By Luke Worsham
A to Z Sports.com
The Bills took advantage of their big play, and the Tennessee Titans didn’t take advantage of theirs.
The Titans (2-3) lost to the Bills (4-1), 14-7, on Sunday in a game that they had every opportunity to win. The Titans offense’s inability to finish drives and multiple missed opportunities throughout the game ultimately came back to bite the team.
“We did leave a lot of points out there,” QB Marcus Mariota said after the game. “It was our fault. We’re going to have to take a look at it and find ways to improve.”
The Titans had a chance to take a lead following a 57-yard catch and run from TE Jonnu Smith late in the third quarter that set them up in prime scoring position.
But after three penalties, including an illegal forward pass call that wiped out a would-be touchdown pass from Mariota to WR A.J. Brown, the Titans had to settle for a 33-yard field goal attempt from Cairo Santos.
Santos missed. It was his third of four misses during the game. Nearly twenty years after the Titans notched the “Music City Miracle” against the Bills, they managed the “Music City Mis-Hit.”
“We just have to play better,” said RB Derrick Henry, who scored the Titans’ lone touchdown of the game. “That’s all it comes down to. Self-inflicted wounds, stalled drives. We just have to be better.”
When the Bills took over after the missed kick, WR Isaiah McKenzie gave them a big play of their own, taking a Josh Allen pass down the right sideline for 46 yards. Unlike the Titans, the Bills capitalized on their big play.
Just a few plays later, Allen found WR Duke Williams in the end zone for a 7-yard go-ahead touchdown that would ultimately win the game for Buffalo.
LACK OF CONSISTENCY
As the Titans strived to go “from good to great” heading into this season, they desired more consistency, something that eluded them in each of their three-straight 9-7 seasons from 2016-2018.
But after following up a big win with a disappointing loss, yet again, the inconsistent cycle seems to be as active as ever.
“As an offense, we need to get in gear,” said LT Taylor Lewan. “For the last however long that I’ve been here, this has been the story. We need to get in gear, we need to get going. Everyone’s upset, everyone’s pissed off.”
Santos’ fourth missed field goal of the game came on a 53-yard attempt with 6:35 left in the game.
The Titans would have only needed 4 yards to convert if they had left the offense out on third down. Yet, the usually aggressive Vrabel decided to send out the kicking team and give another opportunity to his kicker who had already let the team down multiple times with misses.
Vrabel said he made the uncharacteristic choice due to a confidence that Santos could correct the issues he showed earlier in the game.
“I have confidence in him, and obviously, when we send him out there, we’re sending him out there with the intent to put points on the board,” Vrabel said. “That’s what we’re trying to do and I felt like the way the defense was playing, to be able to win the game, we get the ball back and score a touchdown to win it.”
The Titans will have a chance to get back on track, again, when they travel to Denver on Sunday, Oct. 13 to face the Broncos.