Derrick Henry gives Titans 'big shot of life' in win over Bills

Derrick Henry is producing the best encore to a 2,000-yard season in NFL history. The show continued Monday night with another virtuoso performance.

In a battle of division leaders, the Titans’ All-Pro provided thunder and lightning like only he can.

Henry rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns as Tennessee edged Buffalo, 34-31. The output was nothing new for the league’s top back. He’s eclipsed 100 yards in five straight games and has scored 10 TDs over that span. Henry just hadn’t experienced such success against the Bills. In three meetings over the previous three seasons, he averaged just 63.6 yards and 3.8 yards per carry while scoring three times overall.

That wasn’t lost on Henry, nor did it distract him.

“My running backs coach messed with me all week about it,” Henry said to ESPN on the postgame broadcast. “But I just stay focused on what I need to do, how I can help this team. Not focus on the past or the past matchups. Just go out there and play my game and help my team win.”

No one did that more than Henry in the prime-time affair. He punctuated his dominant effort with a 13-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to give the Titans the three-point margin they’d win by. His other two scores also put Tennessee ahead in what was a wild, back-and-forth affair between two teams with legitimate title aspirations.

Prone to slow starts, Henry electrified the Nissan Stadium crowd midway through the first half by barreling through one defender before blazing past several more during a 76-yard scoring scamper.

“We continue to jump on Derrick’s back and he’s willing able to carry us,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “And it’s something that you know that you have in your back pocket and front pocket and we use it and it gave us a big shot of life there.”

It was Henry’s longest run of the year and the fifth of his career spanning at least 70 yards. He reached a top speed of 21.8 m.p.h., the highest mark of his career and of any ball-carrier in 2021, per Next Gen Stats.

“Still too slow,” Henry joked. “I’m from Florida, so Florida boys, it’s in the water. If you’re from Florida, you got to have speed.”

Monday marked the third time he’s topped 125 yards and three rushing touchdowns this year, tying the mark for the most instances in a single season in the Super Bowl era, per NFL Research. Of course, the current campaign is all of six weeks old.

Henry’s 783 yards on the season are 260 more than No. 2 rusher Nick Chubb. His 10 touchdowns are twice as many as the closest challengers. He led the NFL in both categories the past two seasons. No one has pulled it off in three straight.

The 6-3, 247-pound bruiser made sure to note that he isn’t doing it alone.

“The credit goes to those guys up front, working every day, pushing each other, fighting, pushing the piles, blocking tight ends, fullbacks, all the credit goes to them,” Henry said. “I just got to do my job. They make my job easy. Those guys just having the will to want to be better each and every play, each and every week, just that mentality.”

With 11 games remaining, he’s already more than halfway to matching Barry Sanders’ record for the most rushing yards in a season after hitting the 2K mark (1,491). The emerging all-timer is also well ahead of his own historic pace from a year ago.

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