Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been one of the few constants on a Tennessee Titans team ravaged by injuries and positive COVID-19 tests this season. Tennessee has used 88 players, the most ever in a non-strike season.
Yet, Sunday’s 34-3 victory over Tannehill’s former team — the Miami Dolphins — clinched a second consecutive AFC South title for Tennessee and put the team in position to be the No. 1 playoff seed in the AFC. Tannehill threw a touchdown pass in both halves and finished the game 13-of-18 for 120 yards.
"We're a resilient group… We keep finding a way to win games. At the end of the day, that's why we're here.
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) January 2, 2022
In his postgame press conference, Tannehill praised his team’s resiliency despite being without star running back Derrick Henry, as well as wide receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Brown for extended stretches.
“I’m proud of our guys, the way we’ve battled through,” Tannehill said. “Been in some tough situations and found a way to win games when we were shorthanded. If you’re able to do that and just continue to find a way to win games, you put yourself in a situation like we’re in now to control your own destiny.”
Drafted eighth overall by the Dolphins in 2012, Tannehill played in 88 games across six seasons in Miami, but never made the playoffs. He started every game his first four years and threw at least 24 touchdown passes in three straight seasons from 2013-2015.
Sunday was the first time he had faced the Dolphins since being traded to Tennessee prior to the 2019 season.
“Focusing on ourselves and what we have in front of us,” Tannehill told ESPN about facing his former team. “I am thankful for my time in Miami. That was a special time of my life. I grew a lot there as a person and as a player.”
Tennessee led 17-3 at halftime and did not score again until Tannehill connected with tight end Anthony Firkser on a 15-yard touchdown midway through the fourth quarter to help put the game away.
Firkser Football 😍
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 2, 2022
The 33-year-old is now 29-13 since taking over as the Titans’ starting quarterback in Week 7 of the 2019 season, and he’s helped lead the team to the playoffs every year. He signed a four-year, $118 million contract in March 2020 to remain in Tennessee long-term.
Since Tannehill’s arrival, the Titans have been one of the most consistent teams in the NFL thanks in part to the leadership he’s provided. He is well aware of the impact he can have on his teammates as someone who is unashamed about his faith in God.
“I’ve always kind of viewed the locker room as my mission field,” he said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in 2020. “Wherever God calls you, that’s where God calls you to be a missionary for God and impact the lives around you. Everybody has their own way of doing that, and I think first and foremost you gotta live it out.”
Throughout his career, Tannehill has leaned on his faith. In 2018, Tannehill discussed the importance of prayer in his life and how it helps him stay connected to God in an interview with Sports Spectrum.
“I pray before every game,” he said. “I spend time with God in the morning before I get to the stadium and then when I lace up my cleats, I thank God for the opportunity to go out there and attempt to glorify Him.”
The Titans travel to Houston for their final regular-season game at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday. A win ensures they will be the top seed in the AFC for the playoffs.
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