Titans bench Marcus Mariota for Ryan Tannehill

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  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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With the offense scoreless and a single-digit quarterback rating through two-plus lifeless quarters, Marcus Mariota was benched on Sunday in favor of Ryan Tannehill.

Trailing 13-0 against the Broncos, the Titans replaced Mariota in the third quarter after a woeful start that saw him complete just seven passes in 18 attempts with 63 yards, two interceptions and a frightful 9.5 rating to show for it.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters after the game he would discuss the QB position with his staff and general manager Jon Robison before making a decision on who will start Week 7 against the Chargers.

"I'll let you know as soon as I figure it out and do what's best for the team," Vrabel said.

Vrabel offered this explanation on his decision to sit Mariota:

"At that point in time what we're really just trying to find a way to move the football and score some points. Defense was forcing them to kick field goals. We gave up the touchdown but I felt like we were in the game and we needed to find a way to score and that's the only way that you can win."

In the fifth and final season of his rookie contract since he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2015, Mariota struggled the week prior in a loss to Buffalo, completing less than 60 percent of his passes with no touchdowns.

Sunday was on track to be Mariota's third game this season without a touchdown pass, though it saw him throw his first two interceptions of the season.

"I don't feel great," Mariota said after the game. "Coach [Vrabel] made a decision, and he's going to make a decision that's best for the team. I respect it, and I just try to be there for Ryan."

Tannehill, a former first-rounder for the Dolphins in 2012, came over to the Titans via offseason trade and looked good in the preseason. Coming on in relief, Tannehill turned in his first significant playing time after a brief appearance in Week 1 during Tennessee's blowout win over the Browns.

Tannehill finished 13-of-16 for 144 yards and a late interception as Tennessee fell, 16-0.

Whether this turns out to be a permanent switch obviously remains to be seen, but a struggling Mariota has been removed in favor of the new hope of a rekindled Tannehill.

Stay tuned.

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