ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) The Tennessee Titans are 0-2 for the first time in a decade, chasing their most losing streak in five seasons under coach Mike Vrabel.
Something needs to change for a team that had the best record in the AFC last year.
Tennessee was routed 41-7 by the Buffalo Bills on Monday night as the offense led by Derrick Henry was collapsing. The defense of the Titans leaked yards against the pass a week after being run over by Saquon Barkley and the New York Giants in a 21-20 loss to open the season.
“We got our (butts) kicked, plain and simple,” Vrabel said.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill gave Tennessee a ‘brutal night’.
”This one is tough to swallow,” said Tannehill, who was 11-of-20 passing for 117 yards with two interceptions, the latter of which ended his night after he returned it for a touchdown at Matt Milano.
”But you can’t sit around and have a woe-is-me attitude,” Tannehill added. ”You have to be able to turn the page and fix some things.”
While some fans may suggest a quarterback change is in order after Tannehill was dumped in favor of rookie third-round pick Malik Willis, Vrabel said he was just being cautious and protecting his starters — Henry in count – from injury after the Bills broke the game. opened by scoring 24 points in a 6:29 span of the third quarter.
”No one wants to go out there and lose that route,” Vrabel said. ”But I’m also realistic and I understand where we were and the situation we were in and try to get some guys that I feel will help us win next week.”
Only two of the Titans’ 11 drives ended in Bills territory as the offense combined for 187 yards, the fewest in four seasons, and 12 first downs.
Henry, a two-time rushing champion who had 143 yards in last season’s win against the Bills, had 25 yards on 13 carries, his lowest output since 2018. Henry rushed 21 times for 82 yards against the Giants.
”I can’t really focus on what happened in the past and how I started,” Henry said. ”I have to be better. I am proud to be the leader of this team. I got voted in as captain, and I have to hold up my end of the bargain.”
Henry said the Titans’ success this season will be based on their response to early adversity.
”We certainly don’t want to play like this again,” Henry said. ”We just have to play better. That’s all there is to it. It’s not good enough. It wasn’t good enough. And we have to be better. No apologies.”
Tennessee’s defense was no better, allowing the Bills to rack up 414 yards. The unit didn’t force any turnovers and only sacked Josh Allen once.
Stefon Diggs dominated the Titans’ secondary, catching 12 passes for 148 yards and matching a career high with three touchdowns. The Bills were without starting receiver Gabe Davis, but it hardly mattered.
”We felt like we were going to have to earn them everything,” Titans safety Kevin Byard said. ”We did it sometimes. But then in that second half, we didn’t really earn anything. They were taking shots all down the field. Miscommunication in middle school and stuff like that. They did a lot of things that we didn’t handle properly.”
Even midway through the third quarter, when the Titans forced the Bills to punt for the first time this season, they couldn’t keep Buffalo off the scoreboard.
Kyle Phillips muffed a punt for the second week in a row, and the Bills recovered the ball at the Titans 20, leading to Tyler Bass’ 37-yard field goal.
A week after coming one play from beating the Giants after Randy Bullock’s 47-yard field goal attempt left wide left as time expired, Tannehill noticed that the Titans had a lot more plays for the chance to beat Buffalo.
”It can’t be made bigger than it is,” Tannehill said. ”But there must be urgency to turn things around. We have no time to waste.”
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