DENVER – Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota hates the fact he was benched in Sunday's game against the Broncos.
"For me, as a competitor," Mariota said, "I would love to be out there with my guys."
But on the day Mariota was replaced by back-up Ryan Tannehill, he said he understood why the decision was made.
"I was inaccurate today, and I didn't give our guys a chance to make plays and that's some of the reasons I got pulled," Mariota said. "It starts with me – I have to do a better job."
The Titans replaced Mariota with Tannehill in the third quarter of Sunday's game against the Broncos, an eventual 16-0 loss. It was Tannehill's first action since the Titans traded for the former Dolphins quarterback earlier this offseason.
Mariota completed just 7-of-18 passes for 63 yards and two interceptions and a 9.5 rating before being replaced with 4:49 in the third quarter. He was sacked three times. The Titans trailed the Broncos 13-0 when the decision to play Tannehill was made.
"Every decision we make we try and do in the best interest of the football team at every position," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. "At that point and time, we're just trying to move the football and score more points."
Tannehill completed 13-of-16 passes for 144 yards with a 78.1 rating. He was sacked four times.
"These things are tough, no matter how you cut it," Tannehill said. "I think the only thing that makes it somewhat tolerable is we do have a good relationship and we have a ton of respect for each other. I have a ton of respect for Marcus. It's a tough situation all around."
Vrabel said he'll consult with Titans general manager Jon Robinson and his coaching staff before deciding if the move is permanent.
Mariota said he'll support Tannehill and be the best teammate he can be no matter what the team decides.
On the season, Mariota has completed 94-of-159 passes for 1,179 yards with seven touchdowns and two interceptions, with a 91.7 rating. He's been sacked 25 times in six games.
"I don't feel great," Mariota said. "Coach made the decision and he is going to make a decision that's best for the team. I respect it and I just try and be there for Ryan.
"For me, as a competitor, I would love to be out there with my guys. But it is going to come down to the coaches and what they decide. Things happen for a reason – I truly believe that. I can learn from this. I am going to grow from this and I'll become a better player.
"No matter what, I am a team player. If they call my number, I am going to be ready to go."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Denver Broncos in Week 6 of the 2019 season at Empower Field at Mile High. (Photos: Donald Page)