Touchdown Total Puts Henry in Good Company
Derrick Henry now has a measure of productivity that earns him a place alongside the power runners who are so prominent in the 60-year history of the franchise.
The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner delivered a pair of rushing touchdowns in Sunday’s 42-21 victory at Oakland. In so doing, the 6-foot-3, 247-pounder joined Earl Campbell (5-11, 232) and Eddie George (6-3, 235) as the only players in Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers history with at least 12 rushing touchdowns in multiple seasons.
Henry’s first scoring run, from 12 yards out, was his 12th of the season and equaled his total from 2018. He got No. 13, which ties him for the league lead with Minnesota’s Dalvin Cook, on a 10-yard run in the third quarter.
Campbell finished with 12 or more rushing touchdowns four times (1978-80, 1983), including the franchise single-season record of 19 in 1979. George did so in 2000 and 2002. The only others to hit that mark once were LenDale White, who had 15 in 2008, and Chris Johnson, who had 14 in his 2,000-yard season of 2009.
“I think our run game wears on people,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “I think Derrick’s tough to tackle. He’s tough to tackle in the first half and he’s definitely tough to tackle in the second half.”
It’s not easy when he gets near the goal line either.
Henry now has 35 career rushing touchdowns, which ranks fifth in franchise history behind Campbell (73), George (64), Johnson (50) and quarterback Steve McNair (36). His streak of five straight games with at least one rushing touchdown equals the longest of his career. He also scored in five straight as a rookie when he reached the end zone once each in weeks 5-10. The current streak includes three multi-touchdown games eight of his 13 rushing touchdowns this season.
In addition to the notable numbers, though, Henry has a balky left hamstring that required treatment during the game and even sent him to the locker room a few minutes before halftime. In the Titans’ first two possessions against the Raiders, he carried 10 times for 50 yards. After that, he got just eight more handoffs and was a spectator during the final few minutes of the contest.
He still managed to run his current streak of 100-yard games to four, albeit barely. He finished with 103 yards thanks to an average of 5.7 yards per carry, which is the least he has done during the streak.
“Ain’t no quitting in me,” Henry said. “My leg would have to be halfway off for me to stop. So, I’m going to go out there and help my team win games and play through it. … I’m going to go as much as I can. It don’t matter to me, that’s my mentality. I’m going to go.”
There was a point that it appeared he had to convince coach Mike Vrabel as the two had an animated discussion on the sideline. Not long after he scored his second touchdown (pictured).
“Sometimes you have to understand the players and who they are,” Vrabel said. “I’ve got a good feel for Derrick. He wants to be out there every single snap. He does. It was my choice there at the end to make sure that we were able to get him on to the next week.”