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The Art Of The Takeaway: How Bills Defense Forced 4 Titans Turnovers

Buffalo's ability to capitalize on their opponents’ miscues currently makes them one the most dangerous teams in the NFL.

Real estate moguls have often been criticized for success in their field being often due largely in part to capitalizing on the misfortunes of others.

While that may be unfair to those in the industry, it is more than applicable to life in the National Football League.

Simply put, the good teams find a way to make their opponents pay for the various miscues, errant throws and ball protection issues throughout a given game.

The great ones do it well.

The Buffalo Bills learned that lesson all too well in their opening week victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1. Though the Bills walked away with an impressive 31-10 victory over the defending Super Bowl champions at SoFi Stadium, turned the ball back over to Los Angeles four times. Of course, the Bills earned the win thanks to pouncing on three Rams’ turnovers, as well.

Heading into their Week 2 matchup with the Tennessee Titans, the Bills were determined to win the torn over battle. They did so with authority, forcing four takeaways from the Titans with a pair of interceptions and two fumble recoveries. The Bills trounced the Titans 41-7 on Monday night at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, NY.

Buffalo’s special teams’ unit struck first midway through the third quarter on Monday evening linebacker Tyrel Dodson recovered a loose ball on a muffed punt from Titans’ returner Kyle Phillips at the Tennessee 20-yard line. Buffalo would parlay the recovery into a four-play drive; culminating in a 37-yard Tyler Bass field goal and giving the Bills a 27-7 lead.

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Titans’ quarterback Ryan Tannehill aided the Bills in securing their second repossession of the game, when his third-quarter pass was double-tipped by linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, and then by safety Micah Hyde. The ball would be snagged by Hyde’s counterpart, Jordan Poyer, who brought it back to the Buffalo 49-yard line. It was Poyer’s 22nd career interception, and his 20th while wearing a Bills’ uniform. Quarterback Josh Allen capped the drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to wideout Stefon Diggs, putting the home team on top 34-7.

On the ensuing defensive stand, linebacker Matt Milano read Tannehill’s pass on 2nd and 12 from the Tennessee 39-yard line and returned the interception for a 43-yard touchdown. Buffalo lit the scoreboard for the final time on Monday night, as the Bills held their 41-7 lead to their second victory in as many games.

But wait … there’s more.

The Bills would earn one final takeaway, acting quickly on a fumble from Titans backup quarterback Malik Willis. While attempting a carry over the left side, the rookie lost control of the ball, which was promptly recovered by defensive end Carlos “Boogie” Basham. The Bills defender also had an interception in Week 1 against the Rams.

Ultimately, the 17 points scored by the Bills off turnovers would have been enough to finish the Titans on Monday. Instead, their defensive prowess allowed what was expected to be a hotly-contested nail biter to become a blowout.

Thus far, in 2022, Buffalo's four takeaways now make them a plus-3 in turnover differential.

While Allen and the offense may be rightfully dazzling the fan base with their ability to score points, Buffalo’s defense and special teams may actually be the foundational force behind what looks to currently be the best team in football; in all three phases of the game.

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