Vince Young Gets Best Of Reggie Bush Again
Tuesday, September 25th 2007, 7:33 am
News On 6
NEW ORLEANS (AP) _ Vince Young is tired of talking about his supposed rivalry with Reggie Bush.
Heck, the Tennessee quarterback even called up Bush when he needed tickets for the game against the Saints.
``He came through for me,'' Young said. ``That was a good deal by Reg. I appreciate that.''
Not that he showed a lot of gratitude on the field.
Young threw a pair of touchdown passes and the Titans kept up the surge that started last season, beating the winless Saints 31-14 Monday night before a Superdome crowd that showered boos on the same players who provided such a pick-me-up to the devastated city a year ago.
The Saints (0-3) rallied from an early 10-0 deficit, going ahead 14-10 midway through the third quarter on Bush's second 1-yard touchdown run.
But Young, just as he did leading Texas to an epic win over Bush and Southern Cal at the 2006 Rose Bowl, brought his team back.
Just don't bring up Pasadena again. Young is more concerned with keeping up the momentum from last year's 8-3 finish after the Titans started 0-5.
``I'm tired of it,'' Young said of the continuing link to Bush. ``A lot of people keep trying to make this a rivalry between me and Reggie. I have so much respect for the guy because of what he does.''
While running backs LenDale White and Chris Brown handled the bulk of the workload on the go-ahead drive, Young threaded a key 10-yard pass to Eric Moulds, who was shoved out of bounds at the Saints 1. White, a teammate of Bush's at USC, powered over on the next play to put the Titans (2-1) ahead to stay.
``When it's time for us to get that drive,'' Young said, ``I want to do whatever it takes to win a ballgame.''
Drew Brees, who had another miserable game, got the ball knocked away on the first play of the fourth quarter, the second of his five turnovers. Young seized on the fumble to drive Tennessee to the decisive score.
The second-year quarterback completed an 18-yard pass to Roydell Williams, ran for 11 yards and capped the drive with a 3-yard pass to Bo Scaife that put the Titans up 24-14.
Young also hooked up with Brandon Jones on a 35-yard TD and finished off an efficient performance 14-of-22 for 164 yards. For good measure, he ran three times for 23 yards.
While Bush scored both TDs for the Saints, the Tennessee defense kept him bottled up for the most part. He was held to 15 yards on seven carries and managed just 20 yards on his six receptions, the quick stutter-step that froze so many defenders a year ago no longer working.
``Obviously it's not the same as last year,'' Bush said. ``We're just not playing good football. We've got a lot of work to do.''
No one has more work to do than Brees, who led the NFL in yards passing last season but can't seem to do anything right now. He threw a career-worst four interceptions _ three of them picked off by Keith Bulluck, who had never had more than one in a game. Vince Fuller returned the other 61 yards for a touchdown with his first career pick.
Brees now has seven interceptions, against one touchdown pass.
Earlier in the week, Bulluck referred to himself as ``Mr. Monday Night.'' He certainly lived up to the title.
``I feel if you can't get it done on Monday Night Football, you'll never be able to get it done,'' the linebacker said. ``I backed it up.''
Even with all the interceptions, Brees' fumble was the most devastating turnover. The Saints were still in the game and had driven into Tennessee territory, but Travis LaBoy knocked the ball away with a blindside hit and Randy Starks recovered for the Titans at midfield.
``The momentum shifted from there,'' Brees said. ``We never got it back.''
As if another loss wasn't bad enough, New Orleans running back Deuce McAllister went out with an injured left knee in the first half.
What a contrast to last year's home opener in the Big Easy, when the Saints returned to a refurbished Superdome that was the scene of so much misery after Hurricane Katrina slammed ashore in the summer of 2005.
That game, also on a Monday night, had U2 and Green Day team up for a pregame concert, former President Bush take part in the coin toss and the Saints blow out Michael Vick and the Atlanta Falcons, leading to a raucous celebration the city so desperately needed.
The Saints went on from there to capture the NFC South championship, and came within one win of their first trip to the Super Bowl.
A year later, the Super Bowl already looks out of reach and, more than anything, the Saints just need a win.
How bad are things going? Defensive leader Scott Fujita had this assessment:
``Steve Weatherford is playing great,'' Fujita said of the team's punter. ``Other than that, we're not playing worth a damn.''