ready to play from the opening kick in this one.

After failing to score on their opening drive on offense, which is OK, it happens, the Bills took a punch in the mouth early as the Titans opened the scoring. It was the first time Buffalo was punched in the mouth first this season… and they didn’t respond at all. Then not only could the Bills defense not get a stop early, the group barely did throughout the game and especially late in the game. Speaking of time, the penalties Buffalo took were often not-timely. It’s never a good sign when you’re getting double-digit penalties in a game, which is what the Bills did with 10 of them for 56 yards. Those stunt drives on offense and keep opposing offenses on the field as well.

The Bills can point to the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak battle and maybe that’s something different than they’re used to. But, if you had to guess, you’d expect things to been on the flip since the Bills had been practicing this whole time…

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Derrick Henry (22) throws Buffalo Bills cornerback Josh Norman (29) aside(Gannett photo)” data-reactid=”51″ type=”text”>Tennesee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) throws Buffalo Bills cornerback Josh Norman (29) aside(Gannett photo)

Can the Bills depend on Josh Norman?

Levi Wallace, who missed the Titans meeting with an ankle injury, did.” data-reactid=”53″ type=”text”>In Week 4, the Bills won and help off the Raiders in big thanks to cornerback Josh Norman. The defensive back had a big play in that game with a turnover via a forced fumble, but that really was just paper covering the cracks. Norman actually didn’t even start the game despite it being his first game active after coming off of injured reserve. Levi Wallace, who missed the Titans meeting with an ankle injury, did.

And we really saw why that was the case in Tennessee.

Norman had numerous poor plays throughout the game. The highlight was went Titans running back Derrick Henry stiff arming him to the ground which is going to potential go down as a career-low for him. With Tre’Davious White and Wallace missing the game, Norman didn’t provide much in coverage, either. In a secondary filled with backups, Norman was the experienced vet and second-year pro AJ Brown had a field day with him in coverage. Norman really showed that he’s probably beyond his best football in this one.

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Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler. Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Turnover battle kills Bills

In Buffalo’s season opener, there were mistakes. Josh Allen was still fumbling the ball all over the place but there was a big silver lining: The Bills were playing that game against the Jets and guess who’s terrible? The Jets.

Against the Titans, the Bills were not playing the Jets. Instead, Buffalo was visiting the team that made a trip to the AFC Championship game just last season and it showed. The Bills had timely mistakes all games, and whoever was at fault, the worst of all were some turnovers. Allen himself was the culprit a few times.

Andre Roberts picked off by Malcolm Butler. It was tipped first by the receiver. However, the ball wasn’t exactly perfect from Allen, either. Some speculated it was a bit behind. Regardless, in a close game, Allen had another which was certainly underthrown and also intercepted by Butler again.” data-reactid=”80″ type=”text”>In the first half, Allen had a pass to Andre Roberts picked off by Malcolm Butler. It was tipped first by the receiver. However, the ball wasn’t exactly perfect from Allen, either. Some speculated it was a bit behind. Regardless, in a close game, Allen had another which was certainly underthrown and also intercepted by Butler again.

While on their perhaps last opportunity, Roberts then fumbled again on a kick return, which was just a cherry on top. But that’s still multiple turnovers in a game any way you cut it, and that’s putting yourself behind the eight ball against a good team.

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Jonnu Smith. Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports” data-reactid=”98″ type=”text”>Titans tight end Jonnu Smith. Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Top guys were missed

Don’t expect Sean McDermott to use this as an excuse, but all over the field it was very clear: The Bills missed several of their top players who missed this one due to injury.

Taron Johnson, but that’s nothing new. In the slot, Wallace wasn’t there to provide any help and the Titans totally took advantage of Johnson, who’s been picked on in pretty much every game.” data-reactid=”101″ type=”text”>As mentioned, Buffalo’s top corners in White and Wallace were out. Norman played bad… but once again so did Taron Johnson, but that’s nothing new. In the slot, Wallace wasn’t there to provide any help and the Titans totally took advantage of Johnson, who’s been picked on in pretty much every game.

Along with White, Buffalo’s defense clearly missed linebacker Matt Milano as well. Titans tight end Jonnu Smith had five catches, two of which went for touchdowns. Milano is one of the best shutdown players on tight ends in the NFL. There was going to be a drop off, but it was a huge one.

Finally, there was a big miss on offense in wide receiver John Brown. Some guys did step up in this one such as Gabriel Davis, but it’s a different beast on Buffalo’s offense when they have such depth at the No. 2 wide receiver spot. It was noticed.

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Bills wide receiver Cole Beasley. Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

The last takeaways comes after the game

Let’s not overthink this one. The Bills were beat up by the Titans. Usually they’ve handled Ryan Tannehill when he was with the Dolphins… he certainly looked better now. Henry only averaged 3.0 yards per carry, but he had two touchdowns. All over the field, the Bills were really beat.

But now, what’s next? Buffalo certainly wasn’t overlooking Tennessee, but a big test now comes against the Kansas City Chiefs. Like the Bills, they’ll want to bounce-back from a loss and do so on primetime (kind of) next Monday.

What happens next?

The Bills have been getting all sorts of national attention and on the “Tuesday Night Football” lights… they were beaten bad. Time for Sean McDermott & Co. to get to work this week and turn things around. Usually the Bills had the whole “underdog” thing to fall back on, but now it’s different.

Health will help, but so will good coaching in this scenario.

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” data-reactid=”128″ type=”text”>

Game on for Bills: No new Titans COVID positive tests Tuesday

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Bills sign LB Deon Lacey to roster, make two other roster moves

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