Faith, Family and Teammates Propel Resurgence of Titans QB Ryan Tannehill


NASHVILLE – Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill is back in the saddle, and back in the spotlight.

On Wednesday, Tannehill was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Raiders. He currently leads the NFL in passer rating, and he's also become one of the hottest topics in the NFL in recent weeks because of his personal success, and the success of the Titans.

ESPN sent a second reporter to town on Wednesday to feature Tannehill leading up to Sunday's key AFC South division game against the Texans.

"It's definitely an honor," Tannehill said of the award. "It doesn't happen a whole lot, so it's definitely an honor, but I think it's a reflection on our whole group and how we've played as a whole. Like I said after the game, guys around me played extremely well, the offensive line was doing a great job of keeping me clean and guys making plays downfield. Like I said, Derrick (Henry)'s been running the ball hard all year. It opens up a lot of things for us. Guys are making plays outside."

Tannehill has also made plenty of plays himself, of course, and it's one of the reasons why his comeback story has been so intriguing.

When the Titans traded for Tannehill back in March, even Tannehill wasn't sure how things would work out. He'd spent his first seven seasons in the NFL as a starter with the Miami Dolphins, and initial plans for him in Tennessee centered on him being Marcus Mariota's back-up.

Plenty has changed in the past nine months, especially since October.

"I didn't know how it was going to play out," said Tannehill, who completed 21-of-27 passes for 391 yards with three touchdown passes and a passer rating of 140.4 in the team's 42-21 win over the Raiders. "I didn't know where I was going to end up and ended up here. I was excited about the opportunity. Like I said, didn't know how it was going to go, or if/when I was going to get an opportunity, but just wanted to make the best of it. I'm not a big guy on trying to forecast the future or anything, it's more of trying to handle what's right in front of you and be the best you can every single day."

On Wednesday, Tannehill complimented Mariota for how he's handled the situation.

Tannehill is 6-1 since taking over as the team's starting quarterback, and his passer rating of 118.5 on the season leads all NFL quarterbacks. Tannehill has posted a passer rating of 100-plus in six of those contests and 130-plus in four of those games. The Titans were 2-4 with Mariota as the starter.

"Marcus is huge (for me)," Tannehill said. "Obviously, it is a difficult situation for him. A ton of respect for Marcus and not only what he's done in his football career, but the person that he is each and every day. Like I said, tough situation for him, but he's been nothing but professional throughout the whole process. He's been supportive. I've been able to just talk through things on game day, during the week. He helps me with watching the tape. I think he does everything he can possibly do to help me and this team along, which says a lot about his character as a person being in that tough situation."

Tannehill also gave credit to others around him, from his family to his teammates.

He said he's relied on his faith during the course of his career.

"My faith is huge to me," he said. "I don't know if it's one particular verse or anything like that, but my faith is huge. I've leaned on that constantly throughout my life, through the ups and the downs, the lows and the highs. A lot of things change, but God doesn't change. He's always there for me. My family has been great. My wife has been supportive since the day I met her.

"Just the ups and the downs, and everything we've been through. I'm thankful for the way my parents raised me and just instilling some values in me that I think helped carry me to this day. There's constantly a group of people – my teammates supporting me throughout the whole process. It was constantly a group of people that help anybody in that locker room. There's going to be a different group of people, but each person is going to have a support system that's going to be there for them."

Tannehill, of course, now just wants to keep things going.

In Sunday's win against the Raiders, Tannehill joined Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (three games in 2011) as the only players to complete at least 75 percent of their passes with a passer rating of 130 or higher (minimum 10 attempts) in three consecutive games in a single season in NFL history.

Tannehill also joined Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (five games in 2015) as the only players with four consecutive games with at least two passing touchdowns and a passer rating of 125 or higher in NFL history.

On Sunday, the Titans and Texans, both 8-5, will battle for first place at Nissan Stadium.

"I think we're just progressing," Tannehill said. "I keep saying every week, we're on the right track. We're doing some good things. We're getting better as the season goes on, which is what you want to see. You want to be playing your best football deep into December, hopefully into January. I think that's what the best teams do is find a way to get better as the season goes on and play their best football at the end of the year. So, we're on the right track, we just have to keep doing it. Keep the little things that are going right for us, keep those going well. Then, the areas where we can improve, clean those up.

"I feel great. I'm excited about the opportunity in front of us here against the Texans. I feel great with what we have and the guys that we're doing it with. Like I said, we just need to keep doing it the way we're doing it and getting a little better every week."

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