NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ryan Tannehill got up, then quickly realized he couldn't get back to the Tennessee huddle fast enough and went back down to the ground.
The quarterback who hasn't missed a start since taking over as the Titans' starter needed a play off Sunday after the first play of the fourth quarter. Then Tannehill finished off a 19-10 victory over the Indianapolis Colts before going to the locker room for treatment and a walking boot for his aching right ankle.
“It doesn’t feel great,” Tannehill said of his ankle. "Yeah, I had to battle through it there at the end. Sometimes it comes with the territory, right? I’m going to be out there if I can at all possible. So I’m going to do everything I can do this week to get it right and feeling best I can for Sunday.”
Tannehill was hurt on a 3-yard pass to Mason Kinsey to start the fourth quarter. Rookie Malik Willis replaced the 11-year veteran with a handoff that set up the third of Randy Bullock's four field goals for a 16-7 lead.
The Titans quarterback walked to the sideline with a limp, then went into the blue medical tent where he was examined and taped up. When the Titans stopped the Colts on a three-and-out, Tannehill put on his helmet and stepped onto the field to test his ankle moving around. He also tossed a couple of passes.
Then he went back to work. There was a fumble three plays later near midfield on a handoff to Willis on an end-around that wound up credited to Tannehill. But the Tennessee defense limited the Colts to a field goal.
Tannehill threw only two more passes, the biggest a 19-yarder to Austin Hooper on a bobbling catch on third-and-6 that helped set up Bullock's fourth field goal for the final margin.
Tannehill was 13 of 20 for 132 yards and was sacked twice.
The knock on Tannehill when the Miami Dolphins traded the quarterback to Tennessee was that he couldn't stay healthy and available. That hasn't been a problem with the Titans where he hasn't missed a start since replacing Marcus Mariota in mid-October 2019. Tannehill is 36-18 as a starter in Tennessee.
Coach Mike Vrabel uses Tannehill as an example of toughness to his Titans.
“How many quarterbacks turn their back in this league, then turn around and throw a strike or some sort of outward breaking route with guys barreling into him, which we would like to not have,” Vrabel said. “He does that. It has certainly helped us, and I’ve always had that appreciation for him.”
Center Ben Jones, who went down a couple of times during this game, called Tannehill one of the Titans' toughest guys. Two-time NFL rushing champ Derrick Henry said he told Tannehill he'll be texting him Monday morning to check on him.
“I think he’ll be fine,” Henry said. “His mentality is, if he can get out there, he’s going to go.”
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