titans go as far as ryan tannehill

#Titans #Ryan #Tannehill

As the playoffs approach, the Titans will only go as far as QB Ryan Tannehill can take them.

The Titans let a golden opportunity to make it to the Super Bowl slip through their grasp last year as the top seed in the AFC, flaming out against the Cincinnati Bengals, 19-16. Tannehill had a disastrous outing.

Tennessee (7-4) had a chance at retribution last Sunday, but Bengals QB Joe Burrow outdueled Tannehill in a 20-16 Cincinnati win.

Last weekend wasn’t as horrific for Tannehill as the playoff loss from a season ago when he went 15-of-24 for 220 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions. In fact, the Titans QB has been solid since missing two games with an ankle injury. Since Week 10, Tannehill is 63-of-97 for 879 yards and four touchdowns with one interception.

This Sunday, the team travels to Philadelphia (10-1) to face the team with the best record in football. The Eagles’ biggest weakness is its run defense, but the team made a couple of key free-agent signings last month by coming to terms with defensive linemen Linval Joseph and Ndamukong Suh. The Titans pose the biggest test for the Eagles defensive front this season.

Running back Derrick Henry has 247 carries for 1,048 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also has 21 receptions for 278 yards.

It doesn’t take much of a leap to expect the Titans to exploit the mismatch up front while the Eagles will do everything it can to make Henry a nonfactor. As common as it is to hear the expression “establish the run,” Tannehill will have to establish the pass so the Eagles can’t go all-out in stopping Henry.

That could be where the two teams’ draft day trade this past offseason comes back to haunt the Titans. During the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the Titans and Eagles agreed to a deal that sent wide receiver A.J. Brown to Philadelphia for two draft picks, including the No. 18 overall pick. (h/t Pro Sports Reference) 

Brown has been just what the Eagles needed, seamlessly fitting into the offense as the team’s No. 1 wide receiver. He leads the Eagles in targets (86), receiving yards (831), and touchdowns (seven). He’s second to DeVonta Smith in receptions, 53 to Smith’s 56.

Tennessee didn’t find a facsimile of Brown’s production in free agent acquisition Robert Woods; he leads the team with 32 receptions for 351 yards. Backup running back Dontrell Hilliard has the most receiving touchdowns (four) of anyone on the team. 

The Titans drafted wide receiver Treylon Burks with the first-round pick acquired in the Brown trade. After a slow start, he’s come on strong in his past three games. He suffered a toe injury in Week 4 and returned in Week 10, the same week as Tannehill. Since then, Burks has had 14 receptions for 205 yards.

Tennessee’s offense revolves around Henry, and rightfully so, but unless Tannehill holds up his end of the bargain, the Titans will fall out of orbit.

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