NASHVILLE — Derrick Henry owns the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-12). Sunday’s 31-10 Tennessee Titans (9-4) victory served as affirmation.
There are no opinions here, only facts.
The NFL’s defending rushing champ piled on 215 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 carries Sunday in his home state of Florida. Henry accumulated 122 of his ground total and one score on 15 first-half carries alone. Per NFL Update, with his 129 yards in the first half today, Henry is now over 1,000 yards in his career vs. the (10 games).
The LeBron James of Running Backs
Henry has 12 career touchdowns against Jacksonville.
That numbers almost feel low if you have watched enough of these divisional series between Tennessee and the Jaguars. The Heisman-winner from Alabama has the most 200+ yard, two touchdown performances in league history (4), per NFL research. Henry sits a top a list filled out by Jim Brown (3), Barry Sanders (3) and LaDainian Tomlinson (3).
All three are Hall-of-Fame running backs.
“I appreciate (Henry’s) attitude,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “I appreciate his leadership, his willingness to do what’s best for the team. He cares a lot about everybody, coaches, players. He wants to try and please everybody and he puts himself in a position each and every week to be ready to carry that load. Couldn’t be happier for anybody’s success.”
At this point, Henry’s efforts are almost routine.
Sometimes it can be easy to get lost in the Titans running back’s greatness. The expectations for Henry are through the roof any time he gets a touch in a way that reminds one of another King, LeBron James. James has been a focal point in the NBA for so long that the audience can become accustomed to his feats.
Like the NBA’s King, watching Henry run through history becomes so normalized one forgets to appreciate how special a thing it is that Tennessee fans are witnessing.
Feed the King
Early in the fourth quarter, Henry’s rushing total sat at 195.
Back-up Jeremy McNichols got the first series and Henry’s day appeared to be done. According to Vrabel, Henry’s Titans teammates informed him that the starting back was close to eclipsing the 200-yard mark. Vrabel made the choice to put the King back in to give him a shot to get there.
Henry broke a 20-yarder off on his first carry back in.
“I love my teammates,” Henry said. “I appreciate those guys every day for what they do. The unselfishness that they have for me. I’m truly blessed to have the teammates and team that I have. Coach Vrabel was just trying to look out for me just so, you know, I didn’t take any extra shots. My body feels good. Just love my teammates.”
Unselfishness remains an essential quality of Tennessee’s winning formula. Henry’s personification of that theme continues to fuel this franchise’s path to its fifth straight winning season and an AFC South lead.
Featured Image: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports.