Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans Ran All Over Buffalo While Exposing Major Flaws in Josh Allen’s Bills

The Tennessee Titans (4-2) defeated the Buffalo Bills (4-2) in an absolute thriller of a game on a beautiful fall night in Nashville, Tennessee. The man they call King Henry asserted his dominance in front of a national audience on Monday Night Football and led his team to a victory over a squad many are picking to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.

Derrick Henry was a video game character under the bright lights on Monday night, but he was far from the only Titans standout in their 34-31 win.

Tennessee was strong on both sides of the football and actually exposed a few vital weaknesses in the Bills that playoff teams around the AFC will be sure to notice.

Derrick Henry was unstoppable on the ground for the Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry plays against the Buffalo Bills
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 | Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The numbers alone don’t do Henry’s performance on Monday Night Football justice, but they’re certainly impressive nonetheless.

The 6-foot-3, 247-pound human battering ram rushed the ball 20 times for the Titans, running all over the Bills to the tune of 143 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 7.2 yards per carry and even caught two passes for 13 yards.

Henry was nearly impossible for Buffalo to take down, and while that’s become the expectation for him, it was still wild to see a defense that was ranked No. 1 overall heading into this game struggle so much.

The Bills were giving up just 78.4 rush yards per game heading into this contest. Tennessee rushed for 146 yards as a team on Monday night, with a Ryan Tannehill rushing touchdown counting for the other three yards that Henry didn’t get himself.

It was fitting that Henry put the first points on the board for Tennessee with a 76-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, while also effectively icing the game for the Titans with a 13-yard score to put them up 34-31 (after the extra point) with 3:05 to go in the game.

The Buffalo Bills had their chances, but Tennessee was more physical and got pressure on Josh Allen

The Titans likely knew heading into the contest that they wouldn’t be able to stop Josh Allen and the Bills’ high-flying offense, but Tennessee did come up with a game plan that made life hard for the young quarterback.

Allen still passed for 353 yards and three touchdowns in the game, but the Titans found a way to consistently get pressure on him and keep his offense off schedule. Defensive coordinator Shane Bowen brought pressure from every which way on Allen, making it so that even when he was able to get off a clean throw, he was never fully set or comfortable.

Case in point, pressure off the edge forced Allen’s one interception.

The Titans sacked Allen three times and came away with eight quarterback hits. Tennesee played with a stacked box upfront and basically dared Allen to beat them as a pure passer. He wasn’t able to get out on the run much to use his legs and speaking of the run, the Titans completely took away the Bills’ running attack.

Devin Singletary was held to just 27 yards on five carries, while Zach Moss had eight carries for only 24 yards. The Bills rushed for just 82 yards as a team, largely due to Tennessee’s stout defense at the line of scrimmage.

Speaking of, with the game on the line and the Bills in position to likely win the game with a touchdown, Tennesse’s defense kept Allen out of the endzone and unable to get a first down on two straight tries.

The Bills gave the ball away on downs, three agonizing yards away from paydirt.

Tennessee laid out the blueprint defenses can use to slow down the Bills’ offense

Quarterback Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills warms up for a game against the Tennessee Titans
Quarterback Josh Allen #17 of the Buffalo Bills looks on before playing against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium | Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

One loss is not going to sink the Bills.

Allen is a likely MVP candidate and Sean McDermott is one of the best head coaches in the NFL. Buffalo also has way too much talent at receiver. Stefon Diggs is a Pro Bowl level talent, and both Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley are veteran wideouts who know how to move the sticks.

With that said, smart defensive coordinators will highlight this game and use the Titans’ game plan as a way to slow down Buffalo’s offense.

Forcing Allen to be a pure passer takes his elite athleticism and play-making ability out of the equation. Stuffing the box and taking away his running game is step one in that process. Step two is putting him under unrelenting pressure with blitzes and stunts.

It’s a winning formula, as Tennesse proved on Monday Night Football. Considering how good the Titans looked against the Bills, perhaps they’ll have the opportunity to give their game plan another try in the AFC playoffs.

Stats courtesy of ESPN and Pro Football Reference.

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