Does Matt Leinart bring out the best in Tennessee quarterback Vince Young or is Young truly rounding out to be what everyone thought he would be when the Titans drafted him in 2006?
In Week 12, Young faced Leinart, who got the start for Arizona in place of injured Kurt Warner, for the first time as a professional. It also was the first time the quarterbacks started against each other since their BCS championship game in 2006. That’s when Young ran for an 8-yard touchdown with 19 seconds left to give Texas a 41-38 victory in the Rose Bowl over Leinart’s USC Trojans.
This time, Young drove the Titans 99 yards, ending with a 10-yard scoring pass to Kenny Britt, who stretched out in the back of the end zone for the catch with no time left to give Tennessee a 20-17 win.
“Once you see Vince scramble around, you never know if he’s going to run it or throw it,” Britt said. “You just have to stay alive, and that’s what I did.”
Young, known more for his running, threw for 94 yards on the winning drive. He hit Britt on fourth-and-four from the Titans 7. He hooked up with Lavelle Hawkins on a 13-yard completion on another fourth down conversion from the Cardinals 44. And his 17-yarder to Jared Cook at the Arizona 9 set up the four plays leading to the touchdown.
The winning pass also came on fourth down, starting with 6 seconds left. “It takes a lot of patience, confidence,” Young said of the final play.
Young has had his critics but the win seemed to calm any animosity that he felt.
“I love everybody,” he said after the game. “I love my haters.”
Leinart, who went 21 of 31 for 220 yards in his first start since 2007, complimented his former collegiate rival.
“I thought Vince played great,” Leinart said. “That is what it’s all about, to put your team in position to win games. And he made plays in that last series, so hats off to him.”
Spreading the wealth: When Drew Brees led the New Orleans Saints to a 38-17 win over the New England Patriots in Week 12, he threw five touchdown passes to five different receivers. Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson, Pierre Thomas and Darnell Dinkins each caught one. It was the second time that Brees connected with five different receivers for a TD in a game this season.
In Week 1, Brees threw scoring passes to Colston, Meachem, Jeremy Shockey (2), Henderson and Heath Evans in a 45-27 victory over Detroit. In Week 5, a 48-27 win over the New York Giants, Brees hit four different receivers with TD passes. In that game, Colston, Meachem, Shockey and Lance Moore scored.
Going into Week 13, Brees had connected with two or more receivers for touchdowns in seven games.
- •Fastest Player On and Off the Field: Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had 1,084 yards rushing through Week 12 of this season. He also was given a speeding ticket for being clocked at 109-mph while driving his BMW on Saturday Nov. 28 at about 8:30 p.m. on a suburban Minneapolis highway.
- •Perfection: Saints quarterback Drew Brees went 18 of 23 for 371 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in a 38-17 win over New England on Nov. 30, giving him a 158.3 passer rating, the best possible for a quarterback.
- •Not Bad For 40: Brett Favre, the 40-year-old quarterback of the Vikings passed for a season-high 392 yards and three touchdowns in a 36-10 win over Chicago on Nov. 29. That was just 10 yards short of his career-best 402 yards, in a 1993 game against the Bears.
- •Top-10 Rusher: LaDainian Tomlinson broke into the top-10 all-time rushing list in Week 12, passing Marcus Allen and Edgerrin James. Going into Week 13, Tomlinson was just 482 yards away from tying Tony Dorsett’s 12,739 yards for seventh place.
“We don’t get overexcited when things aren’t going the way we want them to. We don’t panic, we don’t yell, we don’t throw helmets. We just try to put the series behind us and move on to the next one.”
-Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, following one of the Colts several come-from-behind wins this season.
Copyright © 2009 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.