Sunday Scene, Week 12: Vince Young re-arrives

Vince Young's(notes) football career has not lacked drama, so we'll resist the temptation to call Sunday's comeback victory over Arizona a signature win.

Hell, it wasn't even Young's biggest win against Matt Leinart(notes). That would be the 2006 Rose Bowl. And it wasn't even his biggest win in the NFL in Week 12. That would be the Kiwanuka game in Young's rookie season.

But if you consider where V.Y. appeared to be in his career arc just one year ago – ruined, forgotten, deeply benched – then Sunday's brilliant effort against the Cardinals has to rank among the more remarkable performances of his career.

Young led a 99-yard drive over the final 2:37, completing three passes on fourth down, including the 10-yard game-winner to Kenny Britt(notes). Video here. Note the patience and touch. Young established new personal highs in both passing yards (387) and pass attempts (43). For the first time in his NFL career, he threw 30 or more passes without committing a turnover. If it wasn't a signature win, then it was at least a reminder of Young's obnoxious talent.

It was also a clear warning to the rest of the league. Tennessee hasn't lost since Young reclaimed the starting quarterback role. In a way, next week's Titans-Colts game feels like a battle of unbeatens. Young is as dangerous as ever, though not as reckless. Time to shed the skepticism and enjoy the spectacle.

Fourth Quarter

Chris Johnson is obviously more than a footnote in Tennessee's resurgence. Were it not for Young's exploits on the Titans' final drive, Johnson would have been Sunday's headliner (again). He ran for 154 yards on 18 carries against Arizona, topping 125 rushing yards for the sixth straight game. Earl Campbell and Eric Dickerson are the only other backs in NFL history to put together such streaks – that's the company Johnson keeps. He's now on pace for a 2,031-yard season. Here's a link to this week's ridiculous highlight. Tacklers take extreme angles on Johnson, yet they still can't touch him.

OK, just one more note from the day's best game: Arizona's LaRod Stephens-Howling(notes) delivered one of the better special team efforts in recent memory. The rookie returned a kickoff for a 99-yard touchdown in the third quarter and he downed a pair of punts inside the 5-yard line.

Jamaal Charles(notes) continues to produce useful fantasy lines in difficult matchups. He followed his two-touchdown effort against Pittsburgh with 147 total yards and one score in Sunday's blowout loss at San Diego. The schedule is much friendlier in the weeks ahead: DEN, BUF, CLE. The Bills and Browns both entered Week 12 allowing over 150 rushing yards per game and 4.5 per carry.

The Colts clinched the AFC South when Jacksonville lost at San Francisco on Sunday, so we've moved another step closer to the annual Festival of Sorgi in Indianapolis. Anticipate a light workload for Manning, Wayne and Addai in the closing weeks; make your plans now. Pierre Garcon(notes) and Donald Brown(notes) should not be so widely available.

Percy Harvin(notes) had his first career 100-yard game on Sunday and Brett Favre(notes) had his billionth 300-yarder. Favre tossed three touchdown passes against Chicago, giving him 24 TDs and only three picks on the year. He's never finished a season with fewer than 13 interceptions, so he's basically in uncharted territory…at age 40. There was no good reason for Adrian Peterson to be on the field late in the fourth quarter, but we'll quietly accept the garbage time yards and the rushing TD.

If you expected anything more from Chicago than a 36-10 loss, that's really on you. The Bears are cooked. They'll face St. Louis next week, then it's Green Bay, Baltimore and Minnesota again during the most important weeks of the fantasy year.

After Philly's 27-24 win over Washington, Brent Celek(notes) suggested that "he might have torn ligaments in the hand." That would help explain the uncharacteristically sloppy day from the Eagles' tight end.

Cedric Benson(notes) said a bunch of nice things after watching Larry Johnson(notes) and Bernard Scott(notes) combine for 194 yards against Cleveland…

"Seeing those guys get in there and perform the way they did is a great sign knowing we’ve got a good backup in B-Scott and Larry provided a great hand. But it’s really exciting to see the offensive line move guys around. Both those guys almost had 100 yards today. That was the biggest thrill of the day."

…but it's clearly his intention to return in Week 13, and not to a committee:

When asked if there were enough carries to go around for three quality backs, Benson was a bit bemused.

"That’s a weird question," he said. "I didn’t know I was going to share time. Is that what you’re implying? If it wasn’t like that before I don’t know why it'd be like that."

OK then. It's all you, Ced.

According to the Bengals' team site, Scott suffered "a turf toe in the first series of the game."

Posted at 9:35 pm ET


Third Quarter

Antonio Gates(notes) entered Week 12 with just two touchdown receptions on the year, after averaging 9.8 TDs per season over the previous five. Yardage has not been a problem, as Gates is on pace for his second 1,000-yard season. He's had his way with Kansas City in the first half on Sunday; Gates has six catches for 96 yards and two scores. He's usually the only guy in the frame when the ball arrives. The Chargers lead 28-7 after two quarters, so expect a Sproles/LT double feature in the final 30 minutes.

Alex Smith had an outstanding first half, completing 18 of 29 passes for 169 yards and two TDs. The Smith-to-Vernon Davis(notes) connection continues to be one of the more improbable success stories of 2009. Davis has five receptions for 61 yards and a score. Loved this call on fourth-and-1; that's an outstanding throw and catch.

It all worked out in the end, but Jared Allen(notes) had no business attempting a lateral (illegally) after picking off a deflected pass in the second quarter, at his own 37. That's a strange compulsion that many elite defense players suffer from.

Team Bironas leads Team Rackers at half, 6-3. Vince Young has looked great, but that sack to end the second quarter earned a demerit.

Malcom Floyd(notes) is the undisputed master of long receptions that somehow don't end in touchdowns. He caught a 53-yarder in the second quarter against the Chiefs, landing inside the 1-yard line. The play was ruled a TD on the field, but later overturned. LaDainian Tomlinson(notes) took the plunge for San Diego on the next play.

DeSean Jackson(notes) was flattened by linebacker London Fletcher(notes) in the third quarter in Philly, and he left the game with what the team initially called a head or neck injury. The Daily News now reports that D-Jax suffered a concussion on the hit. His availability for the Week 13 matchup with Atlanta is obviously in doubt.

Posted at 6:00 pm ET


Second Quarter

Over the past three weeks, Seattle running back Justin Forsett(notes) has gained 368 combined yards and he's broken the plane four times. Forsett accounted for nearly half of the Seahawks' total net yards in the Week 12 win at St. Louis, rushing 22 times for 130 yards and two scores. Julius Jones(notes) (lung, ribs) may return in Week 13, but Forsett has clearly carved out a role – hopefully a starting role. He has 40 fewer carries than Jones so far this year, but he's nearly matched the veteran in rushing yards, 385 to 392.

It was a pyrrhic victory for Atlanta in Week 12. They narrowly edged Tampa Bay, thanks to a 5-yard Roddy White(notes) touchdown reception in the final minute, but the Falcons lost quarterback Matt Ryan(notes) to an early toe injury (see below) and Michael Turner(notes) aggravated his ankle sprain. And Jason Elam(notes) missed another field goal.

It's obviously six days too early to make guesses about Turner's availability for Week 13, but Jerious Norwood(notes) looks like a solid speculative add. He had 50 total yards and a touchdown against the Bucs.

After replaying LeSean McCoy's(notes) two-point conversion multiple times, I still have no idea how he remained upright before crossing the goal line. Freakish balance there. It seems unfair that Washington lost on a day when they managed to score 24 points and Jason Campbell(notes) accounted for three TDs.

On the first play of Indy's go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter at Houston, Joseph Addai(notes) was leveled by Dunta Robinson(notes)…but he somehow held onto the football. Addai finished with another sneaky-good fantasy line (18 touches, 82 yards) and all the usual suspects had touchdown receptions for the Colts (Clark, Wayne, Garcon). Matt Schaub(notes) didn't quite pull a full Rosenfels, but he did have a pair of fourth quarter turnovers, one of which was returned for a score.

Fred Jackson(notes) dominated the backfield workload for Buffalo, finishing with 116 total yards and two TDs on 20 touches. Marshawn Lynch(notes) entered the week with a shoulder injury; he exits with only a supporting role in the Bills' offense. The Ryan Fitzpatrick(notes)-to-Terrell Owens magic continued, as T.O. hauled in a 51-yard score during Buffalo's 24-point fourth quarter. Video here. Pretty throw, apparently off an audible.

How well has Cincinnati's offensive line run-blocked this year? Check out Sunday's numbers:

That's 107 rushing yards for Larry Johnson, who entered the week averaging fewer than 3.0 yards per carry. Cedric Benson should return to face Detroit in Week 13, but clearly the Bengals will deliver a big rushing total no matter who gets the carries.

After putting a couple early interceptions on the board, Jake Delhomme(notes) descended into total recklessness. He completed only 13 passes on 33 attempts and tossed four picks. he nearly had a touchdown pass to Steve Smith, but it was (rightly) overturned by replay.

Give credit to Colts hands-teamer Jacob Tamme(notes) for understanding that knocking the football out of bounds on an onside kick is really just as useful as recovering, and often easier.

Posted at 5:00 pm ET


And it's official: Kurt Warner(notes) is inactive for the Cardinals. Matt Leinart will start. He's tough to trust, but your options are clearly limited. Expect both Tim Hightower(notes) and Beanie Wells(notes) to get significant work against the Titans.

Updated at 3:15 pm ET


First Quarter

Matt Ryan threw just three passes against the Bucs on Sunday before heading to the sidelines with a toe injury. Chris Redman(notes) has taken over at quarterback for the Falcons.

Ryan suffered the injury on a sack, as Tampa defensive end Stylez White rolled over his right foot. He looked seriously uncomfortable on the bench, then headed for the locker room with trainers.

Michael Turner (ankle) hasn't been terribly effective in his return (10 carries for 12 yards), but Jerious Norwood has gained 39 yards and scored a touchdown. Norwood appeared to be as explosive as ever on his 22-yard TD. Video evidence here.

Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner (head) isn't expected to face Tennessee in Week 12 after waking up "not totally 100 percent" on Sunday morning. Matt Leinart will get the start in the 2006 Rose Bowl reenactment.

Brian Hartline(notes) wasn't initially open on his 4-yard touchdown reception, but Chad Henne(notes) smartly led him to the back of the end zone. Terrific improvisation, well executed. Henne certainly throws a better ball than Ricky Williams(notes). (Ricky's drive-killing INT can be found here).

DeSean Jackson's 35-yard score against Washington was one of the easiest of his season. A 'Skins corner let him go down the sideline and nobody picked him up. D-Jax should have two TDs, but a miserable offensive interference call on Brent Celek negated the first.

Darrelle Revis'(notes) first interception (a pick-six) was an absolute gift, the result of an obvious miscommunication between Jake Delhomme and Steve Smith. The throw hit Smith in the foot as he ran away from the ball, then bounced directly to the Jets' corner. But Revis' second interception was simply the result of outstanding coverage. That guy is an every-week problem.

No challenge on the Antonio Bryant(notes) TD? Really? He appeared to be down by contact, but the red flag was pocketed.

Philadelphia opened with an onside kick against Washington, a play that we fully endorsed as it happened. (Element of surprise, trust the defense, etc). But Quinton Ganther(notes) recovered for the 'Skins and Washington quickly marched to the goal line. Antwaan Randle El(notes) fell just inches short of a score on a 10-yard reception, then Jason Campbell broke the plane on first-and-goal.

Shonn Greene(notes) might never see the field again after his first half fumble. That's a miserable game thus far. Hardly a clinic. Avert your eyes.

Justin Forsett made a nifty jump-cut on his 3-yard TD run at St. Louis. He's on a 100-yard pace at half, carrying the load for Seattle with Julius Jones still sidelined.

Sage Rosenfels(notes) is safely stashed on someone else's roster, so perhaps the Texans' 13-point halftime lead is safe. We'll see. For fantasy playoff purposes, we'll need Indy to lose a game…soon.

Posted at 2:50 pm ET


Early updates: Cedric Benson and Julius Jones are reportedly INACTIVE in Week 12, so Bernard Scott and Justin Forsestt are both strong plays. Steven Jackson and Michael Turner are ACTIVE. Jason Snelling(notes) gets an obvious downgrade.

Updated at 11:45 am ET



The Dennis Dixon(notes) Era is finally upon us! Rejoice! Be not sad!

Ben Roethlisberger(notes) won't start this week, but pretty much everyone else is a game-time decision. Please hit Fantasy Football Live at noon ET for last-minute information and advice. We'll convey all the active/inactive news as it breaks.

Now let's go get a win over the Yokohama Yaks...


Photos via Getty Images (Steelers fan, Young), AP Images (Ryan, Forsett) and US Presswire (Gates)

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