NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee quarterback Vince Young starts sprinting out with Chris Johnson, the NFL's leading rusher, to his right.
Opponents must choose which to defend.
Talk about a difficult decision.
Young and Johnson are showing how to run the option in the NFL, and the Tennessee Titans won their third straight after an 0-6 start with a 41-17 victory over the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Johnson ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and added 100 yards receiving, while Young threw for 210 yards and a TD with 29 yards rushing himself.
"It's fun," Young said of the option. "Definitely when you've got a guy like me and CJ in the backfield ... If they take CJ, I get to showcase my speed and make moves, things like that. They take me, I pitch it to the Sonic Hedgehog."
Tennessee (3-6) finished with 168 yards rushing against the NFL's worst run defense, which was missing four starters with injuries. Buffalo coach Dick Jauron said Johnson's speed is exceptional, bringing a new dimension to a difficult play to defend.
"Among a lot of really good athletes on their squad, but the quarterback and the running back are two exceptional athletes and make it very difficult to defend," Jauron said.
Johnson has four straight 100-yard rushing performances, and the back who ran onto the field carrying an American flag and took home Terrell Owens' jersey as a souvenir was the first to 1,000 yards in the NFL this season.
"I would be surprised if he isn't up for MVP of the league at the end of the year," Titans tight end Bo Scaife said. "The MVP of the whole league, not just the best running back, but the best player period."
Buffalo (3-6) now has lost two straight. The Bills scored on their opening drive when Fred Jackson found Lee Evans on a 27-yard TD pass off a wildcat formation and tied it at 17 in the third quarter on Rian Lindell's 25-yard field goal.
But Johnson put the Titans ahead to stay with a 1-yard TD run as the first of 24 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, and Vincent Fuller and Rod Hood each ran back interceptions for touchdowns that had Titans owner Bud Adams dancing in his luxury box.
The Bills took another injury hit with left tackle Demetrius Bell hurting his knee and missing the second half. Trent Edwards made his first start since suffering a concussion Oct. 18 and had an 8-yard TD pass to Evans. But he had some passes batted down, was sacked and was benched after missing a wide-open Owens.
Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn't any better and also had a pass picked off.
"The two interceptions at the end just made things look significantly worse than it was, and it's always bad to lose," Jauron said.
Owens, who had yelled at coaches on the sideline in the first half, wasn't very happy even though he kept his Twitter promise to give Johnson his jersey if the Bills lost.
"What's new?" Owens said. "That's how it's been the last seven or eight weeks. We lose games in the third or fourth quarter."
The Titans outgained Buffalo 378-296 as the Bills hurt themselves with 10 penalties — at least five on false starts by the offensive line. The Titans are much more relaxed with this streak and unselfish, too. Young threw a block on Reggie Corner to free up Johnson after he cut back right with a short pass.
Young joked he didn't want to do a "Brett Favre" on the block. Johnson said that's just a sign of how much Young wants to win, and Young now has won seven straight starts and all three on this streak since returning as the starting quarterback. He was picked off once — his first since returning to the starting lineup.
But Titans coach Jeff Fisher said everyone can see Young is relaxed and having fun.
"Nobody is pressing, and the plays are starting to come," Fisher said.comments powered by Disqus