Matt Hasselbeck has another fourth-quarter comeback victory, and Chris Johnson finally enjoyed the breakout game he’s been seeking all season.
Hasselbeck hit Nate Washington for a 15-yard touchdown pass on fourth down with 1:03 left in a wild and wacky 35-34 win over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
And in a game dominated by offense, it was the Titans defense that set up the decisive drive with cornerback Jason McCourty intercepting Ryan Fitzpatrick’s pass at midfield with under 3 minutes left.
Hasselbeck secured the win with the Titans facing fourth-and-9 by dropping a pass just over the shoulder of Washington, who had a step on Justin Rogers in the end zone. It was Hasselbeck’s 22nd fourth-quarter comeback win and second in consecutive weeks after he rallied the Titans to a 26-23 win over Pittsburgh on Oct. 11.
The Titans (3-4) have now won two straight with Hasselbeck replacing injured starter Jake Locker and won their first road game after three consecutive losses.
The Bills (3-4) have lost three of their past four while stumbling into their bye week.
Johnson led the charge with 195 yards rushing and two scores. He came into the game with 301 yards rushing and no scores, and continued his domination of the Bills. In three games against Buffalo, he’s combined for 480 yards rushing and six touchdowns.
Titans backup running back Jamie Harper also scored twice, both on 1-yard plunges.
Fitzpatrick finished 27 of 35 for 225 yards and three scores, but turned the ball over twice, including a lost fumble.
The Bills final drive sputtered with Fitzpatrick failing to produce a first down. It ended with Fitzpatrick throwing behind Stevie Johnson on fourth-and-2.
Both of Fitzpatrick’s turnovers led to Titans touchdowns. Fitzpatrick had given the Bills their first and only lead with 5 seconds left in the third quarter, when he hit Johnson for a 27-yard touchdown pass.
Buffalo’s defense then responded by stopping the Titans on each of their next two possessions, including Bryan Scott breaking up a pass intended for Jared Cook to stop the Titans on fourth-and-5 with under 4 minutes left.
The Bills took over at their own 36, with Fitzpatrick’s interception coming while trying to thread a pass to Donald Jones on third-and-7.
Fred Jackson had 71 yards rushing and 49 yards receiving and a touchdown. Brad Smith scored on an 89-yard kickoff return and Donald Jones also scored on a 15-yard pass.
The game started off like a track meet with two of the NFL’s most porous defenses unable to stop the offenses. The first-half ended with the Titans up 21-20. The teams combined for 474 yards (the Titans had 260), 25 first downs (the Bills had 13) and produced scores on all but one possession. Tennessee was stopped at the Buffalo 44 on its fourth possession.
The scoring came so fast, there were three touchdowns in a span of 30 seconds. It’s a stretch that began with Fitzpatrick hitting Jackson for a 3-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7. The Titans scored on their first play from scrimmage on Johnson’s 83-yard run. And the Bills responded with Smith’s 89-yard kickoff return.
It was the shortest three-score span since the Raiders and Patriots scored three times in 26 seconds on Dec. 14, 2008, according to STATS LLC.
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