The Tennessee Titans’ “Comeback Kid,” Ryan Tannehill, has a lot of coming back to do after his poor performance these past four weeks. 

After starting the season with an average completion percentage of 70.55% through the first five weeks, that same stat fell to a disappointing 55.79% during this past four-game stretch. To put things into perspective, Tannehill’s completion percentage was at an impressive 69.90% through the first four games of this season. 

Before this recent slump, the quarterback was living up to the same expectations he had set last year. Through the twelve games Tannehill played in the 2019 regular season, he held a 117.50 average passer rating, the highest in the league. In the first five games of this season, the quarterback stayed true to his accuracy, racking up an average rating of 114.86. During the past four games, he has surprisingly struggled in this area, accumulating a mere average of 96.5. 

What’s to Blame for Tannehill’s Struggles?

Sep 20, 2020; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) celebrates after throwing a touchdown pass to Tennessee Titans wide receiver Adam Humphries (10) during the second half at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

So, what’s to blame for the 2019 Comeback Player of the Year’s production woes? Spectators are used to seeing Tannehill thread the needle to AJ Brown and company, but that certainly was not the case this past Thursday against the Colts. 

While behind center, Tennessee’s QB1 was only able to pass for nine first downs. In comparison, Phillip Rivers completed eleven. Against the Bears, Tannehill passed for seven first downs as opposed to Nick Foles’s seventeen, and the Titans QB completed only eight first downs against the Steelers. A definitive characteristic of Tannehill’s game that seems to be missing lately is his soaring passes for large gains, resulting in fewer conversions and points scored. The quarterback is settling for much quicker tosses, and his game seems rushed. 

Even though he has limited himself to one interception these last four matchups, there has been a ton of close calls. Batted passes, dropped potential interceptions, and frantic throwaways for would-be sacks have made up the bulk of the QB’s reps.

One thing is for sure: if Tannehill expects to start looking like himself again, he’s going to need some help from his squad. He has certainly dug himself in a rut, but dropped passes have been an issue too. One of his incompletions meant for AJ Brown in the first quarter against the Colts actually could have been a complete game-changer for the team. Tannehill placed the pigskin right into Brown’s breadbasket while he was wide-open down the stretch, making this play one of the key reasons why the Titans eventually lost the game. 

Injuries sustained by Taylor Lewan in Week 6 and Adam Humphries in Week 8 are also proving to be costly to Tannehill, too. Since Lewan was carted off the field, the quarterback has endured nine sacks in total and many more close calls. While Adam Humphries isn’t necessarily Tannehill’s number one man, both players’ absences have also contributed to more three and outs and less time of possession for the team as a whole. In fact, the Titans have had significantly less time with the ball than their opponents for all of their last four games. While a whole array of things contribute to the blame of this (especially the defense’s inability to make plays that bolster the offenses’ momentum), Tannehill’s inability to convert is definitely one of the top offenders.

Moving forward, Tannehill needs to be able to rediscover his calm and collected playing style, and he can only do this with the help of his teammates and coaches.

Featured Image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports.
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