The Tennessee Titans placed quarterback Ryan Tannehill on injured reserve, most likely ending his season.
Tannehill underwent tightrope surgery on his ankle last week. He had hoped to play Week 18 in a pivotal game against the Jacksonville Jaguars for the AFC South title, but will sit on the sidelines instead.
The 34-year-old was injured during the Titans’ Week 15 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers, which couldn’t have come at a worse time. Tennessee seemed destined to take the AFC South crown again until losing three in a row.
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“Whatever was the highest rating on the pain scale, that was it,” Tannehill said when discussing the level of discomfort he felt during the game against Los Angeles. Tannehill was carried off the field before returning.
Tannehill left the game early against the Chargers and the Titans ultimately lost, 17-14, bringing the losing streak to four.
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At the same time, the Jaguars were riding a winning streak and the divisional race was drawing closer.
Now, it will be up to rookie Malik Willis, who has struggled to transition to the NFL and lead Tennessee’s offense, or newcomer Josh Dobbs, who will start against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night.
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Dobbs was acquired just eight days ago by the Titans, and head coach Mike Vrabel will see what he’s got because either Dobbs or Willis will start the Week 18 contest in Jacksonville to determine who goes to the playoffs.
Tannehill has had a career resurgence during his time in Nashville. He was named the NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2019, the same year he led the league in passer rating and earned a Pro Bowl berth for the first time.
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But Tannehill hasn’t played at the same level this season, averaging 211.3 passing yards per game and throwing for 13 touchdowns. Those numbers could be due in part to the departure of Tannehill’s top target, AJ Brown, who was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles.