The Buffalo Bills have had 11 days of rest since their resounding 31-10 season-opening win over the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 8.
And even with the loud and proud Bills Mafia at their backs for the home opener on Monday Night Football at Highmark Stadium, Buffalo came out a bit on the slower side against the Tennessee Titans (0-1) than some might've expected, though finished strong in the closing minutes.
Monday night marks the fifth-straight year that the Bills and Titans have met, which included a thrilling game on the prime staple last season. Tennessee running back Derrick Henry gashed Buffalo for 20 carries, 143 rushing yards and three touchdowns in that game and the Titans put together a game-winning goal-line stop in the final seconds.
For the Bills, there's plenty of reason for revenge in the home opener on a familiar prime-time stage.
The first drive of the game saw Buffalo begin with three third-down conversions and finish things off with an 11-yard touchdown from the unlikeliest of recipients, as fullback Reggie Gilliam broke a few tackles in the backfield before dashing into the end zone after a short pass from quarterback Josh Allen.
But the Titans came out with their own impressive response, putting together a nine-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Henry plunging into the end zone for a two-yard touchdown on 4th and 1.
After that, it was fixing to be another scoring drive for Buffalo. But Tennesee's defesne stopped coach Sean McDermott's aggressive offense on 4th and 1 from the Titans' 31-yard line. The Titans and rookie receiver Treylon Burks converted a big 16-yard catch-and-run on 3rd and 14, yet it was two Tennessee penalties that ultimately halted the drive.
Allen seemed well on his way to taking the game over by beginning the next drive with an impressive deep throw over the middle to receiver Isaiah McKenzie for a 28-yard gain. But it was the could-have-been one-yard throw to receiver Jake Kumerow that will remembered for stopping the momentum, as Allen sailed the ball into the dirt on a 3rd and 1 try that would have kept the drive going.
A false start by Buffalo on the ensuing fourth-down drive forced the Bills to settle for a Tyler Bass field goal to break the tie at 10-7.
Luckily for Allen and Kumerow, they got to make up for the missed opportunity on the previous possession.
Once Buffalo got the ball back after a Titans three-and-out, Allen launched his deepest pass of the half, finding Kumerow down the left sideline in stride for a 39-yard gain.
The first-half aggression continued on the goal line. Faced with yet another 4th and 1, McDermott elected to go for it and it paid off big. Allen scrambled left, scrambled right, and fired a bullet into the chest of Diggs for a four-yard touchdown.
The Bills built a 17-7 lead off the touchdown and kept this going into the locker room. The Titans will receive the second-half kickoff looking to answer after a first half that saw them total just 90 yards of offense.
FIRST HALF STATS
QB Josh Allen: 18 of 23 passing for 208 yards and two touchdowns, one carry for 10 yards
RB Devin Singletary: five carries for 16 yards
WR Stefon Diggs: seven catches for 65 yards and a touchdown
WR Jake Kumerow: two catches for 50 yards
QB Ryan Tannehill: nine of 12 passing for 88 yards
RB Derrick Henry: eight carries for 12 yards and one touchdown
WR Treylon Burks: four catches for 47 yards
You can follow Zach Dimmitt on Twitter at @ZachDimmitt7