NASHVILLE, Tenn. –** DeMarco Murray was mad, tired of the criticism and questions about whether he still has it.
Derrick Henry was happy. Leading up to the game, he'd heard Alabama had made it into the college football playoff.
On Sunday, the Titans running backs went out and restored the team's one-two punch in a 24-13 win over the Texans.
The two backs were part of a 198-yard rushing attack, and Henry closed it out with a 75-yard touchdown run at the end to win it. It was the highest rushing total of the season for the Titans.
"After that (loss) to Auburn, everybody was all on me, because I am always bragging about 'Bama," Henry said with a smile. "When I heard we got in, that's all I needed to get ready for the game. When (Alabama) got in, I was like, 'Yes sir, let's go.' That was a spark. I was fired up. Roll Tide, baby."
The Titans rolled on Sunday.
Henry finished the game with 109 yards and a touchdown – a 75-yard burst on a smart third-and-five from the Tennessee 25 with just 57 seconds left. He took the pitch from quarterback Marcus Mariota, and busted into the open field for the score. The Titans had seen the Ravens run a similar play with success the previous week's game against the Texans.
"I was thinking, 'Just get the first down' at first," Henry said. "When I saw the open space, I turned those jets on and tried to get into the end zone."
Murray was effective on his carries as well. He finished the game with 66 yards on 11 carries, with a long of 22 yards. He averaged six yards a pop. Mariota turned in another 23 yards on the ground, including a nine-yard touchdown run.
"The offensive line did a great job, and DeMarco got tired of everybody talking bad about him," said Henry, smiling again. "So he went out there and ran like he was supposed to, he did a great job today. We are just trying to make plays. I am happy for our offensive line, and we just had to go out there and did what we had to do."
The Titans have now eclipsed 165 rushing yards as a team in five games this season.
"I thought we came out running the ball efficiently," Murray said. "Obviously, could have done a little bit better, but looking at it now, looking at the stats, I thought we did well. The offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage, guys blocked downfield. So, it was a great day for the running game."
On the season, Henry now has 629 yards and four touchdowns on 125 carries for the Titans.
Murray, meanwhile, has 518 yards and five touchdowns on 140 carries.
Murray complimented Henry as well.
"That was a huge one, a dagger," Murray said of Henry's run. "I think, I don't know the situation, but I think they didn't have any more timeouts. We needed a first down but luckily we got the touchdown to seal it. It's great, a great run by him."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Houston Texans in Week 13 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)