Titans vs. Bills, Week 7: 'Abysmal' defense costs Buffalo victory

The Buffalo Bills lost late, as Matt Hasselbeck tossed a touchdown with just over a minute remaining to give the Tennessee Titans a 35-34 win.

The problem for the Bills came on the defense. Buffalo allowed a team without its starting quarterback, Jake Locker, to run and pass with little resistance. The result: 35 points, almost 200 yards on the ground for Chris Johnson, and a one-point loss in a shootout. Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings detailed the team's disappointing performance on the defensive side of the ball in his postgame recap.

While there will undoubtedly be focus on Fitzpatrick's late-game mishaps - the interception set up the go-ahead score for Tennessee - the much, much, much bigger letdown for the team was its horrific defense. The Titans ran for 197 yards (195 of them coming from Chris Johnson, highlighted by an 83-yard touchdown), got another 205 from Matt Hasselbeck and the passing attack, and threw up five touchdowns on the board. Four of those touchdowns came against the pathetic run defense, and Hasselbeck's lone passing touchdown to Nate Washington put the Titans ahead for good with less than two minutes remaining. Tennessee punted three times all day.

On the plus side, Buffalo was clicking when they had the ball. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a good game, save a late-game interception that gave the Titans with the ball for their game-winning drive, and the ground game was solid. That served as little consolation for fans who saw their team get gashed on the other side of the ball.

We can talk about all of Buffalo's various ailments at length - we have, and we will - but at this point, the root of the team's problem is clearly the defense. Teams with a defense this bad can only hope to be competitive on Sundays. They're certainly not playoff-caliber.

At 3-4, the Bills are only a game behind the New England Patriots for the AFC East lead, although they've been crushed in both of their divisional matchups thus far. They're on bye next week before returning against the strong Houston Texans.

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