Flashback Friday: Tennessee Titans beat Buffalo Bills in miraculous fashion

Kevin Dyson, Tennessee Titans (Photo by Allen Kee/Getty Images)
Kevin Dyson, Tennessee Titans (Photo by Allen Kee/Getty Images) /

After drudging through a win against Jacksonville in Week 5, the Tennessee Titans face Super Bowl contenders the Buffalo Bills in a high-octane matchup.

Both Tennessee and Buffalo lead their respective divisions, but the Bills are just coming off a dominant victory against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The good news is that Julio Jones is practicing again, but the bad news is that…well, they’re playing the Bills.

If the Titans are in need of a bit of motivation, though, they need only look back 20 years ago to the Music City Miracle.

In January of 2000, Tennessee faced Buffalo in an AFC Wild Card playoff game. In the final quarter, trailing by a point with 16 seconds left in the game, the Titans’ special teams unit executed one of the most memorable plays in team and league history.

On a high kickoff return, Tennessee fullback Lorenzo Neal fielded the ball and handed it directly to tight end Frank Wycheck who drew Bills defenders to the right side of the field, then threw the ball laterally to wide receiver Kevin Dyson, effectively catching every defender out of position.

Dyson ran 75 yards down the sideline to the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown.

Developed by special teams coordinator Alan Lowry, the play, named the “Home Run Throwback,” helped the Titans achieve an improbable 22-16 win against Buffalo.

One of the greatest plays in Tennessee Titans history was against the Buffalo Bills in 2000

The Titans won that day in front of a franchise-record crowd in Nashville, and they would go on to beat the Colts and Jaguars to face the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV. As famous as the “Music City Miracle” became, the “The Tackle” on the final play versus the Rams on that night infamously spoiled Tennessee’s chances of winning its first Super Bowl.

But to return to the “Miracle,” Tennessee’s Wild-Card victory over the Bills marked the start of Buffalo’s 17-year playoff drought, the longest active drought in the NFL at the time. Could the Titans be the Bills’ bad luck charm?

In 2021, the Titans will need a few tricks up their sleeves to pull off yet another improbable win against Josh Allen‘s Bills, who lead the league in points scored and have allowed the fewest points.

Of course, the Tennessee Titans look radically different two decades later with rushing king Derrick Henry controlling the running game and receiving talents A.J. Brown and Julio Jones spreading out the passing offense.

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Yet the odds are still as stacked against the Titans, who had a few scares in the Jacksonville game in Week 5 and lost to the lowly New York Jets before that. Tennessee desperately needs a boost in team morale and a relishing win this season. Against this Buffalo team, they might even need — dare we say it — a miracle.