It seemed preposterous — the Tennessee Titans signing quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a four-year extension worth $118 million this offseason.
But even the most previously inconsistent of quarterbacks (as we all knew Tannehill to be over six years with the Miami Dolphins) can have their day — and sometimes that only finally happens when they find the system that fits them perfectly.
It’s safe to say the one in Tennessee fits Tannehill like a glove, and he earned the award of NFL Comeback Player of the Year for a reason. In 2019, he recorded an NFL-best 117.5 passer rating, a 70.3 completion percentage, an NFL-high 9.6 yards per attempt, and a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 22:6 by the end of the regular season — all career-highs.
Since he’s been with the Titans, Tannehill has completed 69.9% of his passes for 3,746 yards with 31 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
In 2020, Tannehill has completed 68.9% of his passes for 1,004 yards with nine touchdowns and one interception, with his leadership ability factoring into the Titans’ 4-0 record in a big way. His 110.8 passer rating is good for fifth-best among NFL quarterbacks.
How good has Ryan Tannehill been since becoming Titans starter?
*14 starts w/Ten *Last 14 starts
11-3 Record 11-3
3,602 Pass Yds 3,674
31/6 TD/INT 28/6
116.7 Rating 102.3 pic.twitter.com/5Lzuz2deec
— NFLonCBS (@NFLonCBS) October 14, 2020
His touch in the red-zone has been a key part of both Tannehill and the offense’s success. Since he was named the starter in Week 7 of last season, the Titans have scored a touchdown on 47 of their 55 red-zone trips. That’s good for an 85.5% touchdown rate over 17 games.
Tannehill’s latest win came in a dominant 42-16 victory over a previously undefeated Bills team, which marked one of his strongest personal performances to date, despite all of the COVID-19 related concerns that made it rough going for the Titans ahead of the previously postponed contest.
“What this team, what this organization has been through over the past couple weeks, to really fight through that, shake it all off, really limited practice, limited reps, and go out and put this kind of win together, I think it makes a statement,” he said after the game. “I’m happy. I’m happy that we were able to do that today.”
The film is more important than numbers, but the numbers back up Tannehill’s on-the-field success in this case. They’re not skewed by an elite stable of weapons or some other factor that causes the stats sheet to tell a different story than his actual performances on Sundays.
It’s all him, and he performs at a high level consistently. Tannehill looks comfortable running this offense, poised in the pocket, accurate, and has shown the ability to make plays and evade pressure when needed, recording 262 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground in Tennessee.
It will be interesting to see how Tannehill can build upon his success this year as he remains a part of the NFL MVP conversation, starting with Sunday’s matchup against the division rival Houston Texans.