Derrick Henry, Titans Edge Bills After Josh Allen Fails to Convert Crucial 4th Down

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 19, 2021

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - OCTOBER 18: Running back Derrick Henry #22 of the Tennessee Titans rushes past defensive end Mario Addison #97 of the Buffalo Bills during the first half at Nissan Stadium on October 18, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Tennessee Titans brought Week 6 to a conclusion with a 34-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Monday Night Football.

The Bills led 20-17 at halftime thanks to a 29-yard touchdown pass from Josh Allen to Cole Beasley with 40 seconds remaining in the second quarter. This was the 15th straight game in which they were ahead at the halfway mark.


Josh Allen answers right back. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BillsMafia?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BillsMafia</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsTEN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsTEN</a> on ESPN<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/Vs5zpZtzd9">https://t.co/Vs5zpZtzd9</a> <a href="https://t.co/yFpIHsDeF0">pic.twitter.com/yFpIHsDeF0</a>

Derrick Henry briefly gave the Titans the lead in the third quarter, only for the Bills to respond with a touchdown drive of their own to jump ahead again. Henry found the end zone for the third time to deliver the decisive score at the 3:05 mark of the fourth quarter.


DERRICK HENRY. THREE TOUCHDOWNS. ENOUGH SAID. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Titans?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Titans</a><br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BUFvsTEN?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BUFvsTEN</a> on ESPN<br>📱: <a href="https://t.co/Vs5zpZtzd9">https://t.co/Vs5zpZtzd9</a> <a href="https://t.co/GDKVgZcvEJ">pic.twitter.com/GDKVgZcvEJ</a>

Tennessee held firm on 4th-and-1 on its own 3-yard line to deny Allen on a quarterback keeper inside the final minute to seal the victory.

With the win, the Titans (4-2) maintain their two-game lead on the Indianapolis Colts for first place in the AFC South. Thanks to the New England Patriots' 35-29 overtime loss to the Dallas Cowboys, the Bills (4-2) likewise remain two games up in the AFC East.

Notable Performers

Josh Allen, QB, Bills: 35-of-47, 353 yards, three touchdowns, one interception; nine carries, 26 yards

Stefon Diggs, WR, Bills: nine receptions, 89 yards, one touchdown

Cole Beasley, WR: Bills: seven receptions, 88 yards, one touchdown

Ryan Tannehill, QB, Titans: 18-of-29, 216 yards, one interception

Derrick Henry, RB, Titans: 20 carries, 143 yards, three touchdowns

Henry Leads the Way for Tennessee

It's no secret that the NFL is a quarterback-driven league and that running backs have become increasingly interchangeable. Henry remains one of the exceptions.

The Titans' first three drives ended in two punts and an interception and totaled 29 yards. Henry chose to put the offense on his back on their fourth possession, running 76 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

King Henry takes one to the crib 😤<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/NFL?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NFL</a>)<a href="https://t.co/IUtHAcD2k1">pic.twitter.com/IUtHAcD2k1</a>

It's almost unfair that somebody who's 6'3" and 247 pounds can run that fast.


Derrick Henry reached a top speed of 21.80 mph.<br><br>That is...<br><br>➡️ The fastest speed reached by a ball carrier this season<br>➡️ The fastest run of Henry's career<br><br>(h/t <a href="https://twitter.com/NextGenStats?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NextGenStats</a>) <a href="https://t.co/XeHTgpw7KC">pic.twitter.com/XeHTgpw7KC</a>

Pat McAfee @PatMcAfeeShow

Derrick Henry makes no sense

The Bills entered Monday having allowed the fewest yards (251.8 per game) in the NFL. Winning at the point of attack became more difficult after starting left tackle Taylor Lewan was placed onto a backboard and carted off the field.

The Titans subsequently announced he was evaluated for a concussion and had a full range of movement.

Despite Lewan's absence, Henry continued to carve up the Bills defense on the ground.

David Gardner @byDavidGardner

Every week, Derrick Henry competes in a 1-on-11 endurance contest with a different NFL defense … and every week, he wins it

Adrian Peterson in 2012 was the last running back to win MVP, and he's the only non-quarterback to earn the honor over the past 14 years. Henry's MVP resume is growing with each week.

A Night to Forget for Buffalo

The Titans placed Kristian Fulton on injured reserve, so the 2020 second-round pick was unavailable from the jump. They then watched Caleb Farley (knee) exit Monday night's contest and Chris Jackson head to the sidelines.

Allen feasted at times on Tennessee's undermanned secondary. On the first play after Jackson went down, the Bills targeted his replacement, Breon Borders, and watched Borders commit a pass interference penalty on Stefon Diggs to set Buffalo up at the 1-yard line.

Buffalo Rumblings @BuffRumblings

Breon Borders the former Bills CB. Pass interference. Great play call. Diggs had him whooped. <a href="https://t.co/9iIAatNtMf">https://t.co/9iIAatNtMf</a>

Buffalo's inability to consistently capitalize on the Titans' multiple injuries was somewhat surprising, though.

Equally unexpected was the defense's inability to pressure Ryan Tannehill in the pocket. No quarterback has been sacked more times than Tannehill (20), yet the Bills allowed him to have a lot of time to find open receivers.

Mike Catalana @MikeCatalana

No pressure at all from the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bills?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bills</a> defense. Tannehill just waits, pats the ball and hits the open man.

Sal Maiorana @salmaiorana

We have praised the Bills defense frequently this year. Not tonight. Just a putrid performance.

Nonetheless, the Bills appeared poised to win as they moved the ball at will on Tennessee on their final drive. Head coach Sean McDermott's decision to go for on fourth and turn down a game-tying field goal was understandable, even if it didn't work out in the end.

What's Next?

The Bills are heading into their bye in Week 8. The Titans, on the other hand, have a date Sunday with the two-time reigning conference champion Kansas City Chiefs.