Though it’s possible a facsimile of Derrick Henry exists in Palau or Kyrgyzstan or in some celestial plane, there has actually never been an N.F.L. running back as tall as Henry, as thick as Henry and as swift as Henry. That fact has actually been typically really good for the Tennessee Titans and really bad for everybody else.Those who fall under the Everybody Else heading will get an indefinite reprieve from Henry’s weekly stampedes after he injured his right foot Sunday in Tennessee’s 34-31 overtime victory at Indianapolis. He is set up to undergo surgery Tuesday and there isn’t yet a timetable for his return. Henry’s absence is a monstrous loss for the Titans(6-2), for his pursuit of a half-dozen rushing marks, and for those who take pleasure in viewing big, strong, quick people do unreasonable things with a football. Which need to be everybody who is not responsible for dealing with him.Henry led the league in rushing efforts, rushing yardage and hurrying touchdowns in 2019. He led the league in those classifications in 2020. Eight weeks into this season, he leads in all of them again.Those data– 219 rushes, 937 backyards, 10 touchdowns this season– once represented guarantee and capacity, the possibility of Henry’s squashing records and protectors to publish among the very best rushing seasons ever. Now the numbers, as if on a damaged odometer, are stuck as is, unlikely to swell again in 2021. Henry had been not just matching his 2020 performance– when he rushed for the fifth-most lawns in a single season league history– but was exceeding every other back by such vast margins that it was affordable to question whether they were all playing the exact same sport.Guess what? They kind of weren’t. In a league where high-volume running backs have actually faded as groups look for to make the most of rules that benefit quarterbacks and passing offenses, the Titans have been, unabashedly, a metachronism. Their offending identity has centered on handing the ball, over and over, to the 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry.Tennessee runs the ball more on
very first and second down(55 percent)than any
team except Chicago and New Orleans, according to Sharp Football Stats– far more than the league average of 46 percent in those circumstances. In an effort to contain him, defenses often release 8 of their 11 players in the box, the compressed location typically occupied by defensive linemen and linebackers. Henry has actually dealt with those so-called stacked boxes at a greater rate(36.5)than everybody however Mark Ingram, Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell, according to N.F.L.’s Next Gen Stats and the additional attention discourages neither Tennessee nor him.After running 28 times Sunday against Indianapolis to bring his season overall to 219, Henry has the most executes the very first eight games of the season, according to Pro Football Reference.He has gotten 288 more backyards than the next-closest running back, Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts, and has actually carried the ball 82 more times than the next-closest running back, Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals.In the little subset of N.F.L. backs that approximate Henry’s dimensions, none produce like he does. Cookie Gilchrist, listed by Pro Football Recommendation as 6-foot-3 and 251 pounds, ran for 1,096 backyards for Buffalo in 1962 in a 14-game American Football League season. Henry nearly doubled that total last season, when he rushed for 2,027 in 16 games.Of his rushing backyards, the vast bulk have actually followed contact. Although innovative statistical websites seem to differ on the specific number, Pro Football Focus stated that Henry had accumulated 728 after being struck– 265 more than Taylor, who has the second-most this season.Really, there’s hardly a statistic appropriate to Henry that he isn’t commanding. Touches? By a lot(237 ). Lawns from skirmish? Check(1,091). Overall goals (10, tied with Rams receiver Cooper Kupp), all-purpose yardage(1,091), very first downs (49). Yup, yup and yup.Considering that the passing transformation has actually assaulted N.F.L. record over the last 20 years, it figured that the league’s move to a 17-game schedule would hasten the demise of the single-season quarterbacking marks left standing. The extra game has actually also made attainable the running records that have stood for nearly 40 years.Henry has actually been an apotheosis of toughness, missing only two of 88 profession video games before his foot injury, however also a beacon of late-season awesomeness: Across 2019 and 2020, according to Pro Football Recommendation, he
averaged 4.2 yards per rush and 88.9 lawns per game in September and October. His averages risen to 6 backyards per rush and 136.6 per game over the rest of the season. With one more video game included, those lofty rushing records stood as little chance as Henry’s tacklers.Instead, Henry will miss the regular season months
when he appears to get more powerful. There will be no opportunities for him to stiff-arm the Patriots in the late-autumn New England chill (Week 12 )or to flatten the Steelers in frosty Pittsburgh(Week 15) or damage the 49ers at home in prime-time(Week 16). As such, Eric Dickerson’s single-season hurrying mark of 2,105 lawns in 1984 stays safe for another year. So will Larry Johnson’s 416 carries(2006 ), and James Wilder’s 492 touches(1984)and even Chris Johnson’s 2,509 yards from scrimmage (2009). Henry could have broken them all. Maybe he still will– next season.