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Titans return from Bye, Host Bills at Nissan Stadium

Tennessee Titans (1-2) vs. Buffalo Bills (2-2)

Sunday, October 11th, 2015 | Noon CDT
Nashville, TN | Nissan Stadium | TV: CBS

Tennessee TitansNashville, TN – The Tennessee Titans (1-2) return from their bye this week to host the Buffalo Bills (2-2). Kickoff at Nissan Stadium (capacity 69,143) is scheduled for noon CDT on Sunday, October 11th.

This week’s game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Andrew Catalon will handle play-by-play duties alongside analysts Steve Tasker and Steve Beuerlein.

The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will carry the game across the Mid-South with the “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) scrambles to avoid Indianapolis Colts strong safety Mike Adams (29) during the first half at Nissan Stadium. (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports) [1]

Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) scrambles to avoid Indianapolis Colts strong safety Mike Adams (29) during the first half at Nissan Stadium. (Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports)

The Tennessee Titans

Tennessee TitansBefore their bye, the Titans played their home opener against the Indianapolis Colts, which also was the Titans’ first of four consecutive home games. The Titans erased an early 14-0 deficit to take a 27-14 lead in the second half, but the Colts posted 21 points in the fourth quarter to escape Nissan Stadium with a 35-33 victory.

Rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota led the Titans on a late two-minute drive that came close to pushing the game to overtime after fullback Jalston Fowler scored on a one-yard touchdown run. However, needing a two-point conversion to tie the score, Fowler got the handoff again but was denied by the Colts on the attempt.

Mariota was 27-of-44 passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions in the contest. His 367 passing yards set a new franchise single-game record for a rookie, breaking Zach Mettenberger’s mark last season of 345 passing yards at Philadelphia (November 23rd).

The beginning to Mariota’s career is among the best in NFL history among quarterbacks.

Tennessee Titans full back Jalston Fowler (45) scores during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium. The Colts won 35-33. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) [2]

Tennessee Titans full back Jalston Fowler (45) scores during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at Nissan Stadium. The Colts won 35-33. (Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports)

His season totals include 833 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions on 61-of-97 passing. He tied former Redskins quarterback Mark Rypien (1988) for the most touchdown passes in NFL history through the first three games of a career. Also, with a passer rating of 109.2, Mariota owns the eighth best passer rating in NFL history in a player’s first three starts and the highest since Chad Pennington’s first three starts in 2002.

Through four weeks of the NFL season, Mariota is listed among the league leaders in several passing categories. He ranks fifth in passer rating, fifth in yards per attempt (8.6) and tied for fifth in touchdown passes, despite playing one fewer game than most starting quarterbacks around the league.

This week marks the second contest for the Titans in a rare span that includes four home games and a bye. They were last on the road at Cleveland on Sept. 20, and the next away game they will play is Nov. 1 at Houston, giving them five weeks during the regular season without a road contest. In the 56-year history of the organization, that has happened only three previous times: 1960, 1964 and 1967.

The Titans hope to take advantage of the unusually early bye in their schedule. In the “Titans era” (1999–present), there have been only three other occasions in which they had an open date after three games or fewer: 2000 (Week 3); 2001 (originally Week 4 but occurred after two games due to the postponement of all games following Sept. 11); and 2007 (Week 4).

The Buffalo Bills

Bills Helmet [4]The Bills are preparing to play their second road game in the season’s first five weeks. They opened the season with a pair of home games, first defeating the Indianapolis Colts and then falling to the New England Patriots. In Week 3, they went on the road for the first time and earned an impressive 41-14 victory at the expense of the Miami Dolphins.

Last week, they returned to Ralph Wilson Stadium to host the New York Giants. Giants quarterback Eli Manning completed three touchdowns to outduel Bills signal caller Tyrod Taylor (274 yards and one touchdown), and the Giants won by a final score of 24-10.

The Bills are in their first season under head coach Rex Ryan, who spent the previous six years as the head coach of the New York Jets. During that time (2009–2014), Ryan’s Jets ranked second in the NFL in total defense.

Through four games with the Bills, Ryan’s squad has shown many of the trademarks of an upper echelon defense. The Bills rank third in the NFL in rushing defense, allowing 78.5 yards per game, and they are tied for third with six total interceptions.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) during the game against the New York Giants at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports) [5]

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor (5) during the game against the New York Giants at Ralph Wilson Stadium. (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports)

Taylor is in his first year as Buffalo’s starter. Originally a sixth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2011, he had yet to start a game in the NFL before this season. The former Virginia Tech Hokie has made the most of his opportunity, passing for 988 yards and eight touchdowns with four interceptions. His 104.4 passer rating is good for ninth place in the NFL.

The Sports Fund Play It Forward Drive

Fans attending the Titans-Bills game are encouraged to bring donations for the The Sports Fund Play It Forward Drive. Collection locations will be positioned outside of Nissan Stadium to collect new and gently used sports equipment in an effort to support underserved youth and high school athletes and athletic programs in the area.

The Sports Fund – under the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee umbrella – is a charitable effort dedicated to helping ensure Middle Tennessee area children have access to the opportunities sports and team membership provide.

Titans-Bills Series At A Glance

A Titans Victory Would

What To Look For This Week

The Titans continue a span of five weeks without a road game, including four home games and a bye.

TE Anthony Fasano (2,927 career receiving yards) needs 73 receiving yards to reach 3,000 for his career.

S Michael Griffin needs one interception to become the ninth player in franchise history to reach 25 career interceptions.

S Michael Griffin (827 career tackles) needs 10 tackles to tie John Grimsley (836) for sixth place on the franchise’s all-time tackles list.

WR Justin Hunter needs 74 receiving yards to reach 1,000 career receiving yards.

QB Marcus Mariota needs four touchdown passes to tie Vince Young’s franchise record for touchdown passes as a rookie. Young recorded 12 touchdown passes as a rookie in 2006.

K Ryan Succop is scheduled to play in his 100th career game.

Titans-Bills Series History

The Titans and Bills contest brings together two of the original teams of the American Football League, founded by two of the visionaries who helped set in motion one of the most significant eras in football history. It was in 1960 that K.S. “Bud” Adams, Jr.’s then-Houston Oilers and Ralph Wilson, Jr.’s Bills became two of the eight teams that began play in the newly-formed league.

Adams, Wilson and the other original AFL owners were dubbed the “Foolish Club” for their choice to accept the seemingly-impossible task of competing with the National Football League. Ten seasons later, the burgeoning league’s success was more than apparent, as the AFL and NFL completed a historic merger.

In the regular season and postseason, the Titans and Bills have met a total of 44 times. The Titans hold a 28-16 advantage in the series, dating back to the inaugural AFL season.

The momentum in the series has swung back and forth. From 1967 until 1978, the Oilers had a 10-game winning streak over the Bills, the longest streak in the series. From 1983–94, Buffalo controlled the series, going 8-3.

But since then, Tennessee has won eight out of the last nine, including the last five and the most recent matchup in 2012, a 35-34 decision in Buffalo.

The franchises have met three times in the playoffs, with Buffalo holding a 2-1 advantage in those meetings. The last playoff matchup between the two teams was in 1999, when the Titans defeated the Bills 22-16 in an AFC Wild Card game.

In a play known as the “Music City Miracle,” Kevin Dyson returned a Frank Wycheck lateral on a kickoff return 75 yards for a touchdown with only 16 seconds left in the game, giving Tennessee the win. The Titans went on to beat Indianapolis and Jacksonville before falling to St. Louis in Super Bowl XXXIV.

In a 1992 Wild Card game, the Bills achieved a similarly miraculous win. Trailing 35-3 in the third quarter, the Bills rallied to score 35 consecutive points and eventually won 41-38 in overtime.

Titans-Bills: The Last Meeting

Tennessee Titans 35 at Buffalo Bills 34
Sunday, October 21st, 2012
Ralph Wilson Stadium, Orchard Park, NY

1 2 3 4 Final
Tennessee Titans 14 7 7 7 35
Buffalo Bills 14 6 14 0 34

 

Matt Hasselbeck’s 15-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington with a minute to play in the game gave the Titans a 35-34 victory over the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

The Bills led 34-28 and had the ball with three minutes on the clock. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick tried to convert a third-and-seven with a pass to wide receiver Donald Jones. However, cornerback Jason McCourty intercepted the pass at the Tennessee 48.

Hasselbeck and the Titans offense began their charge. After taking a sack, he passed to Washington for 19 yards, and then Chris Johnson picked up 27 yards to the Buffalo 16. Then, on fourth-and-nine from the Buffalo 15, Hasselbeck’s pass to Washington tied the game, and Rob Bironas made the go-ahead extra point amid winds that blew from 15-25 miles per hour most of the contest.

The Bills had one final drive before time expired, but they were unable to get a first down. Fitzpatrick’s pass to Stevie Johnson sailed incomplete on fourth-and-two.

For most of the game, the two teams’ rushing attacks were showcased. Titans running back Chris Johnson totaled 195 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, while Jamie Harper added a pair of one-yard touchdown runs. The Titans totaled 197 rushing yards, while the Bills combined for 166, primarily from the running back tandem of Fred Jackson (71 yards) and C.J. Spiller (70 yards).

The Titans opened the game by marching 77 yards on eight plays. On the final play of the drive, Chris Johnson scored on a 16-yard run. The Bills responded by going 83 yards on 13 plays, including a 20-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Spiller. That set up a three-yard touchdown pass to Jackson.

However, on the very next play from scrimmage, Johnson scored on an 83-yard run to put the Titans back ahead 14-7.

The Titans had little time to celebrate the lead, as Brad Smith took the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to tie the score.

Tennessee then continued the back-and-forth affair with its third touchdown in as many possessions. Beginning at their own 20, they converted four third downs on the drive, including a 29-yard pass from Hasselbeck to Jared Cook on third-and-six. Five plays later, Harper rushed into the end zone on a one-yard carry four minutes into the second quarter.

The Bills finished the half with consecutive drives ending in field goals. Rian Lindell booted a 31-yarder to pull the Bills to within 21-17 and added a 42-yarder as time expired in the half.

Titans defensive end Kamerion Wimbley began the second half with a sack and forced fumble of Fitzpatrick. Defensive end Derrick Morgan recovered, and the offense capitalized with Harper’s second touchdown to make the score 28-20.

Buffalo then scored consecutive touchdowns to take the lead. First, Jones scored on a 15-yard pass, and then Stevie Johnson scored on a 27-yard pass for the Bills’ first lead of the game with five seconds remaining in the third quarter. The score remained 34-28 until the last-minute heroics of Hasselbeck and Washington.