The Tennessee Titans finally had their letdown game in a loss to the Houston Texans in Week 11. It doesn’t take film study to know that five turnovers by the Titans’ offense was the biggest reason for the 22-13 loss, which means it isn’t why the Titans lost that is the biggest question, but rather how they did it.
The easy answer apparently is to dump on Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill. There are crowds of people ready to put him back in the same box they had him in while he played in Miami, and ready to completely ignore everything he’s done for the Titans over the last few seasons and slide him back into the analysis that he was branded with during his Miami Dolphins tenure.
The reality is Tannehill is not the issue right now, but he is not without blame. Tannehill has dealt with a horrific pass protection; the offensive line is in the bottom four in both pass-blocking grade per, Pro Football Focus, and total sacks allowed at 31.
Tannehill is without his partner and arguably the NFL’s MVP through Week 9, Derrick Henry, during the Titans’ revival. Finally, to triple down on the collapse of everything around Tannehill, the wide receiver unit has been decimated with injury.
A.J. Brown has been in and out of games all year and rarely looked healthy. Julio Jones and Marcus Johnson have played seven games or less. This is in addition to Cam Batson tearing his ACL earlier in the season and Josh Reynolds falling out with the team, leading to his subsequent release.
At one point against the Texans, the Titans’ offense was missing its top three wide receivers (Brown, Jones, Johnson), top tight end (Geoff Swaim), and top three running backs (Henry, Jeremy McNichols, Darrynton Evans).
This is not meant to be an excuse for Tannehill. He made his fair share of mistakes Sunday, but this injury context is needed to properly evaluate what happened, as is additional context from the tape.
So, as we do every week, let’s step into the film and see exactly what happened on Tannehill’s four interception.