Generally it’s a good thing to have your name associated with that of a Hall of Famer. Sometimes, however, it’s in the eye of the beholder. This past weekend, Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill achieved something that only one other quarterback had ever done in the Super Bowl era, that being a particular Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback of the past.
During the Titans’ first two playoff rounds, both victories, Tannehill his thrown for a combined 160 passing yards with three touchdowns to one interception. In the opening-round victory over the New England Patriots, he threw for just 72 yards with one touchdown and one interception on eight of 15 passing. This past weekend over the Baltimore Ravens, he completed seven of 14 passes for just 88 yards, with two touchdown passes.
The only other quarterback to ever throw for under 100 yards with at least one touchdown in the postseason and win those games during the Super Bowl era was Terry Bradshaw, who achieved that feat during the Steelers’ first Super Bowl season of 1974.
.@RyanTannehill1 joins HOF Terry Bradshaw as the only players in the Super Bowl era to win consecutive playoff games with 1+ pass TD & fewer than 100 pass yards.
Bradshaw did so in the 1974 AFC Championship Game & Super Bowl IX — his first of 4 Super Bowl victories.#Titans
— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) January 12, 2020
But his numbers were better in the opening round. Against the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional Round, he threw for 203 yards on 12 of 19 pass attempts with one touchdown. Over the next two games, he completed 17 of 31 passes for 191 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. That included a Super Bowl IX stat line of 9-of-14 for 96 yards with one touchdown.
In case anybody is wondering, Bradshaw posted a career 14-5 record in the postseason. He completed 261 passes on 456 attempts for 3833 yards with 30 touchdowns to 26 interceptions, averaging 8.4 yards per pass attempt. He also scored three rushing touchdowns.
As for Tannehill, he has never started a postseason game beyond this season. Heading west to play the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes, who just put up 51 points against the Houston Texans, one would imagine that he’s going to have to put up much better numbers.
During the 2019 regular season, however, in 10 starts over 12 games, he completed 201 passes in 286 attempts (over 70 percent) for 2742 yards, with 22 touchdowns to six interceptions and a league-leading quarterback rating of 117.5.
He had three games of at least 300 passing yards, with three games with three touchdown passes thrown, in addition to four total rushing touchdowns. So unless Derrick Henry can continue to dominate and Tennessee’s defense can find a consistent answer for Mahomes and the Chiefs’ passing game, this might be the only thing Tannehill and Bradshaw share in common, rather than a Lombardi Trophy to show for it.