The Tennessee Titans needed a win Sunday in order to punch their ticket to the postseason.
Derrick Henry made sure that happened.
After sitting out Week 16, Henry ran for 211 yards with three touchdowns on 32 carries in the Titans’ 35-14 road win over the Houston Texans. Outside of lifting Tennessee to the playoffs, Henry’s monster performance clinched his standing as the leading rusher for the 2019 campaign with 1,540 yards.
The Titans now will head to Foxboro for Wild Card matchup with the Patriots on Saturday night. If the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner can keep pace against New England, Deion Sanders believes Tennessee has a real shot at moving on to the divisional round.
“Derrick Henry is a difference-maker,” Sanders said Sunday on NFL Network’s “NFL GameDay Prime.” “I love me some (Ryan) Tannehill, trust me. I love the guy coming off the bench, uprooting the starting quarterback (Marcus Mariota) that was one of the highest-picked guys in franchise history. Look, man. Tannehill is balling. Derrick Henry is the difference-maker. If this guy can have productivity like this versus New England, this team has a chance. The only thing I hate about this team is their pass defense. I feel like Tom Brady is going to have a field day picking these guys apart and they can’t do anything about it. That’s the Achilles heel with this team. But if they can run the ball consistently and control that clock, they got a shot.”
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 30, 2019
While Henry seemingly has found success against any defense he’s faced this season, he’ll be hard-pressed to light it up at Gillette Stadium. Bill Belichick is known for going all-out to subdue the opposition’s most important offensive player, and there’s no doubt the Titans’ offense goes through Henry. Henry was a non-factor in the Titans-Patriots divisional-round game two seasons ago, which saw him rush for just 28 yards on 12 carries in New England’s three-score victory.
That said, Henry, who’s averaging nearly 150 rushing yards per game over his last six contests, will receive far more than 12 carries this weekend.