The Washington Redskins are looking to bounce back after an embarrassing effort last week, and could have their hands full again against another agile quarterback.
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The Tennessee Titans have lost their starting quarterback in three of the previous four games, but will try to keep Vince Young upright as these two teams meet at LP Field on Sunday.
Washington allowed Michael Vick to account for 413 total yards and six touchdowns – including 80 rushing yards and two scores – in a 59-28 defeat Monday night, and now has to face Young, who has rushed for 386 yards since the start of the 2009 season – the fourth-most at his position.
Young has posted a career-best passer rating of 97.6, and is starting to feel more comfortable under center and looking forward to getting on the field Sunday.
"Growing up, more reps, and getting more familiar with the offense, knowing where your guys are at, and then you get to really focus in on the defense," Young told the team’s official website.
Young is 30-16 as a starter but struggled after replacing the injured Kerry Collins in the second half against Miami last Sunday. He completed 9 of 18 passes for 92 yards with a touchdown and two turnovers as the Titans fell 29-17.
Young could rebound with newly acquired Randy Moss at his disposal. Washington is allowing an NFL-worst 415.3 yards per game, including 286.6 through the air.
Moss was targeted four times and caught one pass for 26 yards in his first game with Tennessee (5-4), and despite the lackluster numbers, still had an offensive impact.
With the Dolphins forced to pay attention to Moss, 2009 offensive player of the year Chris Johnson ran for 117 yards and a touchdown – his fifth 100-yard rushing performance of the season.
"The more comfortable we get with Randy in the lineup, the better we will be and we’ll be all right," Johnson said.
Johnson, who is tied for third in the NFL with 838 rushing yards, could be in for another big game, as the Redskins are allowing 181.0 yards per game on the ground over the past two weeks.
Washington doesn’t have much time to recover from its disastrous loss to the Eagles in which it allowed a franchise-worst 45 points in the first half.
"Can we continue to build? Can we get better? What is our real character? What’s the character?" Chris Cooley said. "If we have guys that care, we’ll go to work tomorrow. You have to put it past you."
In addition to the defense’s struggles, the Redskins’ offensive line will need to play better against the Titans. Washington has allowed 25 sacks and faces a Tennessee defense tied for third in the league with 27.
Anthony Armstrong is one of five players in the NFL averaging more than 20 yards per reception with a minimum of two catches per game, and his 22.6 average is the highest in team history since 1952.
Donovan McNabb, who threw for 295 yards versus his former team but also was intercepted three times, could exploit Tennessee’s secondary with Armstrong’s big-play capability. The Titans have allowed six TD passes of 20 yards or longer.
Clinton Portis, who missed the previous five games with a groin injury, is listed as questionable for this game. If Portis can’t go, Keiland Williams could make his second straight start after running for 89 yards and two touchdowns versus Philadelphia.
Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth will make his first trip back to Tennessee since signing a seven-year, $100 million deal with Washington in 2009.
Haynesworth, who had 24.0 sacks over seven years with the Titans, has butted heads with coach Mike Shanahan throughout the season and got off to a slow start, but has recorded a sack in two of his previous three games.
Shanahan is expecting big things out of the two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle on Sunday.
"Hopefully, he handles it well and has one of his best games," Shanahan said. "Anytime you go back to where you started, (where) people gave you your first chance and for whatever reasons why it didn’t work out there, I’m sure he wants to go back and play his best game of the season.