Is Tim Tebow the new Vince Young?

Christopher Hanewinckel/US Presswire

Tim Tebow's performance in his first nine starts is reminiscent of Vince Young's early career with the Titans in 2006.On Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, Tim Tebow recorded his fourth game-winning drive in the fourth quarter or overtime, the second-most by a quarterback in his first nine starts, according to Elias. The Denver Broncos have won four games in a row and are just one game out of playoff position.

It’s reminiscent of a performance five years ago, when Vince Young took over as starter for the Tennessee Titans and also engineered several comeback victories early on. Young, however, could not propel the Titans into the postseason that year, as the team finished 8-8 and tied for second place in the AFC South.

Vince Young vs Tim Tebow
First 9 NFL Starts

Despite the similar trends, Tebow’s first nine starts have arguably been considerably more impressive than Young’s. His four game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or later are one more than Young had in his first nine starts, and he also has the advantage in passing yards, touchdowns and rushing yards.

Young’s calling card early in his career was that he led his team to wins despite statistics that were not among the league’s best, and Tebow certainly fits that bill. However, Tebow has him beat in the win column too. Young went 5-4 in his first nine starts; Tebow has gone 6-3, including 5-1 this season.

Though Tebow has received much hype and praise during the Broncos recent playoff push, Denver’s defense deserves significant credit for the five wins under Tebow. In those games, the Broncos have allowed an average of 15 points and have held opponents to a third-down conversion rate of just 26 percent.

Young received far less help from his defense in 2006. Through his first nine starts, the Titans allowed an average of 371 yards per game, the second-worst mark in the league during that span, and recorded just seven sacks, the fewest in the NFL in those nine weeks.