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Mutual Respect: Titans RB Derrick Henry, Steelers HC Mike Tomlin Exchange Compliments


NASHVILLE – Derrick Henry has kicked things into another gear.

The Titans running back is coming off a 212-yard rushing performance against the Texans, which earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.

In five games, Henry already has 588 yards and six rushing touchdowns.

Now, he's preparing for the team's biggest challenge to date against a blitz-happy Pittsburgh Steelers defense that's allowing a measly 66.2 rushing yards per game.

"They have always been physical," Henry said of the Steelers. "They always have a physical defense. I feel like they always have a good defense, and always have a stout front with physical linebackers, guys that are physical in the back end as well, fast. They just have an all-around good defense, and they've been playing incredible football on that side of the ball.

"It's going to be a big challenge for us on Sunday."

On a conference call this week, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin raved about Henry, who became the first back in NFL history to rush for more than 200 yards in a game in three consecutive seasons.

Henry scored on a 94-yard run against the Texans, the eighth career touchdown of at least 65 yards.

"It's really astounding that a back his size is capable of going to the house just about every time he touches it," Tomlin said. "Over the course of the last 10 or 12 games, dating back to last year, this guy has a highlight reel of big runs unlike which I have never seen over that type of a time span.

"A lot is written and said about his size, his stiff arm, his power and those things, and all of those things are true. The damage that he does when he gets in open space, that he's able to couple those attributes with sprinter's speed, is just ridiculous."

Henry said he's flattered by the compliment, but he knows the Titans have to get better.

Henry said he has a lot of respect for Tomlin as well.

"(Tomlin) has been doing a great job since he's been with the (Steelers) organization, the teams that he's had," Henry said. "I feel like they are always in the playoffs, and he always has them well prepared – they always have a great defense, explosive guys on offense. I feel like they are always an overall great team and I feel like credit should go to him – they have a great coaching staff.

"I think we have moved past last week," Henry added. "Last week is last week, and we are focused on the challenge we have now. We know what kind of team we are facing – undefeated and playing good football on both sides. We are focused on preparing the right way and getting for Sunday. We know what kind of team we are facing a good team. It's going to be a good matchup."

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