The one-time NFL starter had been through the quarterback wilderness of scout-team snaps and inactive Sundays since the last time the league had paid him any mind.
And yet here he was, a quarterback not named Griffin or Cousins who had just led a game-winning fourth-quarter drive for the Washington Redskins.
"It's been two years, and I don't want to get emotional," McCoy said. "But I'm just thankful that I've hung in there and kept fighting."
McCoy's relief appearance after Kirk Cousins' halftime benching provided a lift to an otherwise ho-hum game between ho-hum teams.
"We went through some adversity, changed quarterbacks, and Colt played a hell of a game," Washington defensive end Jason Hatcher said.
"I think it's good for us, because I think we forgot how it feels to win. They say it's Tennessee Titans and we're supposed to win, but it's so hard to win."
After Cousins committed his 10th and 11th turnovers of the season and the Redskins were booed off the field at halftime trailing 10-6, McCoy emerged at the behest of coach Jay Gruden and watched his first pass - a simple curl route - turn into a career-long 70-yard touchdown, with Pierre Garcon doing most of the work after the catch.
Never mind it was the first time McCoy had stepped into a huddle with the Redskins' full first-team offense.
Even in training camp, he rarely if ever threw a pass to Garcon in a full-team drill.
"I like Jay a lot," McCoy said. "And when Jay came and told me to be ready to play, I just didn't want to let him down."
It was McCoy's first NFL pass in nearly a year and his first touchdown pass since December 2012 with the Cleveland Browns.
Go back even further and you'll find the last time McCoy played a significant role in a victory: Nov. 20, 2011, when he was the Browns' regular starter.
"This league," McCoy said, "is very unforgiving."
McCoy completed 11 of 12 passes for 128 yards and moved the Redskins into chip-shot range for Forbath after Washington took over at its 20 with 3:14 to play.
McCoy's message in the huddle before that final drive: "I looked them in the eye and said, 'Hey, I'm going to do my job. You do yours, and we're going to win this game.'"
"It's a good sign the way that Colt finished the game," Gruden said.
He hit Derek Hagan for a 38-yard scoring pass with 7:41 to play to give his team a 17-16 lead that ultimately didn't last.
"Being 2-5 and losing two heartbreakers in the last three weeks, we can only go up," Tennessee safety George Wilson said.
Washington had two sacks wiped out by illegal contact downfield and had a scoring drive of minus-3 yards.
One play after Whitehurst threw an interception, Cousins did the same. The Titans got 32 yards out of the exchange - more than they gained on any offensive play in the first half - and it led to the game's first touchdown.
The teams combined for 18 penalties for 146 yards.
Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press