Their road to this point has been an improbable one. They benched starting quarterback Marcus Mariota after the team started the season 2-4.
Any sort of benefit of the doubt or long leash he might have gotten finally withered away.
Enter Ryan Tannehill.
The Titans under Tannehill went 7-3 to end the season and earned a Wild Card berth.
They shocked the world by beating the New England Patriots on the road.
And they did it again by beating the No. 1 team in the AFC, the Baltimore Ravens.
Many people would like to attribute the Titans success to the benching of Marcus Mariota.
Who woulda thought a Marcus Mariota benched, Ryan Tannehill lead Titans team would be one game away from the Super Bowl...?
— Joey Mauldin (@Joeymauldin_11) January 12, 2020
Titans should've kept Mariota at QB
— Cameron Magruder (@ScooterMagruder) January 12, 2020
How bad did Mariota have to be to mess up THAT Titans offense?
— Ryan 🤓 (@MuthioraESPN) January 12, 2020
— Vikings33_ (@Vikings33_) January 12, 2020
— Last Lions Fan (@LionsSB2021) January 12, 2020
Credit Ryan Tannehill too. They looked lost with Mariota but they came to life when Tannehill took over.
— Scott Jones (@scottjones0131) January 12, 2020
The titans wasted that top pick on Mariota when they really just had to wait for the Dolphins to get done with their old toy. 😂
— OklahomasOwnDJ (@OkStRevolution) January 12, 2020
Marcus Mariota in the locker room tonight pic.twitter.com/JLofR2Nyaz
— kyle (@knicks_tape99) January 12, 2020
While people pour on Mariota, he remains a hard worker and a good teammate.
— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) January 4, 2020
Mariota is a team player - you have to give him credit
And while some people say Tannehill was the answer, it's not like he lit up the stat sheet in the Titans two playoff games.
If Marcus Mariota only threw for 72 yards in any game the jackals would be frothing at the mouth https://t.co/FIywTkl53K
— Josh Schrock (@Schrock_And_Awe) January 5, 2020
"Sorry, Mariota, you're benched. You can't throw."
"Crap, neither can Tannehill"
[vrabel: runs Henry 50 times a game]
— Uncle Fuzzy (@paulland100) January 12, 2020
Tannehill has 72 yards and 88 yards passing, respectively.
Derrick Henry's performance will be lauded as one of the greatest performances of the postseason, rushing for 195 yards in the Titans win.
But Mariota played a unique role for the Titans this week. He simulated QB Lamar Jackson as the Titans prepared for the Ravens.
There's not many teams that have a 26-year-old backup quarterback with the pedigree that Mariota holds. A mobile QB, Heisman Trophy level talent, starting experience.
Could he have been the difference maker, the X-factor for Tennessee?
Lamar Jackson got his, throwing for 365 yards and rushing for 143 yards. But he was picked twice and was held without a rushing touchdown.
The Titans moved away from Mariota. They had every right to do that. But he remains an integral piece in for the franchise. Whether he'll be on the Titans next season remains to be seen, but piling on seems like low hanging fruit.
this Mariota slander is uncalled for.
— zach (@iambarnard_) January 12, 2020
Marcus Mariota is a true class act and I will cheer for him wherever he ends up even if it's like the Steelers or something. #cortnyesopinions2020
— Cortnye (@cortnye_stone) January 12, 2020
Congratulations to the Tennessee Titans!
In defense of Marcus Mariota, could he have been Titans X-factor in win? originally appeared on NBC Sports Northwest