Clash of the Titans? Not quite
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
Sunday September 19, 2010

NASHVILLE --- Since Ben Roethlisberger joined the Steelers, weíve been treated to many epic quarterback showdowns.

Four times already, itís been Roethlisberger vs. Tom Brady.

Three times, itís been Roethlisberger vs. Peyton Manning.

Twice each year in the AFC North, itís usually Roethlisberger vs. Carson Palmer, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2003 draft.

In the í04 draft, Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Roethlisberger went first, fourth and 11th overall. Itís been Roethlisberger vs. Eli twice already and Roethlisberger vs. Rivers four times.

Last year, Roethlisberger finally got to play against the ageless wonder, Brett Favre.

Yet today when the Steelers renew their rivalry with the Tennessee Titans, an old AFC Central Division adversary, we will hardly be getting a classic QB match-up.

Dennis Dixon vs. Vince Young?

Thatís hardly a must-see showdown.

Years from now, I seriously doubt that weíll look back at todayís game at LP Field and remember if Dixon out-dueled Young or if Young out-dueled Dixon. Thereís actually been more talk this week about which quarterback is more likely to self-implode.

Dixon, a third-year pro, will be making just his third pro start. With Roethlisberger, whoís serving a four-game suspension, entrenched as the Steelersí QB for years to come, Dixon doesnít have much of a future in Pittsburgh unless heíll be content to remain a backup for a huge chunk of his pro career.

An intriguing player, primarily because of his quickness and mobility, Dixon hardly ran the ball last week against Atlanta. And he certainly didnít throw the ball well, either. In fact, it can be argued that the Steelers won despite Dixon.

Dixon only threw one interception but it could have easily been two, three or four. No less than three of his passes hit defenders right in the hands. If any of those passes would have been intercepted, the Steelers likely would have lost.

Meanwhile, Young is out to prove he has what it takes to win big as a pro. A national championship winner at Texas, Young would like to win a Super Bowl.

Unlike Dixon, Young figures to have a long future with his team. At least heís the Titansí QB for their immediate future. The No. 3 overall pick of the 2006 draft, Young is 27-13 as a starter.

But although he can be exciting to watch because of his running ability, heís not an accomplished passer. In his career, heís only completed 57.9 percent of his passes. Heís thrown more interceptions (39) than TD passes (34). His passer rating is a very pedestrian 73.4.

At this point of his career, Young is almost as famous for his meltdown in September of 2008. Young vanished four hours the day after suffering a sprained knee in a season-opening win against Jacksonville. In that game, he was also booed by Tennessee fans after an interception. The Titans had to call police in their search of Young before he was found.

While rumors swirled that Young suffered from depression, Kerry Collins finished the í08 season and got the Titans into the playoffs with an AFC-best 13-3 record. But after the Titans started 0-6 with Collins last year, Young was back in the starting lineup.

ďJust more comfortable and more mature,Ē Young said of his mindset this season.

Today, both teams would like to establish the running game as a means to take pressure off their quarterbacks. If rushing yards are hard to come by for either team, the play of Dixon and/or Young will loom large.