1:00 PM ET, October 21, 2007
NRG Stadium, Houston, TX
The Titans will be hoping Young's second trip to Houston is as memorable as his first when they face the Texans on Sunday.
The Texans (3-3) passed on Young, a Houston native and University of Texas star, in the 2006 draft, taking defensive end Mario Williams with the first overall pick instead. Houston decided to stick with David Carr at quarterback, but ended up cutting him after last season and acquiring Matt Schaub from Atlanta.
After the draft, Young said he was looking forward to returning to Houston to beat the Texans. He led the Titans (3-2) to a 28-22 win in Tennessee on Oct. 29 last season in his first matchup against the Texans and then dazzled in his first game in Houston on Dec. 10.
In that contest, Young threw for 218 yards on 19-of-29 passing and ran for a 39-yard touchdown in overtime to lead the Titans to a 26-20 win. He jumped into a crowd of fans that cheered for Houston most of the game, but erupted when he scored.
"It was a great ending, just being from Houston," Young said after that game. "And then being in front of my family ... it doesn't get any better than that."
The Texans certainly haven't forgotten Young's heroics.
"If you don't (remember), you weren't at that game," defensive end N.D. Kalu told the Texans' official Web site. "That's all you remember from that game. I remember it as clear as day. We've got to make sure it's not that close so he can't make that spectacular play again."
Heading into this year's matchup in Houston, Young is nursing a strained right quadriceps. He was injured during last Sunday's 13-10 loss at Tampa Bay when he scrambled for a 2-yard gain and was pushed out of bounds by defensive tackle Jovan Haye in the third quarter.
Young, who was replaced by backup Kerry Collins and did not return last Sunday, will be a game-time decision after he took one series of snaps with the scout team Friday.
"He loves it down there, and they love him down there," said tight end Bo Scaife, Young's college teammate at Texas. "I think there's nothing more for him to be able to play. I'm sure he's going to do everything he can to try to see that it happens."
Coach Jeff Fisher said Young felt better Friday.
"He was limited. He participated in warmups, threw the ball and participated in limited practice," Fisher said. "That would imply that he's improving. He will still be a game-time decision, but it was encouraging to see him on the field today."
If Collins starts instead on Sunday, it would be the 13-year veteran's first since Sept. 24, 2006 in a 13-10 loss at Miami. Collins completed 10 of 20 passes for 125 yards in place of Young last week, but was mostly ineffective until he engineered a 13-play, 86-yard drive that resulted in a game-tying touchdown run from LenDale White.
That touchdown was just Tennessee's second on offense in eight quarters since its bye week. The Buccaneers won the game on a field goal with 11 seconds left, ending the Titans' five-game road winning streak.
The game-winning field goal was the first score the Titans have given up in the fourth quarter this season. Tennessee's defense also held Tampa Bay to just 30 rushing yards and leads the league with just 63.8 allowed on the ground per game.
Last season, the Titans owned the third-worst rushing defense in the NFL with 144.6 yards allowed a contest and ranked last in the league with 369.7 total yards yielded per game.
Houston, meanwhile, ranks 29th in the NFL with just 81.7 rushing yards per game this season. The Texans ran for 228 total yards in their first two games, but have just 262 in their last four contests.
Ahman Green returned last Sunday after missing two weeks with a knee injury, but managed only 44 yards on 16 carries in Houston's 37-17 loss in Jacksonville.
"Ahman, I don't think he's himself yet, but I think he's close," coach Gary Kubiak said Monday. "It's good to get out of the game with him healthy. I expect him to come back this week and be even better. He was awful close a couple of times yesterday."
The Texans managed only six points off three Jaguars fumbles, and Schaub turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter. Houston also allowed Jacksonville to rush for 244 yards.
"When you run the ball for nine-point-something yards a carry in this league, you're kicking somebody's tail," Kubiak said. "That was ours they were kicking."
The Texans have lost three of four since opening the season with wins over Kansas City and Carolina. They have been having trouble finishing drives, converting only two of their 10 red-zone chances in their last three games.
"I guess the good news is we're getting down there," Kubiak said. "But the bad news is we're not taking advantage of getting down there."
Houston's offense could get a boost Sunday, as Andre Johnson might return after missing four games with a knee sprain. Johnson caught 14 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns in two games before the injury.
"We liked the progress we saw last week, so we've just kind of got our fingers crossed that he's ready to go this week," Kubiak said.
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Young's status will determine Titans' offensive success
Tennessee QB Vince Young hobbled off the field with a leg injury last week during a loss to Tampa Bay, but he will do everything he can to play this weekend when the Titans travel to his hometown. Tennessee struggled on the ground last week and will be looking to get back to the kind of running game that has sustained its offensive success so far this season.That being said, the Texans need to improve their efforts against the run and tackle better in order to keep teams from gaining extra yards after initial contact. Houston's offense hasn't put up the same kind of numbers that turned heads early in the season and people are starting to wonder if the Texans are for real. It will be up to head coach Gary Kubiak to get the offense back on track. This can be the defining game of the season for both the Texans and Titans since both teams are close to .500 and a win in this game would enhance postseason chances. A loss would amount to taking two steps backward and make it much harder to catch up in the postseason race.
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|Avg Points Allowed||18.0||24.9|
Team Averages & NFL Ranks
|TEAM OFFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|TEAM DEFENSE||TEAM||PER GAME AVERAGE|
|Pass Yds Allowed||TEN|
|Rush Yds Allowed||TEN|
Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)
|Tennessee leads 10-2|
|Dec 10, 2006||TEN 26, @HOU 20|
|Oct 29, 2006||TEN 28, HOU 22|
|Dec 11, 2005||TEN 13, HOU 10|
|Oct 9, 2005||TEN 34, @HOU 20|
|Nov 28, 2004||TEN 21, @HOU 31|
|Oct 17, 2004||TEN 10, HOU 20|
|Dec 21, 2003||TEN 27, @HOU 24|
|Oct 12, 2003||TEN 38, HOU 17|
|Dec 29, 2002||TEN 13, @HOU 3|
|Nov 10, 2002||TEN 17, HOU 10|