NASHVILLE – Roughly a quarter into the season, Derrick Henry is starting to get revved up.
The Titans running back is coming off his first 100-yard game of the season – a 114-yard performance in Sunday's win over the Colts.
Henry broke free for a 19-yard touchdown run in that contest, when he averaged 5.2 yards per carry. It came on the heels of a game when he racked up 143 all-purpose yards (85 rush, 58 receiving) in a win over the Raiders.
Through four games, Henry has 306 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He's on pace to finish the year with 1,301 yards, but as we've seen in past seasons, he's picked up steam in the second half of the season.
But, as with anything in football, things could be better.
Like the rest of the Titans offense, the running game hasn't been as successful in the second half of games this season, and that's something Henry, and everyone else for that matter, would like to see improve moving forward, beginning with Sunday's game against the Washington Commanders.
"We're just shooting ourselves in the foot," Henry said on Thursday. "It's just the little things, and I feel like if we clean that up, we'll do what we want to do in the second half. It is working on it and fixing it out here (in practices)."
A first half/second half breakdown of Henry and the running game so far:
-In the first half of games this season, Henry has 45 carries for 231 yards and three touchdowns. He's averaging 5.1 yards per carry. The rushing total in the first half of games this season leads the NFL.
-In the second half of games this season, Henry has 31 carries for 75 yards and no touchdowns. He's averaging 2.4 yards per carry.
Here's a stat that might surprise you: Running back Hassan Haskins has more rushing yards (28) than Henry does (17) in 2022. Henry in the fourth quarter this season: 13 carries, with a 1.3-yard average per carry.
It's all part of a concerning second half trend the Titans are looking to get corrected.
Titans OC Todd Downing offered this theory on the second half struggles in the run game:
"A couple of factors," Downing said on Thursday. "Obviously, not gaining first downs doesn't give you the ability to repeat runs in the second half. And I think that is something we have done well in the first half, we've come back to runs and made minor adjustments or Derrick sees the read again, the combination gets a second chance to fit it. And if you don't gain first downs in the second half then you don't have the opportunity to repeat runs like that.
"And secondly, we just have to be more efficient with our opportunities. We have a couple of hiccups that cause some inefficient runs. If we can get those straightened out, I think we'll start to take of."
Henry led the NFL with 2,637 rushing yards and 31 rushing touchdowns in the second half/overtime from 2019-21.
The Commanders enter Sunday's game ranked 23rd overall on defense, and 16th overall against the run, allowing 112.0 yards per game, and 4.44 yards per carry.
"We should be encouraged by the success we've had in moving guys off the ball," Henry said. "But I think we should want more and stay hungry."