“Everything considered, a determined soul will always manage.”
It was the worst GameCast experience of my life and the perpetuation of what would become an annual Giants’ tradition. On November 26, 2006, Big Blue led the Titans 21-0 going into the fourth quarter. They were about to put an end to an ugly two-game losing streak, move to 7-4, and proceed to win the NFC East—or so I thought.
That’s when Vince Young went to work. The then-rookie led the Titans on one touchdown drive, and then another. Then the Giants had Tennessee in a 4th-and-10, and Mathias Kiwanuka had his arms around Young, and he let go, and Vince ran for the first down and eventually, threw for another touchdown. An Eli INT—by PacMan Jones, no less—and a Rob Bironas field goal completed the comeback.
Three years later, Vince Young led a similarly remarkable comeback, converting three fourth downs while driving the Titans 99 yards in the final moments for a 20-17 victory over the Cardinals. One would think that the postgame narrative would have been structured around Young’s abilities in the fourth quarter, perhaps with references to his Rose Bowl appearances and that comeback against the Giants. Instead, much of the talk was on how Vince Young is finally living up to the hype. Gregg Easterbrook said Young’s success proves Tim Tebow can start in the NFL at quarterback. On PTI, Peter King even compared Young to JaMarcus Russell.
You know what I think I think, Pete? Vince Young’s record as a starting quarterback is 23-11 and JaMarcus Russell’s is 7-18. Young has won 21 of his last 28 starts, which basic math tells me is three of every four. He was also the most talented college football player of the decade.
Comparing Young and Tebow? I don’t know: Young’s mobility seems like it translates to the NFL a lot better than Tebow’s. Young is more about speed than power; more a wide receiver than a tight end. Can Tebow withstand the punishment as an every down NFL quarterback who runs into the line of scrimmage on a regular basis? Because if Tebow doesn’t use his mobility in the NFL–and let’s remember that he runs more from design than improvisation at Florida–then he’s just a dropback passer, and not a very good one.
The problem with Vince Young was never on the field; he won Rookie of the Year his first season and took his team to the playoffs in his second. He was injured/benched last year, but it’s not like the Titans “took off” under Kerry Collins; Collins did a pretty good job managing games for a team built on defense. Young has always been good; now he’s getting the chance to do it on a week-in and week-out basis again.
And that’s why the Titans, after an 0-6 start, are still in the hunt for the playoffs.
- Speaking of Young, I know my guy Jeff Fisher has already sworn off the Wildcat, but how dangerous could a spread offense with Young and Chris Johnson be? Just as another look? To be honest, Tennessee might already have done this (I haven’t seen much of them the last five weeks), but if not, they totally should.
- The annual Giants’ tradition, you ask? In their last five games after Thanksgiving: debilitating loss at Seattle because of three missed Jay Feely field goals, blown 21-point, fourth-quarter lead in Tennessee, four-interception game for Eli in 24-point home loss to Minnesota, a win over Washington (playing without Plaxico Burress, who had just shot himself in the leg), and this year, a 20-point road loss to Denver. It is almost always the worst game of the year.
- Interesting point John S raised: If the Colts or Saints go undefeated—and I doubt either of them do—how does that change how we feel about the Patriots’ 16-0 season? Does it at all, since both of those teams will have faced more close calls than New England did and didn’t win in the same dominant fashion? And what happens if both go undefeated? How would that cheapen the accomplishment for both teams?
- I’ve been hard on the Jets this year, but here’s a bone for them: Darrelle Revis should be the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. Here’s what Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Marques Colston, Terrell Owens, and Carolina’s Steve Smith have combined to do against Revis in six games: 19 catches, 144 yards, 1 touchdown. Last week, Revis had more catches than Smith did.
- Watching that Jets-Panthers game, though, was torture. There’s nothing worse than seeing non-conference matchups between offensively challenged teams not going to the playoffs. Next year, when you ask a Jets fan who they beat this year, that fan will forget their 17-6 win over the Panthers.
- My Chiefs have betrayed me; I’m done with them.
- People always talk about how college coaches fail when they go to the NFL, but Jim Caldwell has really stepped up his game with the Colts. After going 26-63 at Wake Forest in the ‘90s, Caldwell is 11-0! Caldwell didn’t win his 11th game at Wake until his fifth season there. We can only imagine how good Jim Grobe would be in the NFL.
- How long until we can include Ray Rice in our discussion of the league’s best running backs? Right now, doesn’t it go Peterson, Johnson, Rice—with a tip of the hat to Steven Jackson?
- It still doesn’t look good when the Ravens need overtime to beat a Steelers team without Roethlisberger, Batch, or Polamalu at home. I mean, isn’t that Pittsburgh’s Big Three?
- Idea after being totally psyched by the Grey Cup: CFL Champion gets one-game playoff with NFC West champion to determine who makes the playoffs. I’d especially love to see this because Kurt Warner and Montreal Alouettes’ starter Anthony Calvillo are essentially the same guy. And I’d totally want playoff games in Edmonton or Saskatchewan down the line.
- SBCS: Saints tighten grip on No. 1; Colts and Vikings steady at 2 and 3, respectively; Chargers are all the way up to fourth; and the Cowboys are a controversial fifth.
Prior to the Week 13 Snap:
Last Week: 9-7
This Season: 70-90
BUFFALO (+3) over NY Jets
KANSAS CITY (+4.5) over Denver
PITTSBURGH (-6.5) over Oakland
Houston (pick) over JACKSONVILLE
Tennessee (+7) over INDIANAPOLIS
Philadelphia (-6) over ATLANTA
Detroit (+13) over CINCINNATI
WASHINGTON (+9.5) over New Orleans
Tampa Bay (+6) over CAROLINA
CHICAGO (-8.5) over St. Louis
San Diego (-13) over CLEVELAND
San Francisco (pick) over SEATTLE
Minnesota (-3) over ARIZONA
Dallas (-2) over NY GIANTS
New England (-5) over MIAMI
Baltimore (+3) over GREEN BAY