As if Derrick Henry did not have a big enough role for the Tennessee Titans already.
Wide receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones are among the Titans’ inactives for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, which makes it likely that head coach Mike Vrabel and offensive coordinator Todd Downing will rely on Henry and the run game more than ever.
Coming into the contest, Henry is tied with Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon for the NFL rushing lead with 353 yards. Mixon, of course, already has played his week in the Bengals’ victory over Jacksonville on Thursday.
Henry also has 80 rushes and 12 receptions, which means he has had the ball on 43.4 percent of the Titans’ plays through their first three games. It is hard to think he can do much more, but that is exactly what could happen.
On to kickoff.
The Titans won the coin toss and deferred their option to the second half. The Jets will start with the ball.
(13:31) New York goes three-and-out on the opening possession. After two runs netted two yards, rookie quarterback Zach Wilson misses badly with his third-down pass attempt.
(12:00) Tannehill’s first pass attempt ends up as the Jets’ first sack. After two runs for a first down, a play-action call results in Tannehill being dropped for a 6-yard loss.
(11:07) Tennessee converts a third-and-21 (Taylor Lewan’s false start cost the offense another five yards) when running back Jeremy McNichols converts a short pass into a 30-yard gain.
That is the longest reception of McNichols’ career. His previous best was 12 yards in Week 2 at Seattle.
(9:14) Ryan Tannehill converts a third-and-1 with a quarterback sneak for two yards. The Titans are now at the Jets’ 19.
Center Ben Jones is injured on the play, however, and is in need of attention from the trainers.
(7:52) On third-and-8 from the 17, Tannehill gets sacked again. A blitz beats the protection, and the Titans have to settle for a field goal attempt.
(7:10) Randy Bullock’s 44-yard field goal is good and gives Tennessee the early lead. Scoring drive: 12 plays, 31 yards, 6:10. TENNESSEE 3, N.Y. JETS 0
(4:57) Tennessee’s defense forces another punt. The Jets got a first down on this possession but only got as far as their own 38.
Ben Jones has a shoulder injury and is questionable to return. Aaron Brewer is in the field in his place to start this drive.
(2:47) Josh Reynolds makes his first reception for the Titans. It is an 11-yard gain on third-and-4 and gets this drive moving.
(0:00) End of the first quarter. Two of the final three plays were 16-yard gains by Henry – one run, one reception – and the Titans have a first down at the Jets’ 20.
Tennessee ran 18 plays to New York’s eight and had a 96-13edge in total yards during the quarter. The Titans’ offense had the ball for 10:13.
(12:53) Bullock improves to 2-for-2 on the day. This time it is a 46-yard field goal. Scoring drive: 11 plays, 56 yards, 6:10. TENNESSEE 3, N.Y. JETS 0
The Titans have had two drives, both of which lasted 6:10 and ended with field goals.
(12:26) Kristian Fulton with his first interception of the season. He was covering former Titan Corey Davis on the route. Davis slipped as he made the cut, and Fulton caught the ball unchallenged. The ball goes back to Tennessee’s offense at New York’s 32.
Ben Jones is back on the field with the offense.
(10:33) Once again, the Jets defense forces a field goal attempt with a third-down sack. Bullock adds three more points with a 36-yard field goal. Scoring drive: 5 plats, 14 yards, 1:46. TENNESSEE 9, N.Y. JETS 0
(10:08) Corey Davis makes his first catch against the Titans, who drafted him fifth overall in 2017. It is a 13-yard gain on third-and-10, the longest play of the day by the Jets thus far.
(9:18) The next play is a 30-yard reception by Davis, and the Jets are across midfield for the first time.
(4:49) The Jets score their first first-half touchdown and first rushing touchdown of the season. Michael Carter caps the possession with a 2-yard run. Scoring drive: 11 plays, 75 yards 5:40. TENNESSEE 9, N.Y. JETS 7
On their first three drives, the Jets had a total of 10 plays for 15 yards. Their fourth consisted of 11 plays and covered 75 yards.
(3:28) Brett Kern where are you? Johnny Townsend’s first punt for the Titans is a shank that goes out of bounds after 15 yards. Kern, of course, is inactive due to a groin injury. Townsend was signed during the week.
The Jets take over at the Tennessee 45 and have a chance to take the lead.
(2:00) Harold Landry with a sack on third-and-6 forces a punt. Landry has four tackles, three tackles for loss and one sack so far.
Tennessee’s offense starts this drive at the 9 with 1:49 to play and two timeouts.
(0:27) Tannehill goes 6-for-6 for 46 yards but then gets sacked on third-and-3 from the 45. Both sides allow the clock to run out from there.
(0:00) Halftime. Tennessee leads 9-6.
Tannehill is 11-15 for 116 yards but has been sacked four times. With no Brown or Jones, five different players (one wide receiver, two running backs, one tight end) have two receptions each. … Henry has 12 carries for 50 yards.
The Titans have outgained the Jets 151-86.
Titans get the ball to start the second half. They have it at their own 25 following a touchback.
(11:19) Tannehill takes a deep shot to Josh Reynolds on third-and-18 from the Titans' 31. The pass is incomplete and Reynolds stays down on the field grabbing at his right knee.
(9:01) The Jets punt after a three-and-out. They have failed to produce a first down in four of their six offensive possessions, including each of the last two when they had a chance to take the lead.
(6:34) The Titans cross midfield with an 11-yard Henry run. The numbers are starting to pile up now for the NFL’s rushing leader. He has 17 carries for 69 yards.
(5:14) Tight end Tommy Hudson is injured and in need of attention from the trainers.
(4:47) Stop me if you've heard this one: It's third down (third-and-7 this time) and Tannehill is sacked. The seven-yard loss takes the Titans out of field goal range and forces a punt.
That is five sacks of Tannehill.
(1:58) Zach Wilson buys time with a scramble and eventually finds Keelan Cole, who got behind Jackrabbit Jenkins, for a 54-yard gain. That is the longest gain by the Jets’ offense this season, and it is first down at the Tennessee 14.
(0:22) The defense holds and forces a field goal attempt. Matt Amendola’s 27-yard kick is good, and the Jets have a lead for the first time this season. Scoring drive: 8 plays, 78 yards, 3:17. N.Y. JETS 10, TENNESSEE 9
(0:00) End of the third quarter. The Titans have outgained the Jets 224-173 and have a 15-8 edge in first downs but trail by one point.
Tannehill has eight fourth-quarter comebacks in 29 regular-season starts for Tennessee, including one this season. Can he do it again?
(14:10) The first three plays of the quarter are runs, two by Henry for 27 yards and one by McNichols for 11 yards. Left guard Rodger Saffold is injured on the last of those, however, and in need of attention.
No Saffold, no problem. The Titans keep running, this time to the left, and Henry goes 22 yards to the New York 1. He now has 123 rushing yards on 22 carries.
(13:18) Five straight runs get the Titans to the end zone. Henry caps it with a one-yard run. Tannehill then throws to MyCole Pruitt for a two-point conversion and a seven-point lead. Scoring drive: 6 plays, 75 yards, 2:05. TENNESSEE 17, N.Y. JETS 10
(11:34) The Jets respond and quickly drive the field. A 43-yard pass interference penalty against Dane Cruikshank and a 29-yard reception by Jamison Crowder did the bulk of the work. Crowder capped it with a 3-yard touchdown reception. Scoring drive: 4 plays 77 yards, 1:44. TENNESSEE 17, N.Y. JETS 17
(10:05) A three-and-out for Tennessee’s offense capped by – you guessed it – a sack of Tannehill on third down. That’s six sacks today, which ties his season-high and is the third time he has gone down so often as the Titans quarterback.
(9:16) One play and the Jets are back on top. It is Corey Davis with a 53-yard touchdown reception. Scoring drive: 1 play, 53 yards, 0:10. N.Y. JETS 24, TENNESSEE 17
(9:01) After two incomplete passes (the first was a drop by Anthony Firkser), Taylor Lewan is injured. Bad day for the Titans offensive line.
(8:58) Tannehill actually gets off a pass on third down, but it’s incomplete, and Tennessee has to punt.
(7:57) Wilson is forced to scramble on third-and-6. The Tennessee defense stops him after a 2-yard gain and forces a punt.
(7:07) New York interferes with Chester Rogers as he attempts to catch the punt. That's 15 yards, and the Titans will start this drive at their own 35.
(3:46) On fourth-and-4, Tannehill throws under pressure and the pass to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine is broken up. The ball goes to the Jets, and it’s up to the defense to make something happen.
Tennessee has all of its timeouts to use.
(2:25) The defense dodges a bullet as Wilson misses an open Davis on third-and-10. The Jets have to punt, but they took 1:32 off the clock and forced the Titans to use all three timeouts.
(2:09) The Titans will start from their own 26.
(1:44) Hope remains. On fourth-and-10, the Jets are called for pass interference. It is first down at the Tennessee 48.
(0:16) The Titans take nearly all of the time available to them, but they tie it up with Cam Batson’s 2-yard touchdown reception and Bullock’s PAT. Scoring drive: 11 plays, 74 yards, 1:53. TENNESSEE 24, N.Y. JETS 24
This is the Titans’ second overtime game in as many road games this season. They are 4-0 under coach Mike Vrabel in games that extend beyond regulation.
New York wins the coin toss and gets the ball first.
(4:33) The Titans force a field goal when Denico Autry stops Wilson for a loss of three yards on a third-and-goal bootleg from the 1. The 22-yard kick is good. Scoring drive: 13 plays, 71 yards, 5:29. N.Y. JETS 27, TENNESSEE 24
There is 4:31 on the clock for the Titans’ offense, which starts at its own 25 after a touchback.
(2:00) The Titans still have hope. Henry ran for 13 yards on fourth-and-1 from the 34. Tannehill was sacked on second down (that’s seven) but on third-and-21 he completed a 20-yard pass to Chester Rogers.
(0:36) The Titans use their last timeout after a 12-yard completion to Rogers makes it first down at the New York 12. On the previous play, Henry converted another fourth down – this one fourth-and-2 – with a 2-yard run.
(0:19) Following a delay of game penalty and an under-pressure incompletion on third-and-10, the Titans attempt a 49-yard field goal to tie. It misses left.
Game over. Titans lose.
Derrick Henry rushed 33 times for 157 yards in a loss. The Titans had the ball 11:39 more than the Jets but lost.
Tennessee falls to 3-2 but still is alone in first place in the AFC South.