NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Titans effectively ended veteran quarterback Ryan Tannehill's season by placing him and two others on injured reserve Thursday.
Tannehill last played Dec. 18 in a loss at the Los Angeles Chargers where he finished the game despite re-injuring his right ankle in the first quarter. The 11-year veteran was carted to the locker room where his ankle was taped up, and he returned to finish the game.
The Titans (7-8) already had declared Tannehill out Wednesday for Thursday night's game with the Dallas Cowboys. For Tannehill to have a chance to play again this season, Tennessee will have to beat the Jaguars in Jacksonville in the regular-season finale for the AFC South title and advance to the divisional round.
Tennessee also placed linebacker Zach Cunningham on injured reserve for the second time this season with an injured elbow and outside linebacker Bud Dupree, who hurt a pectoral muscle in last week's loss to Houston. Both were among the eight Titans ruled out Wednesday.
The Titans now have 22 players on injured reserve. They go into Thursday night's game having used an NFL-high 82 different players a year after playing a league-high 91 players — most ever in a non-strike season.
The decision to place Tannehill on injured reserve prompted the Titans to decide to start Joshua Dobbs at quarterback against the Dallas Cowboys instead of rookie Malik Willis. The third-round pick out of Liberty had been expected to make his fourth start.
Instead, the Titans will start Dobbs, whom they signed off Detroit's practice squad Dec. 21, the person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the move has not been announced.
Dobbs will make his first NFL start after entering the league as a fourth-round pick by Pittsburgh in 2017 out of the University of Tennessee. He has appeared in six games in his career, playing in five with the Steelers in 2018 and one in 2020.
He spent the 2019 season with Jacksonville after being traded by Pittsburgh for a fifth-round pick. He is 10 of 17 for 45 yards in his career with no touchdowns and one interception. He has run six times for 31 yards.
Willis has appeared in eight games this season and is 1-2 as a starter. He is 31 of 61 for 276 yards with three interceptions. Willis just ran for his first NFL touchdown in last week's loss to Houston.
The Titans signed linebackers Sam Okuayinonu and Andre Smith and running back Jonathan Ward from the practice squad. They also promoted offensive lineman Zack Johnson and defensive lineman Jayden Peevy from the practice squad for Thursday night's game.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL