Arizona’s Kurt Warner(notes) has made 41 straight starts and it appears that streak will continue. Vince Young’s(notes) streak pales in comparison at four, but the surging Tennessee Titans couldn’t be more pleased with his results.
The quarterbacks will likely meet for the first time Sunday, with Warner looking to return from concussion-like symptoms as the Cardinals try to snap the Titans’ four-game win streak.
Warner’s head slammed into the turf on a hit from Rams safety O.J. Atogwe in the second quarter of last weekend’s 21-13 victory. He stayed in to finish a touchdown drive before leaving for good.
Warner - among the league leaders with 20 touchdown passes - went through a full practice Wednesday and said he passed the required mental tests. He said he plans to be cautious as he prepares through the week but all signs were good that he would start.
If Warner can’t go, Matt Leinart(notes) would start after he failed to produce any points against the Rams. That would match up Leinart and Young for the first time since their epic showdown in the 2006 Rose Bowl, when Young rushed for 200 yards and three scores as Texas won 41-38 over Leinart and Southern California.
That effort was a big reason why Young was the first quarterback taken in the draft that year at No. 3 overall - seven spots ahead of Leinart. It’s well documented how Young started his first two seasons before losing his job to Kerry Collins(notes) in 2008 as the Titans went 13-3 for the league’s best record.
Young has taken over and produced four victories since the Titans’ 0-6 start, giving him eight straight and a record of 22-11 as a starter. Only Tom Brady(notes), Ben Roethlisberger(notes) and Philip Rivers(notes) have better winning percentages among quarterbacks drafted since 2000.
Young showed some of the running skills he displayed in that Rose Bowl in Monday’s 20-17 win at Houston. He rushed 11 times for 73 yards - with six carries for first downs.
“Just be patient. If it’s there, take advantage of it. If it’s not there, get the ball to our guys underneath and use my legs as well. It’s just all about being patient. And if it’s not there, we’ll punt the ball away and let our defense go out there and give the ball back to us,” Young said.
The Titans are the first team to win four straight after an 0-6 start.
“We’re playing real good and we have a lot of confidence going with this team right now, and we are just going to keep playing and keep taking it one by one,” linebacker Keith Bulluck(notes) said. “We got four, and right now we are going for five.”
Young hasn’t been forced to do too much with NFL leading rusher Chris Johnson in his backfield. Johnson has already surpassed his total of 1,228 yards as a rookie last year, and has five straight 100-yard efforts with an average of 161.5 during the winning streak.
Johnson scored two touchdowns in three straight games before failing to reach the end zone Monday.
Whoever starts at quarterback for the Cardinals (7-3) will try to take advantage of the worst pass defense in the AFC. The Titans are allowing 271.7 yards per game through the air, and Matt Schaub(notes) recorded the sixth 300-yard effort against them with 305 on Monday.
Arizona has won three straight and leads San Francisco by three games in the NFC West. The Cardinals are 5-0 on the road for the first time since winning all seven of their away games while based in Chicago in 1948.
This is the Cardinals’ first visit to Tennessee. Arizona won 20-10 in 2005 in the last meeting.