Derrick Henry's record-setting night powers Titans past Jaguars
Derrick Henry had a video game type night Thursday night, rushing for a franchise-record 238 yards and four touchdowns as the Tennessee Titans romped to a 30-9 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Henry, who had said numerous times this season that he had not been pleased with his play, was the star of the night, highlighted by an NFL record-tying 99-yard touchdown run in the second quarter after the Titans had stopped the Jacksonville offense just inside the 1.
Henry had opened the scoring for the Titans on a 3-yard run in the first quarter.
After the Jaguars scored on what would be Tennessee’s only real negative play of the night – a punt that rookie returner Cameron Batson muffed and then managed to take backwards in to the end zone for a safety.
The Jaguars then drove downfield, but the Titans defense stuffed Leonard Fournette on a fourth-and-goal.
On the first play after that, Henry took the ball over the left side and broke into the clear. He then stiff-armed A.J. Bouye and later Leon Jacobs and outran Myles Jack on his way to scoring and tying Tony Dorsett’s NFL record with the 99-yard run.
The Titans in the huddle before Henry’s historic run actually talked about going 99 yards.
“It was so crazy, because before we were in the huddle. It’s like, ‘You’ve got to break a 99-yarder.’ My main focus was getting positive yards,” Henry said. “But when they snapped the ball, I got it and I saw it and just hit it. The stiff arm worked and all that But it started up front with those guys.”
Guard Quinton Spain, who returned from a second-half benching last week, said that the talk in the huddle before the first play unbelievable turned into a reality.
“As we were getting in the huddle, we were talking about it. ‘What if we just go 99 yards on this first play?’ And it happened,” Spain said. “Before, we said we were going 99 yards, and it happened. We were just running down the field saying, ‘We called that. We called that.’”
But according to left tackle Taylor Lewan, the Titans nearly called something else. But quarterback Marcus Mariota checked out of a quarterback sneak on the goal line into Henry’s historic run.
“I don’t remember who brought it up (going 99 yards), but it was definitely talked about. And then they called some quarterback sneak, and I was like, ‘That ain’t gonna get us 99 yards, boys.’ But it was checked, so it was cool,” Lewan said.
Henry was on his way to a franchise-record for single game yards, and added two more touchdown runs in the third quarter of 16 yards and 54 yards as the Titans led 30-2 with 5:30 still to play in the third quarter.
The Jaguars added a consolation touchdown late in the period as a Cody Kessler pass to DeDe Westbrook somehow survived a replay look, even though replay angles looked to show that Westbrook got only one foot down.
It didn’t matter for the Titans, who improved to 7-6 on the year and more important, kept their flickering playoff hopes alive for a wild-card in the AFC with three games left to play.