Vince Still the Prince

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October 29, 2006
Vince Still the Prince

by Bob Hulsey

No doubt that whenever Tennessee Titan owner K.S. "Bud" Adams goes out in Houston, he wants to be able to gloat that his old Oilers are better than Bob McNair’s Texans.

The temptation was irresistable for Adams when Texas Longhorn star quarterback Vince Young sat unclaimed in the green room at the NFL draft last April. With Young, Adams figured he’d have bragging rights for another decade or more.

Score one more for the "Oilers" as Young ran and passed the Titans to a 28-22 victory in Nashville, the seventh win for Houston’s old team over Houston’s new team in nine tries.

Young sprinted 20 yards for the first Tennessee score and hit Bobby Wade for a 20-yard touchdown to blow out a 21-3 lead which put Houston in catch-up mode the rest of the game.

Before you think Vince single-handedly won the game, those two plays were practically his highlight reel for the day. At least the Texan defense looked less befuddled than Michigan and USC did against Vince. He completed just 7 of 15 passes for 87 yards. He also ran for 44 yards.

The Texans amassed over twice as many yards as Tennessee, 427 to 197, but spent a frustrating day watching turnovers and penalties kill their momentum.

Houston’s opening drive looked promising, including a fourth-down conversion, until David Carr was intercepted by Chris Hope while throwing into quadruple coverage.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Titans rode 31 rushing yards from rookie Lendale White before Young took it the final 20 himself. Houston answered with an 11-play, 80-yard drive but settled for a 27-yard Kris Brown field goal.

It looked like it would be 7-3 going into the intermission when the last 30 seconds of the first half turned into disaster. With a third-and-13 at their own 46, Carr fumbled after a sack by Kyle Vanden Bosch which Tony Brown returned for a Tennessee touchdown. Then Edell Shepherd fumbled the next kickoff but, fortunately for the Texans, time expired before the Titans could capitalize.

Houston took the kickoff to start the third quarter and moved to the Titan 26 before Carr was sacked and fumbled again. Tony Brown was the lucky recipient for the second time in less than an hour.

Gary Kubiak had seen enough, replacing Carr with backup Sage Rosenfels. The backup’s first pass deflected from receiver Andre Johnson into the waiting hands of Adam "Pac-Man" Jones who returned it to the Houston 24. Young hit Wade three plays later to open up an 18-point lead.

Rosenfels shrugged it off and threw a 10-yard touchdown to Johnson for a 21-10 margin. Sage had to overcome three Houston penalties to finish the 58-yard drive.

Stuck deep in their own territory early in the fourth quarter, Chad Stanley’s punt was taken back 53 yards by "Pac-Man" Jones. The touchdown struck a fateful blow for Houston’s comeback hopes.

Still, Rosenfels directed the attack smartly. He led two touchdown drives against the clock. Both ended with short touchdown tosses to Owen Daniels but the first extra point was blocked and the two-point try on the latter failed.

The last comeback gasp was an onside kick with 1:54 left in the game. Kris Brown did a nifty Texas Two Step before kicking it however Wade caught it cleanly and the Titans killed the rest of the clock.

Aside from turnovers, Carr’s numbers (15-21-113-0) were not bad and Rosenfels’ (18-25-186-3) were even better. In fairness, though, most of Rosenfels’ totals came while the Titans defense was in backpedal mode. Carr’s benching will revive a quarterback controversy that had been muted over the past two months.

The 2-5 Texans continue on the road next week with a matchup against that other Manning and the New York Giants.

What Went Right?

Wali Lundy
For the second week in a row, the sixth-round rookie from Virginia posted over 100 all-purpose yards. He had 18 carries for 116 yards and an additional 33 yards on five receptions. At last, it appears somebody has established themselves as the back in this offense.

Owen Daniels
No matter who is throwing it, Daniels gets open and holds on. He finished with 9 catches for 99 yards and two scores, giving him five receiving touchdowns on the season.

Moving The Chains
Another stat you’d expect to see in a winning effort is 26 first downs. That looks a lot different from the three-and-out offenses we saw all too often during the first four years.

What Went Wrong?

You can’t ever expect to win when you commit five turnovers. The Texans mustered none of their own. The interception on Rosenfels was Andre Johnson’s fault but the interception on Carr and the three fumbles were like unforced errors.

Special Teams
A fumbled kickoff, a blocked PAT, a punt return allowed for a touchdown. Miscues by the special teams contributed to the disaster.

Offensive Line Play
It was not a good game for either tackle Ephraim Salaam or Zach Weigert who must have had whiplash as often as Vanden Bosch and Travis Laboy blew past them. Salaam, who left briefly with a knee injury, also contributed three false starts. On the day, the Titans had four sacks.

Key Play Of The Game

Trailing 7-3 just before halftime, the Texans tried to get into field goal range when Carr was sacked by Kyle Vanden Bosch and fumbled. Defensive tackle Tony Brown scooped up the ball, pivoted and rumbled 40 yards untouched for a touchdown to give the Titans a lead they would never relinquish.

Game 7 Recap Titans QB Vince Young eludes LB Morlon Greenwood in the 2nd quarter. Final Score Houston Texans 22 Tennessee Titans 28 Lookin’ Good

Sage Rosenfels
Disregard those howls to change quarterbacks but Rosenfels does show that when he is in, he’s a capable back-up who can coolly run the offense. He put up three touchdown tosses late in the game, including the first points the team has scored in the third quarter all year.

Oh, my eyes!

Edell Shepard
Between the fair catch on his own three-yard line and the slip-and-fumble kickoff return just before halftime, Shepherd may be back tending sheep later this week. Rookie David Anderson appeared to handle the kick return duties well in the second half.

2006 Schedule Date Opponent Result 08.12 Kansas City 24-14 08.19 St. Louis 27-20 08.27 at Denver 14-17 08.31 Tampa Bay 16-13 Regular Season 09.10 Philadelphia 10-24 09.17 at Indianapolis 24-43 09.24 Washington 15-31 10.01 Miami 17-15 10.08 Bye 10.15 at Dallas 6-34 10.22 Jacksonville 27-7 10.29 at Tennessee 22-28 11.05 at NY Giants 10-14 11.12 at Jacksonville 13-10 11.19 Buffalo 21-24 11.26 at NY Jets 11-26 12.03 at Oakland 23-14 12.10 Tennessee 20-26 12.17 at New England 7-40 12.24 Indianapolis 27-24 12.31 Cleveland 14-6   Overall Record 6-10