NASHVILLE – During the course of his NFL career, Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has earned his stripes – and plenty of bruises.
On Sunday, in the team's win over the Jaguars, Tannehill earned even more field cred with his teammates when he stood in the pocket and took a big hit while lofting a touchdown throw to receiver Adam Humphries.
It was what Tannehill said as he delivered the pass – "And One" – that got the attention of his teammates. The "And One," of course, is basketball lingo a player uses after making his shot while being fouled.
"That was bad a$$," Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan said of Tannehill's reaction. "That was cool. I was right there, and I didn't watch Hump score, I watched Tannehill and his reaction, and he was kind of looking, looking and gave the "And One." It was solid, man, it was pretty cool. We have a lot of confidence in Ryan, and Ryan has a lot of confidence in us the way he stands on the pocket."
Lewan called Tannehill one of the toughest quarterbacks he's been around.
"It's pretty incredible," Lewan said. "The pass to Hump, a guy right in his face and to throw a ball like that, no flinch at all. I'm not a quarterback, so I've never been in a position to be taking a hit while throwing the ball.
"But Tannehill is as tough as they come, man. He's been doing a great job. He's been sitting in there, stepping up there in the pocket, getting the ball out, helping the offensive line out. … Tannehill I think is one of the tougher ones I've ever seen as far as not flinching, and making the right throws."
The Titans face the Vikings on Sunday in Minneapolis.
After Sunday's game at Nissan Stadium, it was guard Rodger Saffold who let everyone in on the secret of Tannehill's "And One" comment.
He wasn't surprised.
"Once he gets his number called, being able to make really big-time contested throws," Saffold said of Tannehill. "He was able to do that. He threw that ball where he got hit in the chest, and he's probably going to get mad that I said this, but he got up and he said, 'And One.' I mean, that's what you want to hear out of your quarterback. You want to hear that competitive nature coming from him so we can constantly see him improve and succeed."
Tannehill has been on fire early so far for the Titans.
A year after leading the NFL in passer rating in 2019, Tannehill has completed 70 percent of his passes so far this year, with six touchdowns and no interceptions. He completed 18-of-24 passes for 239 yards and four touchdowns against the Jaguars.
When Tannehill barreled into the end zone and through contact on a run in a regular season win over the Chiefs a year ago, he perhaps showed Titans fans what he's all about when it comes to toughness.
During a conference call on Wednesday, Tannehill said, "I was just out there having fun" when asked about his "And One" line.
"I don't really do it for a reaction or anything," he explained. "It's just me being myself, trying to lead, and having fun and making plays. And I'm going to continue to do that."
Tannehill said he's always been competitive.
With a smile, he admitted he has "scars all over" his body after nine NFL seasons.
"I didn't play Pop Warner, but I was constantly in sports – soccer, basketball, baseball – and I've always had the desire to win," Tannehill said. "Whatever it is, if it's a race down the street with my friends growing up, or playing in a game, I've always loved winning and I've always loved competing. So that fire still burns today."