Young Rallies Reeling Titans Past Texans

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Vince Young nearly ran into the interview room to talk with reporters.

The quarterback who slumped on a bench a week ago, frustrated and unhappy at yet another loss, couldn't wait to talk Sunday. He finally made a team pay for daring him to win using his arm.

Young threw for 248 yards and two touchdowns in rallying the Titans to a 28-20 victory over his hometown Houston Texans, snapping a three-game skid for a team that hadn't even held a lead in a month.

"They're bringing a bunch of guys in the box," Young said. "They are basically telling us, 'Vince you can't make that throw. And the receivers can't make that catch.' We took it upon ourselves to prove them wrong. That's just nothing but motivation."

Well, opponents had been doing that the past three games. Young had thrown for 808 yards but no wins. He had thrown two TDs in a game once before this season, and that was Sept. 24 at New Orleans.

The Titans (7-5) had defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth back from an injured hamstring that kept him out three games. His return helped revive a defense coming off its worst performance of the season in a 35-6 loss at Cincinnati last week.

But it was Titans end Antwan Odom who knocked Matt Schaub out of the game for the second time this year, sacking him and dislocating his left shoulder in the first quarter.

By the time backup Sage Rosenfels settled in, it was too late for the Texans (5-7), who lost their second straight and seriously hurt their faint playoff hopes.

"We kind of got ourselves on the brink here the last couple weeks, but the bottom line is the teams we're playing made the plays in the crunch and we didn't," Texans coach Gary Kubiak said.

With his family in the stands, Young took over with perhaps the best quarter of his short career, helping the Titans beat the team that replaced them in Houston for the 10th time in 12 games.

Young, who missed Tennessee's 38-36 win on Oct. 21 in Houston with a strained right quadriceps, guided the Titans 63 yards and found an open Roydell Williams on a 43-yard TD pass, putting them up 14-10. It was the Titans first lead since beating Carolina 20-7 on Nov. 4.

Then Young completed all six passes for 40 yards and ran twice for 16 more in an 87-yard drive he finished with an 11-yard toss to Justin Gage in the right corner. Young had a 147.2 passer rating in the quarter, helping the Titans hold onto the ball for 10 minutes.

"Just cause we're in the NFL doesn't mean we can't have fun beating somebody's butts," Young said.

Mario Williams, the defensive end Houston chose to draft last year over Young, had 2 1/2 sacks.

"We have to stop making mistakes," Williams said. "We all have to take a step back and look at one another and ourselves."

Rosenfels answered early in the fourth quarter with a 28-yard TD toss to Andre Johnson. The Titans were forced into a three-and-out, as the Texans tried to help Rosenfels recreate their earlier performance against Tennessee when they scored 29 straight points before falling short.

"We're in these games," Rosenfels said. "Everyone should realize the difference between this year and last year."

This time Eric King knocked the ball loose from punt returner Jacoby Jones, and the Titans recovered at the Houston 29. Chris Brown ran twice, the second a 7-yard TD for a 28-17 lead.

Down 28-20, Rosenfels had one last chance for a rally but was picked off by Titans rookie Michael Griffin, himself a Texas native, with 2:40 to go.

The Titans punted it back, but Rosenfels had no timeouts and could only scramble for a first down with 17 seconds left before time expired.

With the loss by Jacksonville (8-4) to Indianapolis, the Titans are back in the mix for the AFC wild card, but Odom said he was glad the skid was over.

"That was a long month," he said.

Houston opened the game rolling 74 yards in nine plays with Ron Dayne scoring on a 1-yard run.

Quickly, the Titans answered back with only their second TD drive to start a game this season. LenDale White ran over from the 1 for the tie.

On the next drive, Odom sacked Schaub, whose left hand hit the ground first. Schaub was down for a few minutes, then was helped to the locker room. The Texans also lost right guard Fred Weary in the second quarter with a broken right leg.

Rob Bironas, who set an NFL record with 8 field goals to beat the Texans in October, had a chance to tie it at the end of the half. His 53-yard attempt into the wind fell short, snapping his streak of 19 consecutive field goals.


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