NASHVILLE – For most of last week, the Buffalo Bills were the talk of the NFL.
Following a decisive victory in a showdown with Kansas City – a rematch of the 2020 AFC Championship game – that ran their win streak to four games, the Bills had the NFL’s highest-scoring offense, a defense that had held two of its first five opponents scoreless and young quarterback who with each week looked more and more like he should be included in any conversation about the game’s best at that position.
The Tennessee Titans turned down the volume on some of that hype when they beat the Bills 34-31 in a back-and-forth affair Monday at Nissan Stadium.
Here is some of what Buffalo’s players and head coach Sean McDermott had to say about the Titans following that contest:
• Center Mitch Morse, on the decision to play for a win rather than a tie at the end: “Coach (McDermott) put a lot of trust in us on that play. That’s what makes it a little, not a little, makes it a really sour feeling especially for the O-line. He put the fate of the game in our hands, and we didn’t execute well enough. So, it is a tough pill to swallow.”
• Wide receiver Cole Beasley, on playing for the win: “That’s what you want. You want your coach to have that belief in you. Who better to have the ball in their hands? (Josh Allen) is the best player we got. Nobody’s mad at anybody for any calls. It just comes down to we have to execute better than they do, and we didn’t.”
• McDermott, on the decision to try to win it rather than tie: “I felt good about our chances. I had a chance to win the game right there and we didn't get it done.”
• Quarterback Josh Allen, on Buffalo’s offense: “We moved the ball pretty well tonight just taking what the defense gave me early on and allowing our guys to make some plays. I think we did great job with run after the catch. Guys got open finding zones. When you kind of have that feeling of being able to move the ball, you kind of stall out there in the red zone, it is not a good feeling. We want to score points. That’s our job, to score touchdowns.”
• Linebacker Tremaine Edwards, on Buffalo’s defense: “There’s no excuse for it. They just outexecuted us. There’s really no other way to say it. They just came out and outexecuted us, and we just have to be better.”
• Allen, on failing to score touchdowns in the red zone: “We were two-of-five in the red zone You can’t do that against a team like this. So, a lot of could’ves, would’ves, should’ves. … No secret, two-of-five against a team like this is not going to win you a football game. We go three-of-five, we win that game.”
• McDermott, on two touchdowns in five red zone opportunities: “You know, they did a good job in the red zone. We should have scored. Our red zone status, I think were two-for-five. They were three-for-three.”
• Safety Jordan Poyer, on Derrick Henry’s 76-yard touchdown run: “It was on me. They ran a belly kick, and I was in the gap. You know, I just felt like I could have made the play. He hit me, ran right through the gap. I just got to make that play.”
• Safety Micah Hyde, on Derrick Henry: “We let him out a few times and when that happens, I mean, you watch it on film. You can watch all the games on film and know once he gets through that front line, it’s hard to bring him down. He got through a few times and from there (laughs). The guy’s huge. The guy’s fast. You’ve got to find a way to get him down.”
• McDermott, on the Titans’ run game: “That's what they try and do, keep pounding you, keep pounding you, keep pounding you. And that -- especially with the wide zone, he had a couple of them there in the second half, you know, they expect you at some point to wear down. And, you know, I don't know if it was as much us wearing down, it's just not playing with -- not getting off blocks. Entering the gap is one thing, but you’ve got to shed the block.”
• Morse, on Buffalo’s last play: “It was a good call. We all thought it was a great call. I haven’t gotten a chance to look at it. It just didn’t end up the way we wanted it to. It was a tough deal. I thought it was a good call and we just didn’t execute well enough and they did, and that’s why the outcome is what it is now. Kudos to them.”
• Allen, on Buffalo’s last play: “It didn’t work out in our favor obviously. Didn’t have the greatest footing. It’s a game of inches. The play before was pretty close too. It didn’t turn out in our favor (Monday).”
• Hyde, on the end of the game: “That’s the up and downs of an NFL game, man. … Coach (McDermott) made a hell of a call at the end. We’re riding with that all day with (Josh Allen’s) hand. QB sneak and it’s a tough one.”