The Titans needed another bounce back game today in Denver, but they didn’t find it. Things got really interesting in the second half as a struggling Marcus Mariota was pulled for Ryan Tannehill. Through six games, Tennessee now sits at 2-4 — and there’s not much hope around these parts right now.
If you missed the first half of this one, well, congratulations! You didn’t miss much at all. Both teams struggled to get going offensively today in Denver — Marcus Mariota, in particular. The inconsistent quarterback for Tennessee started off ice cold, missing routine short throws and dump-offs to Derrick Henry.
Mariota struggled within the pocket, allowing the Broncos to close in and put up three first half sacks. For reference, Denver had five sacks all year entering this one.
The Titans were blanked in the first half, putting forth a truly embarrassing effort for the second consecutive week. With no threat of a passing attack, Derrick Henry was completely shut down in the first half.
To make everything worse, Mariota tossed an interception with under a minute to play before the break. He finished the half 7-15 for 63 yards. Would that be enough to see Ryan Tannehill in the second half?
Down 6-0, Mike Vrabel opted to stick with Mariota.
Kevin Byard got the Titans off and running in the second half with a spark, grabbing an interception off of Noah Fant’s back. What would the Titans do with it? Yet another three and out.
After another stop from the Titans’ defense, Mariota tossed another interception. This was was under pressure and totally careless, putting the defense in a tough spot after they had just come off of the field.
The Broncos finally found the endzone, extending their lead to 13-0 after a Phillip Lindsay touchdown.
Vrabel had seen enough. Ryan Tannehill entered the game for Mariota with 4:49 left in the third quarter.
After appearing to have something cooking with a big play to A.J. Brown, the rookie receiver was called for offensive pass interference back at the line of scrimmage. That penalty voided the big gain and forced another Brett Kern punt.
Another stop gave Tannehill his second drive of the day. He found Corey Davis to cross midfield for just the second time all day. A sack and a delay of game would set up third and long, which fell incomplete.
Kern marched onto the field for the ninth time, punting back to Denver with 12 minutes left in the game. He pinned the Broncos deep, flipping the field position game in the Titans’ favor.
A Denver punt from the back of the endzone put Tannehill in business at the Broncos’ 35. Tannehill got things moving with Corey Davis, cracking the redzone. The Titans got it to the 12 yard line, but Derrick Henry was stuffed on the next play, setting up third and three. Tannehill’s pass fell incomplete there, bringing us to fourth down.
Tannehill stood in the pocket, climbed, shuffled and went down on the next play. Denver got to the quarterback one more time, grabbing the ball back and essentially ending this one with under nine minutes to play.
Phillip Lindsay bounced a run out wide to flip the field back in favor of the Broncos and Brandon McManus drilled another field goal to bring the Denver lead to 16-0.
That was that.
The Titans are now 2-4. You’ve now benched Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill. Where do you go from here? With the season feeling like it’s slipping away, it should be an interesting week in Nashville for Mike Vrabel.