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NFL: Bills rout Titans; Eagles dominant in win over Vikings

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs catches a 14-yard touchdown pass against the Tennessee Titans.
Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs catches a 14-yard touchdown pass against the Tennessee Titans on Monday in Orchard Park, N.Y.
(Matt Durisko / Associated Press)
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Josh Allen threw four touchdown passes, including three to Stefon Diggs, and the Buffalo Bills rolled past Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans 41-7 in their home opener Monday night.

The Bills followed a season-opening 31-10 rout of the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams by throttling an opponent that has been their nemesis in each of the past two seasons. Fullback Reggie Gilliam and linebacker Matt Milano, with a 43-yard interception return, also scored touchdowns for Buffalo.

Allen topped 300 yards passing for the 15th time of his career, completing 26 of 38 attempts for 317 yards, and sat out the fourth quarter. Diggs had 12 catches for 148 yards. He has exceeded 100 yards in each of his first two games, a feat accomplished previously for the Bills only by Hall of Famer Andre Reed.

The Bills have topped 30 points twice after doing so nine times last year. And their defense limited Tennessee to 182 yards of offense and 12 first downs, while registering two sacks and forcing four turnovers.

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The Titans, coming off a 21-20 season-opening loss to the New York Giants, opened 0-2 for the first time since 2012.

The two-time defending AFC South champions face numerous questions about a defense that gave up 313 yards passing a week after allowing 238 yards rushing. Meantime, Henry and their offense continue to sputter.

The two-time rushing champion was limited to 25 yards on 13 carries while scoring on a two-yard plunge.

Injuries affected both teams, the most serious involving Bills cornerback Dane Jackson, who hurt his neck in a troubling collision with a teammate and was taken to a hospital for evaluation. The Bills said Jackson had full movement in his limbs.

Otherwise, the two-time defending AFC East champion Bills continued making a splash in their second consecutive prime-time appearance, while at the same time easing frustrations of the past, including a 42-16 loss to Tennessee in 2020.

Still stung by memories of Allen being stuffed for no gain on fourth down near the goal line in the final seconds of the last season’s 34-31 loss in which Buffalo squandered a seven-point fourth-quarter lead, the Bills scored on their opening drive and never looked back.

Up 10-7, Allen and Diggs took over by connecting for two touchdowns spanning halftime. Faking left, Allen found Diggs in an opening for a four-yard touchdown with a minute remaining in the second quarter.

Allen and Diggs then blew the game open by connecting on a 46-yard touchdown on Buffalo’s first possession of the second half. Given time in the pocket, Allen threw a perfectly placed pass to Diggs, who reached out to catch the ball before tumbling head-first into the end zone.

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The wheels fell off for the Titans, who were outscored 24-0 in the third quarter. Tennessee rookie Kyle Philips muffed a punt for a second consecutive week, and Ryan Tannehill threw interceptions on consecutive possessions.

Tannehill finished 11 of 20 for 117 yards and was benched after Milano’s interception with 3:49 left in the third quarter. Rookie Malik Willis took over, and if Tannehill continues to struggle, Tennessee fans will want to see more of the young backup.

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Sept. 19, 2022

Eagles 24, Vikings 7

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts runs up field.
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts runs upfield during the second half against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday.
(Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

PHILADELPHIA — Jalen Hurts had 301 total yards in the first half in the breakout game of his young career, finishing with three total touchdowns as he led the Philadelphia Eagles to a 24-7 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night.

Trying to prove he is the franchise QB for the Eagles in his second year, Hurts looked downright unstoppable from the opening drive.

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Hurts hit five receivers on five-for-five passing — highlighted by a 19-yard strike to A.J. Brown — and finished the drive with a three-yard scoring run. In the season-opening win against Detroit, Hurts failed to complete a pass on five attempts and the Eagles turned the ball over on downs on the first drive of the game.

Turn the ball over on downs?

That seemed like just a rumor against the Vikings. The TD was just the liftoff for the 24-year-old Hurts throwing, running, imposing his will with all his available tools against a Vikings defense that could not solve him in his 21st career start. He finished with 333 yards passing and a touchdown, and 57 yards and two scores on the ground.

On the first play of the second quarter, Hurts connected on a wide-open Quez Watkins for a 53-yard touchdown and the 14-0 lead.

Slay, who picked off a hapless pass by Kirk Cousins in the third quarter, had called each of the Eagles’ trio of talented receivers Batman.

There was, Brown, the “swole” Batman who had five catches for 69 yards; DeVonta Smith was the “skinny” Batman who had seven for 80 yards; and Watkins was the “fast” Batman who had the burners on for the easy score (and 69 yards receiving).

Why are they all Batman?

“No Robins. We’ve got no sidekicks,” Slay said.

Hurts had one more play for the highlight reel with just under two minutes left in the first half. Hurts rolled to his right and scampered toward the end zone. He dragged two defenders with him, lowered his head and muscled his way in for a 26-yard touchdown that sent the crowd into a frenzy.

Jake Elliott kicked a 38-yarder and the Eagles took a 24-7 lead into halftime.

In a Week 2 full of improbable comebacks, perhaps it wasn’t wise to totally count out the Vikings.

But Cousins and wide receiver Justin Jefferson — famously passed over by the Eagles in the 2020 draft — never got anything going of substance against the Eagles and maligned defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon. Slay had his second interception of the game in the fourth quarter as the scoreboard soon flashed “Big Play Slay.”

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Hurts had 50 yards rushing and 251 yards passing in the first half. Cousins finished the game 27 for 46 for 221 yards and three interceptions. Jefferson had six catches for 48 yards a week after he had 184 yards receiving and two TDs in a win against Green Bay.

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