SEATTLE — Vince Young rebounded from his worst start of the season on Christmas night against San Diego with a solid performance that provided a nice assist to Chris Johnson in his successful quest for 2,000 yards on Sunday.
Young was 17 of 28 for 171 yards with one interception in helping the Titans past the Seahawks, 17-13. He finished his return as the starting quarterback with an 8-2 mark over 10 games. That would appear to have Young entrenched as the Titans starting quarterback for the foreseeable future, one that Young says will include a Super Bowl next year.
Asked what his pledge for 2010 might be, the fourth-year quarterback did not hesitate.
“Super Bowl, Super Bowl, Super Bowl,” Young said. “My prediction is that we are making it to the Super Bowl. The fact is, I’m going to work so hard in the off-season, so I can lead my teammates better. That’s what I want to leave with right there.”
Young said he was pleased with his progress this season after beginning the year mired on the bench behind Kerry Collins. It was only at the insistence of owner Bud Adams that Young was reinserted into the lineup as the starter after an 0-6 start.
“I’m getting to know the game a little more,” Young said. “I’m pretty pleased with how I finished the season. It could be better, but at the same time, starting off in the middle of the season how things progressed, that we could have made it to the playoffs and things like that.
“I’m pretty happy with how I finished the season, but at the same time, I’m planning on having an even better year next year.”
Young finished the season 152 of 259 for 1,879 yards with 10 touchdowns and seven interceptions. His 82.8 passer rating is a career high.
On Sunday, Young’s primary job was to keep the chains moving in the second half and take advantage of a stacked box that was trying to keep Chris Johnson out of the NFL record book.
“That was my job today – to keep the defense off C.J. and complete my passes down the field,” Young said.
The Titans’ 2009 season will go into the books overall as a disappointment, considering they finished 13-3 a year ago and slumped to 8-8 this season.
But, given their 0-6 start, players and coaches took some consolation in being the first team in NFL history to finish at .500 after such a terrible start.
“This couldn’t have worked out any better for us,” Coach Jeff Fisher said of getting Johnson his 2,000 yards and still winning to finish 8-8. “To win the game, and also to accomplish what we did.”
And while the playoffs aren’t in the cards for the Titans, they came away pleased that they were able to finish in the middle of the pack, rather than at the bottom where they stood after six weeks.
“To go 8-2, that is positive,” safety Michael Griffin said. “It is something to look forward to in the off-season. … I think right now everyone knows what we have. We are going to work toward next season.”
Even Johnson, who was the focal point of Sunday with his reaching 2,000 yards, reflected on what might have been for the Titans.
“We could have easily been a playoff team, if we could have won two or three out of the first six,” Johnson said. “We know next year we can’t start off behind the eight-ball like that.”
The outcome wasn’t decided until the final series, when rookie Gerald McRath intercepted a Matt Hasselbeck on fourth-and-9 from the Tennessee 27 with 1:19 to play. It was the rookie’s first career interception.
McRath has been starting at linebacker with David Thornton out because of a shoulder injury. It was his fifth career start.
Also, defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks had one of three sacks by the Titans against Hasselbeck, as Griffin and safety Chris Hope had the other two.
The Titans finished third in the AFC South behind Indianapolis and Houston, but ahead of Jacksonville. That finish firms up the Titans list of opponents for 2010. It means the Titans will travel to Miami to face the Dolphins from the AFC East and will host the Pittsburgh Steelers from the AFC North next year.
The Titans play the entire AFC West and NFC East next year.
The Titans home games next year will also include their three division rivals, and games against Oakland, Denver, Philadelphia and Washington.
Road games in addition to the division games and Miami include San Diego, Kansas City, the New York Giants and Dallas.
The NFL releases its schedule in April.