NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Coming off a three-interception performance and arguably one of the worst outings of his career in a Week 1 loss to the New Orleans Saints, Week 2 couldn't come fast enough for Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers didn't get off to a very different start, as Tannehill had just 11 passing yards in the first quarter, his second-fewest in a first quarter since the start of 2022. But thanks to a second-quarter turnaround and eventual 27-24 overtime win, Tannehill made it clear he is still QB1 in Nashville.
The Chargers sacked Tannehill two times before midway through the second quarter when he uncorked a deep play-action pass that dropped perfectly into wide receiver Treylon Burks' hands for a 70-yard completion. Running Back Derrick Henry punched it in for a 1-yard touchdown two plays later.
"I told Tanny, ‘Man, you're our quarterback, and I believe in you. We’ve got your back,'" Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons said after the game.
Tannehill hung in the pocket, staring down the barrel of the Chargers' blitz-heavy defense and delivered the ball to his receivers. He drew two roughing the passer calls, one of which came on a third down when Tannehill found receiver DeAndre Hopkins for a 7-yard gain to move the chains despite Chargers linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr.'s direct hit to his face.
"That's what Ryan's done," coach Mike Vrabel said. "He's one of the tougher players on our team. He stood in there and got the s--- knocked out of him a couple times late. I respect the heck out of it, and he kept battling."
Tannehill was 20 of 24 passing for 246 yards and one touchdown. He saw a lot more success off of play-action, going 7-for-9 for 168 yards and one touchdown. Against the Saints, he was 3-of-10 for 65 yards and an interception on such throws, according to ESPN's Stats & Information. Equally as important? The Titans didn't turn the football over.
Henry knew Tannehill was going to respond well because the quarterback worked hard all week. Henry felt "high energy" from his QB.
Tannehill said watching last week's film made him sick to his stomach, so getting support gave him a boost.
"It means a lot," Tannehill said. "I knew I was going to bounce back this week, but it's nice to feel that support from your teammates throughout the week."
After failing to score a touchdown in three red-zone visits against the Saints, Tennessee found the end zone on three of four times inside the 20-yard line this week. One of those touchdowns came on a 12-yard run by Tannehill on an option play. Another came on a play-action pass to receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine for a 4-yard score.
The Titans' confidence in Tannehill paid off when it mattered the most. Tannehill's 34 passing yards on the team's final drive accounted for almost all the 37 yards Tennessee gained on the possession. A well-placed strike from Tannehill to Hopkins while rolling out got the Titans to the Chargers' 23-yard line. Nick Folk came on to kick a 41-yard field goal to give the Titans an overtime win a few plays later.
The defense had Tannehill's back, as Simmons put it. Tennessee forced the Chargers to punt the ball after three quick plays in overtime, and the offense was able to answer the call.
"That's a hell of a job to go down, on a drive, and get a field goal at the end," Simmons said.