Top 3 Things We Learned

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Top 3 things we learned from Bills vs. Titans | Week 2

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1 – Diggs delivers

On a night when the Bills were without Gabe Davis due to an ankle injury, the onus was on Stefon Diggs to deliver in Buffalo's passing game.

No problem.

Diggs dominated from beginning, middle to the end of the game racking up a 12-catch, 148-yard performance that included matching a single-game career best with three touchdowns in Buffalo's lopsided 41-7 victory over Tennessee.

Facing a Titans secondary that was down a starting corner in Kristian Fulton, Diggs got an early start and never let up as he routinely gained separation leading to several easy completions for Josh Allen in the passing game.

"It felt good getting him the ball early and often," said Allen. "He did a great job of getting open, making plays, making some great catches. So, he is what he is. It's Stefon Diggs. We know he is one of the greatest, if not the greatest, receiver in the game right now, and I trust him implicitly."

It began innocently enough with the first play from scrimmage as Allen hit Diggs on a short inside route for four yards. But as the game wore on Diggs was frequently running open on short routes, intermediate routes and deep routes.

"As a receiver, you want to be able to do everything, especially if you consider yourself a wide receiver one," said Diggs. "You've got to be everything for your quarterback. I've got a quarterback that can do everything. So, for me, I've just got to do my job. If I'm doing my job, I'm alright. Giving my quarterback that comfortable feel that safety blanket so he's out there not thinking too much just kind of kind of trusting that I'm going to be open. And I'll make a play for you."

Through the first half, Diggs pulled in receptions of eight, 16, nine, 15 and nine yards before pulling in a four-yard touchdown on an improbable throw on the back side of the play to put Buffalo up 17-7 at the half.

"It was fourth down and obviously, (I'm) not throwing the ball away there," said Allen. "I'm okay to extend the play, try to take a sack, if need be, but give somebody a chance there. And he just kind of got lost behind everybody. I was looking left; he came all the way right. I just kind of (spotted) him, and he did a great job of working to get open there. And he made the play for us."

Come the second half, Allen made three consecutive completions to Diggs with the last being a 46-yard touchdown pass as Diggs beat Tre Avery on an inside move to the end zone to balloon Buffalo's lead to 24-7 early in the third quarter.

But Diggs' night wasn't done. Two possessions later after an interception off a tipped pass by Jordan Poyer, Allen found Diggs one more time for a 14-yard touchdown catch on a quick slant to put the game away (34-7) with five minutes left in the third quarter.

The dominant performance against the Titans was not a first for Diggs. While it was his most productive performance against Tennessee, it was his third 100-yard receiving day against the Titans, with one coming with Buffalo in 2020 and the other with the Minnesota Vikings in 2016.

So, is there something about playing Tennessee for Buffalo's top wideout?

"Hopefully you could say that about a couple of teams but for me it's never personal for me, it's business for me," Diggs said. "The next team, they're in front of me, they're in my way with where I'm trying to go and what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to stack wins, but the next team is always the next team. But there's never any extra incentive when I play Tennessee. I like Tennessee, Nashville, hot chicken and all."

2 – Bills run 'D' up to the task

After Derrick Henry victimized the Bills in their 2021 matchup with a 143-yard and three touchdowns in a Titans three-point victory, Buffalo made him a primary focus on Monday night. Henry found rushing lanes minimal as the Bills run front consistently filled gaps and demonstrated sound tackling.

"Good game plan, players executed," said head coach Sean McDermott. "I thought it was good fundamental football. I thought we were a little maybe erratic early and we settled in and started playing fundamentally strong football. We still need to add some discipline into what we do there."

Henry had 13 carries for just 25 yards averaging just 1.9 yards per carry. It was Henry's lowest yardage output in a game since Oct. 14th, 2018, when he had 21 yards on seven carries. His longest run on Monday night went for just nine yards and five of his 13 carries went for a loss. Christian Benford, Tremaine Edmunds, Von Miller, Jordan Poyer and Greg Rousseau all registered tackles for loss on Henry.

Buffalo's effort was all the more impressive because they were down a pair of defensive tackles in Ed Oliver and Tim Settle. Their run front was seemingly unaffected as Jordan Phillips and DaQuan Jones were solid with steady play from practice squad call up Brandin Bryant on the interior.

"We just played our style of defense," said Von Miller. "We have so much respect for Derrick and that whole offense, the whole run game, the whole passing game with Ryan Tannehill, that we really didn't leave any 'T' uncrossed or any 'I' undotted. Coach (Leslie) Frazier, coach (Eric) Washington, Coach McDermott did a really good job of keeping everybody focused for this game. We knew they had a really, really tough team led by a really, really tough coach. We just kept playing our game and fortunately, we were able to come up with the win."

According to NextGen Stats, Derrick Henry's -2.6 rush yards over expectation was the worst rushing yards over expected per carry since the metric has been in existence (2018).

All told the Titans managed just 75 yards rushing on 27 carries for a 2.8 average.

Check out the best sights after Buffalo won its 2022 home opener at Highmark Stadium.

3 – Buffalo dominates the turnover table

Coming off a Week 1 performance that saw the Bills turn the ball over four times and get three takeaways of their own, Buffalo was very opportunistic on Monday night.

The Bills forced four takeaways from the Titans with a pair of interceptions and two fumble recoveries.

The turnovers began on special teams midway through the third quarter when Titans punt returner Kyle Phillips muffed the punt and Tyrel Dodson swooped in to recover the loose ball at the Tennessee 20-yard line. Four plays later Tyler Bass put a field goal up and through from 37 yards to make it 27-7.

The second takeaway came off a double tipped pass from Ryan Tannehill. It was initially tipped by Tremaine Edmunds and then Micah Hyde before Jordan Poyer got his hands on it for his second interception in as many games this season. Buffalo turned that takeaway into a touchdown on a four-play scoring drive to make it 34-7.

"This is my sixth year in this defense," Poyer said. "Sixth year playing with some of the same guys that I played with and then obviously, the additions that we've added up front. I feel like going into year 10, I'm seeing the field a lot better, a lot more. Understanding how to study throughout the week, I understand my job description. And the game is slowing down a lot more. But at the same time, I want to continue to get better and help put our team in position to win football games by doing what I can."

For Poyer it was his 20th interception in a Bills uniform and the 22nd of his career. Joining him in the pick parade was LB Matt Milano, who made his first interception since the season opener against the Jets in 2020. Milano not only picked off Tannehill's pass but returned it 43 yards for a touchdown for the final points of the game in a 41-7 final.

"That's the real 5-8. That's the real 5-8," said Von Miller of Milano in reference to the jersey number he wore in Denver. "Matt Milano, he works so, so hard. Incredible player, man, and whenever you see guys have success like that, it's super cool."

"I've been telling Matt all week, all year, just to believe, man," said Poyer. "Just believe. And he finally believed, and he finally – he should have had two of them. A couple of us should have had two of them."

The final takeaway came when Titans backup QB Malik Willis fumbled on a carry over the left side that was recovered by Boogie Basham. It was Basham's second takeaway in as many games after he had an interception in Week 1.

By game's end Buffalo scored 17 points off turnovers to make the game a blowout. Buffalo's four takeaways now make them a plus-3 in turnover differential on the season.

Check out the best sights after Buffalo won its 2022 home opener at Highmark Stadium.

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