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Diggs scores 3 TDs for Bills in 41-7 rout of Titans

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 on 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 entire 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.

“When we execute, how we know we’re supposed to execute, success typically leads to success,” Allen said. “We’re just trying to be the best version of ourselves.”

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.

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 2-yard plunge.

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“We got our (butts) kicked, plain and simple,” coach Mike Vrabel said after the most lopsided loss in his four-plus seasons coaching the Titans.

“They outplayed us and they outcoached us, and that’s the definition of it. We’re going to go back to work and try to figure out how to win a football game.”

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 valuation. The Bills stated Jackson had full movement in his limbs.

Coach Sean McDermott stated Jackson was still awaiting test results.

The entire Bills team gathered around Jackson as he was loaded into an ambulance on the field.

“You go from being a coach to just a human. That’s a real moment,” McDermott said. “Just praying for him. It’s an unfortunate situation.”

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 loss 34-31 loss in which Buffalo squandered a seven-point fourth-quarter lead, the Bills scored on their opening drive and never looked back.

“When you can play a game like that, it doesn’t matter who it’s against,” Allen said. “That’s a good team that we played. It’s a very well-coached team. For us to go do that was great.”

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 4-yard touchdown with a minute left 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.

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 concluded 11 of 20 for 117 yards and was benched following 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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Chiefs resigning DT Mike Pennel, FB Anthony Sherman

The Kansas City Chiefs are reportedly bringing back two members of their Super Bowl-winning team.

Defensive tackle Mike Pennel is returning to Kansas City on a one-year deal, NFL Network reported Tuesday. The Chiefs also are bringing back fullback Anthony Sherman on a one-year deal.

Pennel, who turns 29 on May 9, was a pleasant surprise for the Chiefs after they signed him as a free agent in the middle of the 2019 season. The team’s run defense improved significantly after he became part of the playing rotation for the final eight matches.

Pennel started in the Chiefs’ first two playoff games and was a backup in Super Bowl LIV, where he contributed to an interception with his hit on 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the second quarter.

Before joining the Chiefs, Pennel played three campaigns with the Green Bay Packers and two with the New York Jets.

He started 15 of the 69 games in which he played, and he has 126 career tackles with two sacks and a forced fumble.

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Sherman saw his role with the Chiefs decline again last campaign, when he was in the lineup on just 9% of the snaps and got the ball just six times. The Chiefs, however, continued to see value in Sherman, who was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals shortly after Andy Reid was hired as head coach in 2013.

Sherman, who turned 31 in December, threw the key block on Damien Williams’ 38-yard touchdown run that clinched Super Bowl LIV for the Chiefs.

He was a special-teams regular who finished tied for second on that unit with eight tackles last season.

Over nine NFL seasons, Sherman has rushed for 65 yards and a touchdown, which came during the 2017 campaign. He also has 65 career receptions for 547 yards and three touchdowns.

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