ORCHARD PARK, NY ( BUFFALOBILLS.COM ) The Bills hung around for most of the game against a Titans team that was in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race, but after losing an early 7-3 lead Buffalo could never pull back even dropping a 23-17 decision at Ralph Wilson Stadium. For the Bills it was their fifth consecutive defeat.
Buffalo’s defense stiffened in the second half allowing just a pair of field goal drives despite the offense’s inability to put points on the board through most of the second half. The Bills offense finally made it a one score game when they put together a 15-play xx-yard drive that was finished off with two-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Stevie Johnson (23-17).
After the defense again got a stop with 1:45 to play down six, the offense had to try to go 85 yards with less than a minute to play with no timeouts. A 25-yard pass from Fitzpatrick to Naaman Roosevelt got them out to midfield, but Fitzpatrick threw three straight incompletions after spiking the ball on first down to stop the clock ending Buffalo’s last ditch effort.
Tennessee carried a touchdown lead into the second half (17-10) and added to that total with 6:45 to play in the third on an 11-play field goal drive to make it 20-10. They followed that up with another field goal drive after re-gaining a field position edge. Rob Bironas was good from 44 yards out to put the Titans up 13 (23-10) with eight minutes and change to play.
The Titans opened the scoring with a short field goal drive for a 3-0 lead less than three minutes into the game, but Buffalo responded with a nine-play 80-yard scoring drive. Ryan Fitzpatrick rolled out to buy time and got the Bills into Tennessee territory with a 21-yard hook up with Brad Smith down the near sideline. One play later C.J. Spiller took a handoff through the line then ducked outside to get the corner, but fumbled at the three-yard line.
He chased the bounding ball into the end zone and recovered it just before sliding out of bounds. The play was ruled a touchback by officials, but Chan Gailey challenged the call and it was reversed to a touchdown for Buffalo. For Spiller it was a 35-yard touchdown run to give the Bills a 7-3 lead.
Tennessee’s C.J. had a bigger and better answer. Chris Johnson took a 2nd-and-10 carry through the line untouched and accelerated to the sideline outrunning the entire Bills secondary to the end zone for a 48-yard touchdown. The extra point gave the Titans a 10-7 edge with five minutes left in the opening stanza.
The Bills crossed midfield on their ensuing possession, but the drive stalled at the Titans 34-yard line. On 4th-and-3 at the 34, Buffalo chose to go for it. Ryan Fitzpatrick dropped back to pass, but had to scramble. Hit short of the first down marker, Fitzpatrick fumbled and it was recovered by Tennessee.
The Titans then took that possession 57 yards on six plays with Chris Johnson capping it with a four-yard touchdown run.
The 10-point lead for Tennessee was short lived as Buffalo leaned on C.J. Spiller and Tashard Choice. Spiller and Choice pounded out 45 yards on the ground, with Spiller busting a 25-yard carry on a 2nd-and-1 to the Titans 37.
In the red zone a few plays later, Buffalo could not come up with a scoring play and had to settle for a 27-yard field goal from Dave Rayner to pull within a touchdown (17-10).
Now at 5-7 the Bills are all but out of the playoff race. They travel to the west coast next week to face San Diego for a 4 pm kickoff.