Titans' storybook run heads to Indy

During a season in which a 40-year-old could win NFL MVP and the Bengals could end up with a first-round bye in the AFC, it would make perfect sense for Tennessee to finish 10-6. The same team that entered November 0-6 and fresh off a 59-0 loss at New England now begins December at 5-6 and a chance to win out beginning Sunday at Indianapolis. While the Colts are 11-0 and trying to match the NFL record of 21 consecutive regular-season victories, they have also trailed in the fourth quarter in their past five games and Peyton Manning has thrown six interceptions in the past three games. After Sunday's game, the Titans have three consecutive home games: against St. Louis (1-10), Miami (5-6) and San Diego (8-3) on Christmas, followed by a Jan. 3 trip to Seattle (4-7). By the way, the best in-season turnaround in NFL history belongs to Bobby Ross' 1992 Chargers, who started 0-4 and made the playoffs at 11-5.

Young classy in victory

I wouldn't have blamed Vince Young if he had cussed out those of us who have criticized the Titans QB for being one-dimensional and not mentally tough enough to play quarterback. He's 5-0 since getting his starting job back, and Sunday's 18-play, 99-yard game-winning touchdown drive against Arizona was as good as a drive can possibly get. He completed 10 of 16 passes for 94 yards, ran for 6 yards and converted three fourth downs, including the winning 10-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Britt as time expired. Afterward, Young was offered up the No. 1 softball question in sports journalism when times are good: "Whaddaya think of all the media critics who said you weren't any good?" Young smiled and said, "I love everybody. I love my haters." Great answer. Shows a level of maturity.

Chris Johnson rising in MVP race

An e-mailer lobbied me last week on behalf of Titans running back Chris Johnson for MVP. I'm not quite ready to do that, but I will say he's rising quickly. I'd have to put him in a third-place tie with Drew Brees behind No. 1 Peyton Manning and No. 2 Brett Favre. I'll also say Johnson is the best running back in the league right now. And, with all due respect to a great back named Adrian Peterson, it's not even close. CJ has 1,396 yards, a 6.4-yard average per carry and one fumble in 217 carries. AD has 1,084 yards and a 4.7-yard average -- very good numbers -- but his six fumbles in 230 carries are a major concern. And, yes, defenses are trying just as hard to stop Johnson as they are Peterson.

MARK CRAIG