NASHVILLE – The Derrick Henry train kept on rolling on Sunday for the Titans, and despite dealing with a hamstring injury, nothing was going to slow him down.
"Ain't no quittin' in me," Henry said following his fourth straight 100-yard game. "My leg is going to have to be halfway off for me to stop. I am going to go out there and help my team win games and play through it."
Henry, who was limited in practices leading up to the game, did some jogging and stretching on the sideline throughout the contest at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum to try and stay warm. His plan was to keep the leg from getting stiff while the defense was on the field. Near the end of the first half, Henry headed to the locker room early to allow the team's medical staff extra time to keep him loose.
The plan worked.
Henry ran for 103 yards and two touchdowns on 18 rushing attempts in the team's 42-21 win.
On the season he's now tallied 1,243 rushing yards with 13 touchdowns on 250 rushing attempts (5.0 avg.) – all career highs. Henry has 599 rushing yards in the past four games after totals of 188, 159 and 149 yards the previous three weeks.
Henry's first touchdown came on a 12-yard run in the first quarter. His second came on a 10-yard run in the third quarter as the team began to pull away.
"We were definitely hitting on all cylinders, and that's a credit to everybody on the offense, executing their job and playing a four-quarter game," Henry said following a day when the offense hit a "Titans era" best 552 yards. "We played great as a team and beat a great team in a hostile environment."
Titans coach Mike Vrabel noted Henry's toughness following the game, saying the big back never wants to leave the game.
Henry said the two men had a conversation at some point.
"Just checking in to make sure I am good and being smart about everything," Henry said of Vrabel. "I'll let him know if I feel I couldn't go. But I felt good."
In winning, Henry's accomplishments continued to pile up.
- It marked his seventh career game with at least two rushing touchdowns and his third game of the season with two rushing touchdowns—all three coming within the last four contests.
- He became the second player in franchise history to record consecutive seasons with 12 or more rushing touchdowns, joining Earl Campbell (1978–1980).
- He joined Chris Johnson (2009), Earl Campbell (1978–1980, 1983) and Eddie George (2000) as the only players in franchise history with 1,200 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns in a season.
- He is the first Titans player with four consecutive 100-yard rushing games since Chris Johnson (12) from 2009-10.
- In passing 750 career rushing attempts, he reached the minimum number of carries to qualify for franchise and NFL career rushing average records. With his current career rushing average of 4.71 yards per carry (3,536 yards on 751 attempts), he took over first place in franchise history (Chris Johnson, 4.57) and first place among all active NFL running backs (Adrian Peterson, 4.69).
As a team, Henry said the Titans are doing their part.
Now, heading into Sunday's game against the Texans, he hopes fans will do the same at Nissan Stadium when the two teams meet in a critical AFC South contest.
"It needs to be loud, it needs to be packed, it needs to be filled," Henry said. "We know at the beginning of the season it was kind of rough as we tried to find our identity.
"But we got this thing rolling and we need our fans to back us up. It's a big game, versus a division opponent, so we hope everybody is there and we hope it is loud. We need screaming and a lot of support because it's a big game."
The Tennessee Titans take on the Oakland Raiders in Week 14 of the 2019 season at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. (Photos: Donald Page)