Vince Young may have earned the AFC Offensive Player of the Week award for his performance at the Ralph – completing 13-of-20 passes for 183 yards and two touchdowns, plus a scintillating 36-yard broken-field scramble that found the end zone just before halftime, leaving multiple defenders in his wake – but the real story of the game was Buffalo’s inability to stop Travis Henry. The fourth-leading rusher in Bills history pounded his former teammates for 135 yards on 25 attempts, not including a 60-yard run called back by a penalty. He was at his best on Tennessee’s final drive, carrying the ball eight times for 41 tough yards to move the team into position for Rob Bironas’ game-deciding 30-yard field goal.
The Bills had a last-minute chance to come back, but J.P. Losman’s fourth-down heave from the Tennessee 28 found the hands of cornerback Reynaldo Hill instead of Josh Reed, and a Young kneeldown ran the final seconds off the clock.
Should they have tried a 45-yard field goal instead? Perhaps… but anyone sitting in the scoreboard end zone can tell you how Bironas, the guy who nailed a 60-yard field goal to beat the Colts earlier in the month, just barely snuck a 42-yarder over the crossbar earlier in the game. Rian Lindell had already kicked five field goals on his way to a career-high 17 points; his confidence had to be at its peak… and he still didn’t think he could make the kick. Maybe a better question to ask is why the Bills have gotten into the habit of taking the wind at the beginning of the game, instead of having it at their back in the deciding moments of the fourth quarter.
Losman finished the day with a touchdown and two interceptions to go with his 266 yards passing, but consistently moved the team – with only two punts, Brian Moorman spent most of the game holding for kicks instead – and put 29 points on the board. (The last time Buffalo lost a game when scoring that many points? It happened twice in 2002, Drew Bledsoe’s first season here.) Tennessee went four for five on third-down chances in the fourth quarter; the only failed conversion was on their final offensive play, when Young dove into the line to set up Bironas’ kick.
Pat Williams’ 28-yard fumble return early in the third quarter gave the Bills a 17-6 lead, but the defense – aided by Drew Bledsoe’s sack/lost fumble at his own 18 – faded down the stretch, allowing career backup Billy Volek to throw two touchdown passes to put the Titans ahead for good. Following Volek’s 1-yard sneak to give the home team an eight-point lead with 4:23 remaining, Bledsoe worked the two-minute drill to perfection, finding tight end Mark Campbell for a diving touchdown with 0:24 on the clock. Of course, Buffalo went for two and the tie, and appeared to have succeeded on Bledsoe’s pass to Bobby Shaw. But as Shaw rolled over, he held up the ball to show the referee he’d made the catch ... and promptly dropped it. Incomplete. Yeah, it was that kind of day for the Bills, who dropped to 6-8 (and officially out of playoff contention) with the loss.