Young gets pulled, doesn't pull a repeat of '07 in Titans' defeat

Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 5:59pm

There were seven minutes, 10 seconds to go when linebacker Stephen Tulloch decided it was time to strut. He forced a punt with a huge hit on Pittsburgh Steelers’ tight end Heath Miller and spread his arms wide toward the stands on the west side of LP Field in order to soak in the admiration.

Directly in front of the third-year linebacker, on the Tennessee Titans’ sideline stood quarterback Vince Young. It was there that Young had watched most of the previous seven-plus minutes of play, and it was there that he watched nearly all of the remaining action, hands – more often than not – on his hips, defiant yet dismayed.

Such was the unbalanced nature of the Titans’ performance Sunday in a 19-11 loss that evened their record at 1-1 before a sellout crowd, many of whom headed for the exits early.

The defense deserved all manner of praise for having held the Steelers to field goal after field goal after field goal after the offense had committed turnover after turnover after turnover. Looking for “a spark,” coach Jeff Fisher sent word to Young at the start of the fourth quarter to remain on the sideline and let veteran Kerry Collins go at it.

“(Fisher) didn’t tell me at all,” Young said. “He’s the head coach. He makes his decisions.

“… Definitely put this one on me. I definitely did make some mistakes turning the ball over. They did some things I ain’t seen before.”

The Titans gave it up seven times with three interceptions and four fumbles (believe it or not, they also recovered three of their own fumbles), but the Steelers (2-0) managed just four field goals as a result and had a total of 127 yards of offense for the contest. Their lone touchdown came on the game’s opening kickoff.

Not all of the giveaways were Young’s fault either.

He did throw the first of his two interceptions in the end zone when the Titans had a chance to take the lead with just under six minutes to play in the first quarter.

By that time, though, Marc Mariani already had fumbled the first kickoff he received. And before Collins drove the offense 88 yards for Tennessee’s only touchdown and reduced the difference to a single score with less than a minute to play, he threw one interception and lost a fumble as he managed just one first down on his first three possessions.

“Seven turnovers … come on,” Fisher said. “To commit seven turnovers and still have a remote chance at the end?
 “I made a decision to get a spark and go with Kerry. Vince is still our starter. He will start next week against the Giants – there is no quarterback controversy. I just needed to make that decision. I thought it was the best decision for the team. I’m not going to get into the details. I just needed to make a change.”

The only time during the fourth quarter Young moved off his spot near the 40-yard line was when Collins finally got the offense moving. Once the Titans crossed midfield on their way to Nate Washington’s touchdown catch with 58 seconds to go, he retreated to the other end of the bench. There he once again stood alone, hands on hips.

That made him easy for teammates to find. Many of them did throughout the fourth quarter and offered pats on the back or shoulder rather than pointed fingers.

“I’m a veteran on the team, all I can do is support him,” safety Chris Hope said. “I never played quarterback. I can’t imagine playing against a (Steelers’ defensive coordinator) Dick LeBeau defense and all the different looks they give you or to feel when (Young) went through (Sunday).”

In addition to the two interceptions, Young also lost a fumble. He was under center for 10 possessions, half of which resulted in a net of zero or lost yards, and just five first downs.

It was dramatic a turnaround from his Week 1 performance in a victory against Oakland (he entered this week as the NFL’s leader in passer rating), but it also was a big change from the last time he got pulled – Sept. 7, 2007 when frustration over his play, the fans’ reaction to it and a knee injury prompted Fisher to stay with Collins for the rest of that season and all of the one that followed.

This time the change was temporary because so were Young’s feelings about the game.

“Back in the day I probably couldn’t (get over it),” Young said. “But right now, I’m mature about the situation. Back in the day, you probably wouldn’t see me talking to (the media) after a loss, but … I understand that these things happen.

“I put that one on me – (two) interceptions and a fumble – but at the same time move on.”

7 Comments on this post:

By: jwk6179 on 9/20/10 at 6:03

There were seven minutes, 10 seconds to go when linebacker Stephen Tulloch decided it was time to strut.

You're LOSING 19-3 at the time (and the game wasn't as close as the score indicated) and Stephen Tulloch decides it time to STRUT. Why didn't Tulloch just go ahead a STOMP on the Terrible Towel in the middle of the field, too. Fisher should have pulled a Tom Landry and benched Tulloch's ME FIRST ASS in that situation.

By: cval on 9/20/10 at 8:50

Deion Sanders is stressing on NFL Network how Fisher shouldn't have had the audacity to bench VY after VY "saved Coach Fisher's job twice." Sanders has had such cocky and racist attitudes since high school in N. Ft. Myers H.S., where he routinely skipped practices because he knew he was so good the coach would still play him in the game, no matter what was said. It is sad that such a talented player would reduce a normal issue of growing pains for a young QB to such outlandish statements.
I hope VY and Chis Johnson apply themselves to film study this week and learn what went wrong and how to prevent it from repeating rather than fomenting the poison pill espoused by that idiot Sanders.
Exactly when and how did VY save Fisher's job anyway? What insanity.

By: TITAN1 on 9/20/10 at 8:58

VY was not sharp like he was last week, but neither was the OL. Hope they jell this week.

By: Jokapsig on 9/20/10 at 9:41

The defense looked very good sans the Steelers trick play, but no whining. Hey, VY wasn't getting the job done but neither were the Titans on offense.

Seven turnovers will get you beat everytime. 'Nuff said already.

By: richgoose on 9/20/10 at 9:47

Titan1......I am glad to see you posting again. It would not be the same without you posting your loyalty to the Titans.

We all admire your willingness to overlook anything negative about the Titans. I am sure Bud Adams wishes all the Titan fans were as loyal as you are.

By: Titan9282 on 9/20/10 at 12:20

Look, we got our butts handed to us yesterday. VY was not good, although he only missed 3 passes (2 of those INTs). The offense line looked like the Raiders, and CJ could bang through the hole because he was going to get his head taken off his shoulders. It was an all-around offensive mess. The Defense, in my opinion, looked fantastic. They never got down or out of it. They fought and kept us in the game. People say "Ohhh, well, they were going against the 4th string QB", True. They were. However, the Steelers told him to hold onto the ball. They did not take any risks. But, when your offense puts your defense on your 20 yeard line and they score 3 points, that says a lot. Our offense put our defense in bad situations all day. Also, when you have 7 turnovers, and 0 TDs, that is W for your defense.

With all that being said, I do not think Vince should have came out. How does he learn from that????? If he is your guy, you keep him in the game, NO MATTER WHAT!!!!!! I think everyone should have 24 hour memory on this one. We have to go go to the Giants this week. they got it handed to them yesterday as well. They are going to be hungry and angry. Lets get a game plan togerther and move on. We win this week, all this QB talk ges away. I think we will bounce back and win this week. I hope the fans jumps back on the Titans train and try to ride this thing out. GO TITANS!!!!!!!!!

By: TITAN1 on 9/20/10 at 12:47

I'm with you Titan9282. I have been riding this train since they were the Oilers while temporarily in Memphis. Never have gotten off, never will. They are the home town team, win or lose!