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(Sunday, November 29th)
Final Score: Tennessee 20, Arizona 17
Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Vince Young led Tennessee on a 99-yard game- winning drive, which he capped with a 10-yard touchdown throw to Kenny Britt as time expired, to lift the Titans to a 20-17 victory over the Arizona Cardinals.
As a result, the Titans (5-6) became the first team ever to win five in a row after beginning the season with six consecutive defeats.
Young has been at the center of Tennessee's resurgence, as he got his first start of the season on November 1 and helped the Titans to their first win. Neither he nor the Titans have lost since.
Young completed 27-of-43 passes for a career-high 387 yards, and engineered the late drive after the Titans' chances for victory took a big blow with just under five minutes to play, when Britt fumbled the ball away after making a 51-yard reception deep in Arizona territory.
But the Cardinals punted, and the Titans went 99 yards in 18 plays over the final 2:37. Young converted three fourth downs on the drive, including the game-winning touchdown throw to Britt.
"That's the biggest thing. We're going to have mistakes, everyone's not perfect," Young said. "We just have to be ready."
The rookie Britt finished with seven catches for 128 yards, while Chris Johnson ran for 154 yards on 18 carries, including an 85-yard touchdown run for the Titans, who finished with 532 total yards.
"I'm very proud of Vince. The first six games when we went 0-6, a lot of times the ball didn't bounce our way. Finally the ball is bouncing our way."
Matt Leinart got the start for Arizona (7-4) after Kurt Warner was inactive because of a blow to the head suffered last week, and completed 21-of-31 throws for 220 yards.
Tim Hightower had a rushing score for the Cardinals, who had won three in a row, while LaRod Stephens-Howling recorded a 99-yard kickoff return for a score.
"Probably as close to a bad feeling as losing the Super Bowl," said Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt, referencing his team's loss to the Steelers in last season's Super Bowl. "It's as close to that as possible. We knew today it was going to be difficult against this team...When you're six seconds away from winning it, it makes it even tougher."
Sunday's game was a rematch of sorts of the 2006 Rose Bowl, played between the Young-led Texas Longhorns and Leinart's USC Trojans as the national championship. In that contest, Young ran for two scores late in the game to give Texas a 41-38 victory, and on Sunday he got the better of Leinart again with his late-game efficiency and coolness.
He displayed some of that with his 51-yard pass to Britt over the middle, though the Titans' momentum was halted by the receiver's fumble. Britt had made the catch at the Arizona 24 and fallen to the ground without being touched, but Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie flew in from behind and knocked the ball loose.
The Tennessee defense forced the Cardinals into a three-and-out, but Stephens- Howling downed the punt at the one-yard line, leaving the Titans with a 99- yard field, 2:37 on the clock and two timeouts.
Tennessee trailed by four and needed a touchdown, and looked to be in serious trouble after facing a 4th-and-4 and the seven. But Young threw to Britt, who appeared to yank the ball away from his defender for a 10-yard gain.
Young then had his pass over the middle tipped in the air, but tight end Bo Scaife raced in to make the catch for a 19-yard gain. Young then completed a two-yard pass to Lavelle Hawkins, who stepped out of bounds with 1:09 to go.
The Titans continued to use the sidelines expertly in going downfield, though a couple incompletions on put Tennessee in a 4th-and-4 at the Arizona 44. However, Young found Hawkins for 13 yards to move the chains, and Hawkins went out of bounds to stop the clock with 37 seconds left.
Young later went to tight end Jared Cook for a 17-yard gain to advance the ball to the nine, and Cook got out of bounds to stop the clock with 21 ticks to go.
The play put the Titans in a 1st-and-goal with both their timeouts left, which was crucial, as Young was sacked for a one-yard loss on second down, forcing Tennessee to call a timeout with 11 seconds left.
Young threw incomplete again on third down to bring up the final play with six seconds left. After both teams called a timeout, he tossed a high dart over the middle, and Britt came flying in to make the catch and give the Titans the win.
"We've worked on that scramble drill all week in practice," Britt said. "Whenever Vince starts to run, I just have to stay alive and that's what I did."
A low-scoring first half saw Rob Bironas kick a 52-yard field goal nearly five minutes into the first quarter. Bironas booted a 24-yarder shortly into the second for a 6-0 lead, and Neil Rackers hit from 41 yards out with 1:55 left in the half.
The Titans had a chance to score after Rackers' field goal, as they got to the Arizona 11 with eight seconds left, but Young scrambled and was sacked as time ran out.
Two long touchdown plays put some life in the contest late in the third quarter.
On the second play of a Titans drive, Johnson, the NFL's leading rusher, found a hole on the left side of the line, got to the sideline and sprinted past everybody. He was tackled as he crossed the goal line, giving the Titans a 13-3 lead with 3:37 left.
But Arizona countered on the ensuing kickoff, as Stephens-Howling got the ball at the one, ran up the middle and made a hard cut to the right through the Tennessee coverage. He ran untouched the rest of the way to the end zone, making it a 13-10 contest.
The Cardinals bridged the final two quarters with an 80-yard scoring drive to take the lead. Leinart led the series, completing four passes for 61 yards. His 21-yard deep throw to Beanie Wells put the ball at the Titans' 13, and Hightower finished the drive from there.
Hightower ran for seven yards before taking a pitch and spinning off a defender before getting into the end zone, as Arizona took a 17-13 lead with 12:20 left.
Leinart got his first start since 2007...Johnson is trying to become the sixth 2,000-yard rusher in NFL history. His 154 yards Sunday moved his season total to 1,396...Hightower finished with 11 carries for 55 yards...Arizona receiver Larry Fitzgerald caught four passes for 34 yards as he recorded his 500th career catch. He entered the contest with 497.
11/29 21:23:54 ET
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