Make it four straight for the Titans

By Joe Biddle
Updated: November 24, 2009

HOUSTON — The saga of Vince Young continued on Monday Night Football, the biggest stage the NFL offers during the regular season.

This is Young’s city, where his prowess grew at Madison High School, where he threw for 7,624 yards and was Parade magazine’s national player of the year.

Three years ago, when he was a rookie, Young used his legs to run in the game-winning touchdown against the Houston Texans. The Texans would go on to have a losing season.

Young was back again, this time with the two teams locked in a backyard brawl. He had lost his starting position last season and reclaimed it four games ago when Titans owner Bud Adams ordered a quarterback change.

Although Young was not as spectacular in this game as he was in the game three years ago, he did what was required for his team to win a 20-17 nail-biter.

Young avoided putting his team in danger of losing, making key completions and runs that sustained drives against a determined Texans defense.

“He’s growing up, and I think he found out you have to work to be good in this league. Everything had come easy to him before he lost his job. I can see him maturing,” Titans veteran scout C.O. Brocato said before the game.

The Titans won their fourth straight game behind Young. The Texans thought they were on track to make their first playoff appearance in the history of the franchise. Now we’re not so sure.

The combination of running back Chris Johnson and Young tortured the Texans in a game that was often chippy, filled with extra pushing and shoving after the whistle.

It made it much harder for Young to stand out, with his peers, critics, friends and family all eager to see just where the fourth-year pro stands on the road to proving he can be a winning NFL quarterback.

The Texans came in ranked ninth in scoring defense and 18th in total defense — better than the Jaguars, Bills and 49ers, three teams the Titans had beaten coming in here.

Young made few mistakes, however, and overall he showed he has a better grasp of the game. He is letting it come to him instead of relying on incredible athletic ability that sometimes gets him in trouble.

Young was also brilliant at times, like the touchdown drive in the second quarter when he hit rookie Kenny Britt from 13 yards out to tie the game. It was vintage Vince — confident, instinctive, on target.

Later, with the game on the line, Young took his team 59 yards in nine plays in a little more than two minutes. He set up Rob Bironas, whose 53-yard field goal was true with only 47 seconds remaining.

Young just has a natural flair for the moment of reckoning.

He’s not there yet, but he is learning on the go.

It’s all part of the process.