The Tennessee Titans’ 2019 playoff run was one of the best stories in the NFL last season — despite the fact Tennessee didn’t receive much attention from the national media until they reached the AFC Championship game.
After six games the Titans were 2-4 and they benched their starting quarterback. Not many teams are able to recover in that situation and make a run. But that’s exactly what Tennessee did. And they did it with Ryan Tannehill, a quarterback who was essentially discarded by the Miami Dolphins.
The Titans’ incredible run included three straight wins on the road to get to the AFC Championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Tennessee won at Houston in week 17 to clinch a spot, and then took down the New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens, before falling to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.
The loss to the Chiefs — the eventual Super Bowl champions — is no reason for the Titans to hang their heads. Anything goes in the AFC Championship game and the Chiefs were essentially a buzzsaw at that point.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel recently appeared on Pardon My Take and he offered an explanation for why the Titans didn’t reach the Super Bowl. And it had nothing to do with how they played in the playoffs.
That’s a tough road to go down. Essentially four road playoff games. That’s not the recipe to win a championship. We’re going to have to play well enough during the season to be able to host some of those games.
Vrabel is absolutely right. The Titans were a Super Bowl caliber team by the end of the year, but playing on the road in four straight important games took its toll on the team.
Only four teams in NFL history have won three straight road games in the playoffs to reach the Super Bowl (85 Patriots, 05 Steelers, 07 Giants 10 Packers). It’s certainly not an efficient route to hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.
The Titans have a team in place that should be threat to win it all in 2020. They just can’t get off to a slow start again next season.
Of course, it would help to know who will be under center for the Titans next year. If it’s Tannehill, perhaps Tennessee can continue their momentum from the end of the 2019 season and lock up a home game or two in the playoffs.
Featured image via Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports/Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports