MIAMI -- Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been named the Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year for 2019. Tannehill narrowly squeaked past San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in the voting, receiving 16 votes to Garoppolo's 15. Only two other players received more than five votes: Oakland Raiders tight end Darren Waller got eight and Dallas Cowboys center Travis Frederick got six.
Tannehill, who was acquired from the Miami Dolphins in a draft-pick swap in March 2019, began the season as the backup to former No. 2 overall draft pick Marcus Mariota. He relieved the struggling Mariota in the second half of a Week 6 loss to the Denver Broncos, then remained the starter for the rest of the season.
The Titans were just 2-4 in Mariota's starts, but rebounded to go 7-3 with Tannehill under center. During that late-season run, which resulted in the Titans grabbing the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs, Tannehill completed 70.3 percent of his passes, averaged a league-best 9.6 yards per attempt, and led the NFL with a 117.5 passer rating.
He was named AFC Offensive Player of the Month for December, when he went 90 of 132 for 1,322 yards, 12 touchdowns, two interceptions, and a 124.6 passer rating while leading the Titans to an average of 31.4 points per game.
Tannehill's ascension to the starting role also coincided with a dramatic improvement in the play of running back Derrick Henry, who averaged 3.7 yards per carry and scored just four touchdowns in Mariota's six starts before rampaging his way to 5.9 yards per carry and 12 touchdowns during Tannehill's 10 turns under center. The duo's brilliance led the Titans back to the playoffs, where they defeated the Patriots and Ravens on the road before bowing out to the Chiefs in the AFC title game.