If it seems like Derrick Henry does things that not many running backs do, it’s because he does,
More accurately, the two-time NFL rushing champion does things few running backs ever have done.
With 182 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns in Sunday’s 33-30 overtime victory over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Henry became just fourth player in NFL history to have at least 10 games of 150-plus rushing yards and two or more rushing touchdowns, according to NFL Research. The others to do so are Jim Brown (13 times), LaDainian Tomlinson (12) and Barry Sanders (10), and all three are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Two other Hall of Famers, Eric Dickerson and Emmitt Smith each had nine such games.
“Once he gets going and once the offensive coordinator gets a good feeling about getting him the rock, he's very talented, a very special player,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “He showed that (Sunday).”
In typical fashion, Henry started slowly against the Seahawks but built his performance as he went. He carried six times for nine yards in the first quarter and added seven carries for 26 yards in the second. His longest run of the first half was eight yards. In the third, he picked up 40 yards on nine attempts, including one for 11 yards.
He broke free for a 60-yard touchdown run on his first play of the fourth quarter. Over the course of those 15 minutes, he produced 86 yards on eight carries and then tacked on an additional five rushes for 21 yards in overtime.
“I knew if we stuck together, trust in what we preach and what coach preaches, play the way we practice, it would eventually come together for us,” Henry said. “I'm glad we were able to come out here and get a win."
That game alone would make Henry the NFL’s second-leading rusher through the first two weeks (with Monday night’s game still to be played). Only Cincinnati’s Joe Mixon, with 196 yards on 49 carries, has more yards in his first two games of this season than Henry had against the Seahawks.
Thus, Henry now finds himself in a familiar position, atop the NFL’s rushing leaders. His 240 yards through two weeks give him a margin of 44 yards on Mixon. Additionally, his three rushing touchdowns have him tied with Cleveland’s Nick Chubb for the league lead.
“Derrick was running extremely hard,” quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. “You feel it on the field, the synergy of our offense kind of coming together and playing to our identity. There's a lot to get better, but as far as coming together as a unit, making plays, trusting each other and playing to our identity, I feel like it was a good step in the right direction.”