Will he play or not? That’s the question surrounding Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill, whose availability for his team’s meeting with the hosts Houston Texans on Sunday is still up in the air.
Tannehill sprained his right ankle in the fourth quarter of a 19-10 home win over Indianapolis last week and missed just one game. But Tannehill clearly wasn’t at 100 percent after the injury, and he’s a quarterback who needs mobility to be at his best.
Tannehill has started 49 games for Tennessee, going 34-15 in that span. His status is especially important this week as the Titans’ No. 2 quarterback is rookie Malik Willis and the No. 3 is Logan Woodside, who’s on the practice team.
Tannehill was stuck in a hiking boot after last week’s game and stepped out on Wednesday. While he didn’t give many details about the injury, he was optimistic he could leave on Sunday, despite not training on Wednesday.
“I’m better than I was after the (Colts) game,” said Tannehill. “I’m going in the right direction. I still have a few steps to go, but I’ve been better, worse and I’m going in the right direction.”
Not only is Tannehill going in the right direction, so is Tennessee. The Titans (4-2) have four straight wins from a 0-2 start, they are 1 1/2 games ahead of Indianapolis, with a season sweep by the Colts giving the Titans a tiebreak advantage.
Defense and running play have fueled the Titans’ rebound. They’ve only conceded 16.5 points per game during the winning streak while Derrick Henry has cranked it up over that span. He’s averaging 107.3 yards per game, including a season-high 128 on 30 carries against Indianapolis.
While the Titans are once again at the top of the AFC South, Houston (1-4-1) is sitting in the basement. Last week’s 20-38 loss in Las Vegas was the fourth in five games and one that could have gone either way in the fourth quarter. The Texans led 20-17 after three periods and failed to finish the Raiders. Instead, they coughed up three touchdowns when Josh Jacobs, who rushed for 143 yards, scored on 7-yard and 15-yard rushes. A pick-6 capped the disastrous quarter.
Jacobs having such a big day is certainly a concern for Houston, especially as it faces Henry, who has saved some of his biggest games for his division rivals in recent years. In 10 career games against the Texans, Henry averaged 103.5 rushing yards while catching nine touchdowns.
“To try and stop a guy like Derrick Henry or just a good defender, we just make sure we’re in our own gaps and doing our own job,” said Houston defense attorney Rasheem Green. “We have to make sure we do a good job this week.”
Houston also needs help from an offense that ranks 28th at 17.7 points per game. The Texans have talented guns in rookie running back Dameon Pierce (504 rushing yards), quarterback Davis Mills (1,350 passing yards) and veteran receiver Brandin Cooks (28 catches, 281 yards) but are still only 25th in overall offense . Tennessee leads the all-time streak 22-18.
The teams split 20 games in Houston, with the Titans clinching a 28-25 win in January. – Field level media