It's a good thing the Tennessee Titans offense showed up on Sunday in Orchard Park, N.Y.
In a topsy-turvy game that featured plenty of offense and very little defense, Tennessee rallied past Buffalo on Matt Hasselbeck's 15-yard touchdown pass to Nate Washington on a fourth-and-9 situation, giving the Titans a 35-34 victory at Ralph Wilson Stadium.
"It was a situation where we could have gone for the first down or for the touchdown, and we needed, I think it was eight yards or so for the first,” Hasselbeck said. “We basically ran everybody deep and the way they covered it, they really I think had sort of a three on two, three defenders on Jared (Cook) and Nate. The coaches I think designed the play to go to Nate. I was looking at Jared first, and I think I held the safety just a little bit. The wind kind of took the ball and put it in there nice, Nate made a great catch. It was a great feeling.”
It was great for the Titans that they were able to overcome another abysmal defensive performance by the defense, which struggled throughout the game, not forcing a punt at all by the Bills until the fourth quarter. After the Titans regained the lead, the defense did come up with a key fourth down stop on the final play when Jordan Babineaux blitz Ryan Fitzpatrick and forced an incompletion.
The win improves the Titans to 3-4 for the season, marks their first two-game winning streak and gives them their first road win of the season.
Tennessee's primary highlight was the play of Chris Johnson, who looked like the old CJ, running for 195 yards and two scores, including one from 83 yards out that gave the Titans a 14-7 lead in the first quarter.
“I’ve been waiting for it for a while, it kind of surprised me because I didn’t know it was an 80-yard touchdown, I thought it was kind of like a 60, 65-yard touchdown, but when I came back to the sidelines they told me how long it was. So it kind of surprised me,” said Johnson, who also had a 50-yard TD run last year against Buffalo.
It looked as though neither offense could be stopped for much of the game, as the Titans led 21-20 at the half.
Tennessee then extended that lead when Kamerion Wimbley forced a Fitzpatrick fumble on a sack and Derrick Morgan recovered, setting up a score by Jamie Harper that gave the Titans a 28-20 lead in the third quarter.
Titans coach Mike Munchak pointed to that play as a big one for the Titans on a day when the defense again had issues for much of the game.
“I think coming out at halftime and Kamerion Wimbley getting that sack, caused a fumble, and the offense took that and scored, that was a huge play for us right off the bat,” Munchak said. “You always talk about doing those things coming out in the third quarter; we did it.”
The Bills scored twice in the second half against the porous Titans defense and led 34-28 when the Titans went for it on fourth-and-four in the four quarter, only to be stopped.
However, on the ensuing possession, the defense finally rose up as Jason McCourty intercepted a Fitzpatrick pass, setting up the eventual winning touchdown.
“[Buffalo] had some success on offense; we knew they would. They’ve got a lot of great weapons, but our defense held up on two of the last times they had the ball,” Munchak said.