The Tennessee Titans got back to playing football again on Tuesday night as their two-week saga with COVID-19 finally allowed them back onto the field.
The Titans appeared as though they hadn’t missed a beat in rolling through the previously unbeaten Buffalo Bills with a 42-16 victory. Tennessee had seemingly been in the league’s cross-hairs and had provoked ire from around this league as schedules had to be significantly adjusted and games rescheduled to account for the Titans’ inability to practice of play during a shutdown of their building.
Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said after Tuesday night’s victory that he wasn’t really sure why his team had taken such a wave of criticism for the outbreak within the team over the last two weeks.
“Yeah, we were under a lot of heat. Honestly, I didn’t quite understand it why we were under such heat,” Tannehill said. “But we stuck together, believed in each other and knew that the guys in our building on our team were all we needed. … Under some heat, obviously, for a couple of weeks and it felt really good to be able to go out and play and kind of shake that off”
Tennessee was under that heat with the presumption that they had not been following league protocols put in place to try and keep the virus at bay. It also wasn’t a good look that a collection of players then gathered for an impromptu workout at Montgomery Bell Academy when the league had told them to isolate while testing and tracing continued.
But Commissioner Roger Goodell seemed to soften the language about what had transpired inside Titans headquarters in comments made the Jay Feely of CBS prior to kickoff on Tuesday night. Goodell told Feely that Tennessee had not “willingly” violated protocols as many players and team members tested positive for the virus over the last two weeks.
“We said a lot of things [in meetings] throughout the past couple weeks and things are being said, personal things that were said against our team, our guys and it really felt uncalled for,” Tannehill said. “So yeah, we were a little ticked off about how we’ve been treated, how we’ve been looked at over the past couple weeks and really just stuck together through that process and believed in each other and wanted to come out and play our game and play how we believe in each other and knew what we could do and we did that.”
Tannehill completed 21 of 28 passes for 195 yards with three passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown in the win over Buffalo.