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Henry Continues to Pump Up the Volume, Put Up Rare Numbers

With performances like he had Monday, the Tennessee Titans running back thrills fans, separates himself from all but some of the best NFL backs ever.

NASHVILLE – When he burst into the clear on his 76-yard touchdown run on Monday night, Derrick Henry turned up the volume from the largest announced crowd – 69,419 – ever for a Tennessee Titans game at Nissan Stadium.

The roar of the home team’s fans, mixed with the groans of a large sampling of Bills supporters, made for an adrenaline-fueled crescendo of sound, captured perfectly on this video clip from @NFLUK, which had received about 60,000 views as of Thursday afternoon.

It certainly wasn’t the first time Henry had gobbled up monstrous yardage on a single touchdown run. He now has nine total touchdowns – seven runs and two receptions – of 65 yards or more in his career. Eight of those nine plays – all except a 75-yard screen reception in Cleveland -- have occurred at home.

So, is Henry aware of the home crowd losing its mind during his breakaway scores – specifically the one that occurred Monday in front of the record crowd?

“While I am in the moment, no, I don’t really hear it,” Henry said. “Then afterwards the noise starts to come in.”

He savored every moment of his most recent raucous post-touchdown afterglow.

“We definitely need that again this week,” Henry said Thursday in regard to Sunday’s showdown against Kansas City. “That right there was electric, and we need that again at every home game. Hopefully they come out again and they bring that type of energy and intensity again.”

There were a few other interesting tidbits concerning that run, the third-longest of Henry’s career behind his 99-yarder against Jacksonville and a 94-yarder against Houston.

For example, NextGenStats clocked Henry at 21.8 miles per hour as he ran away from Buffalo’s, which just so happened to be the fastest speed for any ball-carrier in the NFL this season. Step aside, Henry Ruggs of Las Vegas, Tyreek Hill of Kansas City and Marquise Brown of Baltimore, among others.

But it wasn’t speedy enough to impress the 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry, who is a tough self-evaluator.

“I thought I was slow,” Henry said. “I can get faster and try to be faster. It was a great play. (The offensive line) did a great job blocking, but I need to get faster.”

How fast, Henry was asked, did Henry run prior to the 2016 NFL Draft?

“I was slow too, like a 4.5,” Henry said. “Everything is just slow.”

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What is definitely not slowing is the amount of milestones that Henry is either passing or approaching.

He joined Chris Johnson (seven), Adrian Peterson (six), O.J. Simpson (five), Jamaal Charles (four), Tony Dorsett (four) and Barry Sanders (four) as the only players in NFL history with four or more rushing touchdowns of 75-plus yards.

He has rushed for at least 50 yards in 31 straight games, which is tied for the second longest streak in the NFL since 1960. Only Kansas City’s Priest Holmes, with 36 from 2001-03, had a longer one.

He became one of two players ever – Eric Dickerson is the other – with at least 750 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns through the first six games of a season.

Henry’s three rushing touchdowns against Buffalo gave him 65 for his career, allowing him to bypass former Titans great, current Tennessee State University coach Eddie George who was on hand Monday night. Henry is now second on the franchise list in that department, trailing only Earl Campbell (73).

“I didn’t get a chance to visit with (George),” Henry said with a smile. “He was standing there looking all tough, but no I didn’t get a chance to talk to him or anything like that. He is a busy man right now.

“(Passing George) is very cool. Eddie is a guy I grew up watching, grew up idolizing. To be able to do that, that is always cool.”

Some of the big moments that might be within reach for Henry this week with a good game against the Chiefs:

• He can record his sixth straight 100-yard game, which would extend his career-best streak.

• With at least 117 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, he can join Jim Brown (1958) and Terrell Davis (1998) as the NFL’s only players with 900 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns in his team’s first seven games of a season.

• Another three-touchdown rushing performance would make him the only player other than LaDainian Tomlinson (2006) to rush for three touchdowns in three consecutive games.

“I just don’t try to get too caught up in it and worry about things like that,” Henry said. “I really worry about how well we do as a team, how we do as an offense, what I can do to help the team each and every week and how can I be better rather than, ‘This record is coming up, I have the chance to break this record.’”

That’s not to say he wouldn’t mind another whopper of a big run, one that would bring the Nissan Stadium crowd to its feet once more.

“It is always good when we get a big play like that,” Henry said of the 76-yarder. “We all did our job to be able to make that happen. Big plays like that always provide a spark, but we kind of want to get that spark going a little earlier. Big plays are always fun, and it gets the momentum going.”