3 Takeaways from Bills' Week 6 Loss
The Buffalo Bills came inches short of either setting up a game-tying field goal, or scoring a game-winning touchdown on Monday night.
With 22 seconds left, the Bills dialed up a quarterback sneak for Josh Allen to convert on a 4th-and-1. Allen was stopped by a Tennessee Titans surge through the left side of the Buffalo offensive line. The stop allowed the Titans to close out a 34-31 victory.
The call was the correct one in the moment, but it backfired and handed Buffalo its second defeat of the season.
Although the Bills made some mistakes on Monday night, you should not feel bad for the franchise.
Buffalo is likely going to win the AFC East and it will not lose many games after its Week 7 bye. In fact, the Bills have three get-right games in front of them against the Miami Dolphins, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Jets.
4th Down QB Sneak Was Right Call
Buffalo did the right thing by putting the ball in Allen's hands on the most important play of the game.
The Bills should have taken advantage of their 6'5", 237-pound quarterback to earn one or more hard fought yards near the goal line.
Buffalo tried to convert a 4th-and-1 to to keep a potential game-winning drive alive after Allen scrambled for five yards on third down. Allen reached out for the first-down marker on that run, but he was not given the spot.
Unfortunately for Allen, he did not receive much help from his offensive line on his sneak to the left and he was stopped dead in his tracks.
Despite coming up short, the Bills made the right decision to let Allen sneak the ball for a first down, or even a three-yard touchdown.
A field goal would have sent the game to overtime. At that point, the Bills would be playing a game of chance with the coin toss. If the Titans won the toss, there is a strong chance Derrick Henry would have run all over the Buffalo defense to set up a touchdown.
If Buffalo converted the fourth-down sneak, it would have had around 20 seconds to make a few attempts at scoring a touchdown.
The thought behind the decision was smart, but the execution came up short and the Bills left Tennessee with a three-point loss.
Buffalo Had No Answer for Derrick Henry
Buffalo gave up its highest rushing yard total of the season to Derrick Henry.
That is a statement you will probably make about a lot of NFL teams when the 17-game regular season comes to a conclusion.
Henry is the best running back in the NFL and the Bills had no answers for him once he got going in the Tennessee ground game.
Henry enforced his will on the game in the second quarter, when he steamrolled through the Buffalo defense on his way to a 76-yard touchdown run.
The Tennessee running back finished the game with 20 carries, 143 yards and a trio of touchdowns. He was responsible for both of the Titans' second-half touchdowns.
Thanks to Henry, Tennessee gained 285 rushing yards in its last two meetings with the Bills. The Titans ran for 146 yards on Monday and earned 139 yards in a 42-16 win in Week 5 of the 2020 season.
If Buffalo is matched up with Tennessee in the postseason, it will need to find a way to slow down Henry to force Ryan Tannehill to beat it through the air.
Tannehill did not have to do much through the air on Monday. He was 18-of-29 with 216 yards and an interception. He also had a rushing touchdown.
The Bills have allowed 266 rushing yards in the last two weeks to Kansas City and Tennessee. That total should be corrected in the next few games, which is why we are not concerned about the team yet.
Monday's Loss Should Not Affect Buffalo's Playoff Position
The alarm bells should not be going off in Buffalo after Monday's loss.
The Bills are still two games ahead of the New England Patriots in the AFC East and they will be on track to host at least one postseason contest.
All the Bills have to do is finish one game ahead of the Titans to render Monday's loss useless when it comes to AFC tiebreakers.
Buffalo is in a great position to rip off a handful of wins after its Week 7 bye. It faces Miami, Jacksonville and the New York Jets in Weeks 8-10.
There is a good chance the Bills could head into their Week 14 road clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on a six-game winning streak and on top of the AFC.
The difficult part of the Bills' schedule is out of the way. Meanwhile, the Titans have to play Kansas City and the Los Angeles Rams in two of the next three weeks.
If Buffalo corrects its issues defending on the run and keeps scoring 30-plus points per game, it should be in the conversation for home-field advantage in the AFC come December.