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 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Vince Young reacted immediately. Colts cornerback Kelvin Hayden had pushed at his head, and Young responded by tossing the ball toward the ground at the defender's feet.
Out came the penalty flag. So much for trying to score before halftime.
Fire and emotion are expected out of football players. But from the quarterback? Well, no one can claim they didn't know how much Young detests losing, and the second-year Titan has never hid his desire to win.
This time, his passion may have undermined the poise Young showed in winning nine of his first 15 NFL starts. Young couldn't drive Tennessee within range of a potential game-winning field goal late in Sunday's 22-20 loss to Indianapolis, then walked off the field as Peyton Manning ran off the clock.
Not that Titans coach Jeff Fisher is complaining.
``We all appreciate his competitiveness and the fact that he does not like to lose,'' said Fisher, who pointed out that Young was playing against a two-time MVP in Manning.
``He's improving. He's learning from things that happen, and as a young quarterback, things happen every week. You get three or four years under your belt to really become comfortable, but with him in the shotgun or him under center, he gives us a chance to win.''
His teammates also have faith in Young.
``I'll take my odds with the game on the line and the ball in Vince Young's hands any day,'' defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch said.
Young's drive to be the best and win, even if it's a computer game, is no surprise. He almost single-handedly led Texas to a national championship, a 41-38 Rose Bowl win that was his sixth fourth-quarter comeback in college.
His leadership is what impressed New Orleans coach Sean Payton when the Saints were looking for a quarterback before signing Drew Brees last year. He thinks the Titans have put Young in a good position to have success, and playing has only been good for the quarterback.
``Certainly the reps you get as a quarterback at a young age build confidence, and you can see the confidence in his teammates,'' Payton said.
Young displayed uncommon poise last season as the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year, leading the Titans to five rallies in the fourth quarter.
He became the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to lead two comebacks of 14 points or more, doing that in consecutive weeks with victories over the New York Giants and the Colts, while cracking jokes in the huddle along the way.
Losing, even with a 9-6 record as an NFL starter, hasn't been easy.
He declined to talk to reporters a couple times as a rookie and threw a shoe into a wall after the Titans' fifth straight loss last season.
Against Indianapolis on Sunday, the unsportsmanlike penalty erased Young's 7-yard run and turned third-and-3 at the Titans 44 to third-and-18. Tennessee punted a play later, and Indianapolis padded its lead with a field goal as the first half expired.
Young bristled at what he called ``silly questions'' from reporters about the penalty. Instead, he insisted people should talk about the Titans' comeback from 13 points down.
Fisher understands how Young felt.
``I was in a bad mood, too. I just answered your questions with a smile on my face. I've got a little more experience than he does,'' Fisher said.
Young turned in his third-highest passer rating in his 15 starts in the loss, a 95.3 rating that topped that of Manning. Young had a 48-yard pass that was the second-longest of his career, and he is completing 62.2 percent of his passes through two games, up from 51.5 percent in 2006.
He visits New Orleans (0-2) on Monday night for his 16th start.
Part of his preparation will be reminders not to take his helmet off while on the field, which didn't draw a penalty when he did it last week. Fisher said Young does well at learning from his mistakes.
``I have no problem with his distaste for losing,'' Fisher said. ``That's OK.''
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