DON’T GET ME STARTED saw the Bills face a team that was 2-4 and had given up the most points in the NFL but that team turned a pair of Ryan Fitzpatrick’s turnovers into 14 points and a 35-34 victory for the Tennessee Titans.
The loss definitely dropped the Bills out of a first place tie with the Jets and Patriots. A year ago at this time, the Bills were 5 and 2. Now they are 3 and 4 that won’t sit well with the fans.
The Buffalo Bills seemed in command in the 4th quarter with around 3 minutes left when Fitzpatrick tried to squeeze a sideline pass that was picked off, allowing the Tennessee Titans TO mount the winning drive. The score came on a 15-yard TD pass to Washington on a 4th down.
Certainly there will be questions. The biggest one should be directed toward Chan Gailey. Down by a point, Buffalo scored two touchdowns but Chan Gailey decided NOT to go for a 2-point conversion and that cost him the game. Fans will be screaming about this one.
Ryan Fitzpatrick had the best game of the season as he kept coming back time and time again, but his Achilles heel came to haunt him. A 3rd quarter fumble led to a Tennessee touchdown. But the critical poor pass that was intercepted with 3 minutes left in the game was the back-breaker. The Titans used that pickoff to march down the field for the winning score on Hasselbeck’s TD toss.
For the remaining opponents of the Bills, if they have problems with the running game, they will take heart as once again the run defense played poorly in the first half allowing 21 points. In the second half, they played much, much better except on the last drive.
The Titans Chris Johnson has been struggling, averaging around 3 yards a try. In this game, he carried the ball 18 times for 195 yards that included an 83-yard burst. As for QB Matt Hasselbeck – he was outstanding completing 22 of 33 for 205 yards and the winning touchdown pass late in the game.
The loss certainly was disappointing for Fitzpatrick who battled a lot of criticism. He played his best game but his two turnovers cost the Bills dearly and will, again, be subject to criticism.
Fitzpatrick hit on 27 of 35 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns but his only interception proved very costly. The loss also took away from the great play of Freddy Jackson and C.J. Spiller. They combined for 141 yards. Jackson also led the receivers with 8 catches while Stevie Johnson had 5.
Buffalo outgained Tennessee 370 to 340 yards. Net yards passing favored Buffalo 298 to 167 but Buffalo gave up 173 yards rushing.
The first half was something else as both teams began exchanging touchdowns. At one point, three touchdowns were scored in 25 seconds. After the Titans took the opening drive and scored, Buffalo came back to tie. Then Johnson burst 83 yards for a score but Brad Smith answered running back the kickoff 89 yards. 3 Touchdowns in less than 30 seconds. In fact 2 touchdowns were scored in 12 seconds.
When it seemed as if Ryan Fitzpatrick might escape a game without a turnover, it didn’t happen. His fumble to open the second half helped Tennessee maintain a slim 21-20 lead.
Here’s how the scoring developed;
It didn’t take long to put the first score on the board and it was by Tennessee. Taking the opening kickoff, Matt Hasslebeck used up most of the 77 yard through the air, marching to the Bills 16. Then he handed off to Chris Johnson who swept around the right side into the end zone to give the Titans a 7-0 lead.
The Bills answered with a long drive of its own, despite 2 roughness penalties to tie the game at 7 when Fred Jackson caught a 3-yard pass from Fitzpatrick that completed a 13-play, 83-yard drive while eating up 7 and a half minutes.
Following the kickoff, the Titans began on its own 17-yard line. On the first play, Chris Johnson took the handoff and embarrassed the Bills defense by going the distance on an 83-yard jaunt to put Tennessee on top 14-7.
It took Buffalo only seconds to tie the game at 14 when Brad Smith fielded the kickoff at his 11 and ran 89 yards for the touchdown.
Back came Tennessee with a 14-play drive 80 yard drive to score the go-ahead touchdown by Jamie Harper from the one, thanks to Horseblock eating up the Bills secondary, hitting wide-open receivers putting Tennessee on top 21-14.
Buffalo couldn’t find the end zone on the ensuing drive but settled for a 31-yard field goal by Rain Liddell to make it 21-17.
Finally the first punt of the game at the 2-minute mark after a torrid offensive display. The Bills began a drive on its 13 and marched downfield where Lindell hit a 42-yard field goal to end the first half with Tennessee leading 21-20 in that first half. Buffalo will receiver to open the second half.
Fitzpatrick was 14 of 18 for 11 yards and a TD, no interceptions. Spiller carried 6 times for 46 yards while Fred Jackson had 42 on 5 carries. For Tennessee Hasselbeck was sharp hitting 10 of 14 for 116 yards. Chris Johnson carried 9 times for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns. On 2 of those 9 carries, he gained 16, then 83 or 99 yards on 2 tugs.
McKelvin ran the kickoff back 46 yards and on the first play, Fitzpatrick fumbled the ball and the Titans took over at the Bills 32. Hasselbeck led his team to the Bills 1 where Harper took it in, giving the Titans a 28-20 lead.
Following the kickoff, Fitzpatrick led a good 7 play, 66-yard drive ending with a 15 yard touchdown pass to Donald Jones to move Buffalo back to a 28-27 deficit. Gailey did not go for the 2-point conversion that would probably tie the game at 28.
After forcing another Titan punt, Fitzpatrick led another great drive, going 80 yards in 9 plays and hooking up with Stevie Johnson on a 27-yard TD toss giving Buffalo a 34-28 lead.
Buffalo forced a punt and that’s when Fitzpatrick on a 3rd and 7 from his 39 tried to squeeze the pass to Jones that was intercepted by J. McCourt at the Titans 48.
7 plays later, Washington was in the end zone and the Bills heading to the next game with yet another bitter loss on Don’t Get Me Started.
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