Although it’s attainable a facsimile of Derrick Henry exists in Palau or Kyrgyzstan or in some astral airplane, there has by no means been an N.F.L. operating again as tall as Henry, as thick as Henry and as swift as Henry. That reality has been usually actually good for the Tennessee Titans and actually unhealthy for everybody else.
Those that fall beneath the Everybody Else heading will get an indefinite reprieve from Henry’s weekly stampedes after he damage his proper foot Sunday in Tennessee’s 34-31 time beyond regulation victory at Indianapolis. He’s scheduled to endure surgical procedure Tuesday and there isn’t but a timetable for his return. Henry’s absence is a monstrous loss for the Titans (6-2), for his pursuit of a half-dozen speeding marks, and for individuals who get pleasure from watching large, sturdy, quick folks do absurd issues with a soccer. Which ought to be everybody who is just not chargeable for tackling him.
Henry led the league in speeding makes an attempt, speeding yardage and speeding touchdowns in 2019. He led the league in these classes in 2020. Eight weeks into this season, he leads in all of them once more.
These statistics — 219 rushes, 937 yards, 10 touchdowns this season — as soon as signified promise and potential, the opportunity of Henry’s trampling information and defenders to publish probably the greatest speeding seasons ever. Now the numbers, as if on a damaged odometer, are caught as is, unlikely to swell once more in 2021.
Henry had been not solely matching his 2020 efficiency — when he rushed for the fifth-most yards in a single season league historical past — however was outpacing each different again by such huge margins that it was affordable to wonder if they had been all taking part in the identical sport.
Guess what? They type of weren’t.
In a league the place high-volume operating backs have light as groups search to benefit from guidelines that profit quarterbacks and passing offenses, the Titans have been, unabashedly, an anachronism. Their offensive id has centered on handing the ball, again and again, to the 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry.
Tennessee runs the ball extra on first and second down (55 %) than any workforce besides Chicago and New Orleans, according to Sharp Football Stats — excess of the league common of 46 % in these conditions. In an effort to include him, defenses typically deploy eight of their 11 gamers within the field, the compressed space usually occupied by defensive linemen and linebackers. Henry has confronted these so-called stacked containers at a higher price (36.5) than everybody however Mark Ingram, Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell, according to N.F.L.’s Next Gen Stats and the additional consideration deters neither Tennessee nor him.
After operating 28 instances Sunday towards Indianapolis to carry his season complete to 219, Henry has essentially the most carries by way of the primary eight video games of the season, according to Pro Football Reference.
He has gained 288 extra yards than the next-closest operating again, Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts, and has carried the ball 82 extra instances than the next-closest operating again, Joe Mixon of the Cincinnati Bengals.
Within the small subset of N.F.L. backs that approximate Henry’s dimensions, none produce like he does. Cookie Gilchrist, listed by Professional Soccer Reference as 6-foot-3 and 251 kilos, ran for 1,096 yards for Buffalo in 1962 in a 14-game American Soccer League season. Henry practically doubled that complete final season, when he rushed for two,027 in 16 video games.
Of his speeding yards, the overwhelming majority have come after contact. Though superior statistical websites appear to vary on the precise quantity, Pro Football Focus said that Henry had piled up 728 after being hit — 265 greater than Taylor, who has the second-most this season.
Actually, there’s hardly a statistic related to Henry that he isn’t commanding. Touches? By loads (237). Yards from scrimmage? Test (1,091). Whole touchdowns (10, tied with Rams receiver Cooper Kupp), all-purpose yardage (1,091), first downs (49). Yup, yup and yup.
Contemplating that the passing revolution has assailed N.F.L. annals over the past 20 years, it figured that the league’s transfer to a 17-game schedule would hasten the demise of the single-season quarterbacking marks left standing. The additional sport has additionally made attainable the operating information which have stood for nearly 40 years.
Henry has been a paragon of sturdiness, lacking solely two of 88 profession video games earlier than his foot harm, but additionally a beacon of late-season awesomeness: Throughout 2019 and 2020, according to Pro Football Reference, he averaged 4.2 yards per rush and 88.9 yards per sport in September and October. His averages vaulted to six yards per rush and 136.6 per sport over the remainder of the season. With another sport added, these lofty speeding information stood as little likelihood as Henry’s tacklers.
As a substitute, Henry will miss the common season months when he appears to get stronger. There will probably be no alternatives for him to stiff-arm the Patriots within the late-autumn New England chill (Week 12) or to flatten the Steelers in frosty Pittsburgh (Week 15) or batter the 49ers at residence in prime-time (Week 16).
As such, Eric Dickerson’s single-season speeding mark of two,105 yards in 1984 stays protected for an additional yr. So will Larry Johnson’s 416 carries (2006), and James Wilder’s 492 touches (1984) and even Chris Johnson’s 2,509 yards from scrimmage (2009).
Henry may have damaged all of them. Perhaps he nonetheless will — subsequent season.