If Derrick Henry wins the rushing title for a second straight season, it will be performances like his 212-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Houston Texans in Week 6 that give him control in the race. However, it will take consistency to stay at the top.
The Tennessee Titans star running back churned out 70 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries against a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that ranks second in the league against the run, giving up just over 68 yards per contest and 3.4 yards per attempt.
In the 27-24 loss on Sunday, Henry surpassed 600 yards on the season. It took him at least nine games to reach the 600-yard mark in his previous three seasons (he ran for just 490 yards as a rookie in 2016). Henry has rushed for 55 yards or more in all six of the Titans’ games this season, with an average of 110.5 yards per game and 4.6 yards per carry.
A look at the NFL’s rushing race through the first seven weeks of the 2020 NFL season:
• Derrick Henry: With 663 yards on 143 carries, “King Henry” stands alone at the top for the second consecutive week. In addition to leading the league in yards, he is first in carries (143), rushing touchdowns (seven) and total touches (153).
• Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Kansas City Chiefs: Second to Henry with 551 yards on 115 carries, the first-year running back ran for a career-high 161 yards against the Buffalo Bills in Week 6, but followed that up with just 46 yards on eight carries against the Denver Broncos in Week 7. Le’Veon Bell recently joined the Chiefs and while his addition makes for a one-two punch in the back field, he will most certainly take carries away from the rookie.
• Kenyan Drake, Arizona Cardinals: Drake is third with 512 yards on 119 carries. Drake only mustered 34 yards on 14 carries against a struggling Seattle Seahawks defense on Sunday but looks to be a serious competitor in the rushing title race regardless.
• Ronald Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jones looks to be in it for the long haul. He has run for 100 yards or more in three of the last four games and has registered 506 yards on 110 carries this season.
• Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings: At one point, Cook appeared to be Henry’s most serious threat, but after missing a week due to an injury, the 2019 Pro Bowler has some catching up to do. Cook is in fifth place with 489 rushing yards on 92 carries.
Other contenders: Todd Gurley (Atlanta Falcons), James Robinson (Jacksonville Jaguars), Kareem Hunt (Cleveland Browns), Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys), James Conner (Pittsburgh Steelers)
NEXT FOR HENRY: CINCINNATI BENGALS
Henry should be licking his jobs. The Cincinnati Bengals enter the Week 8 matchup with the fifth worst rushing defense in the NFL, allowing 133.7 yards per contest. With another big performance, the rushing title could effectively be Henry’s to lose.