As you might expect, Tennessee’s star running back Derrick Henry had the lion’s share, gaining 219 yards (and two touchdowns) on 32 rushing attempts, averaging a stunning 6.8 yards per attempt. According to NFL Research, it was a performance for the record books.
Most career games with 200+ rush yards & 2+ rush TD since 1950:— NFL Research (@NFLResearch) October 30, 2022
Derrick Henry (6)
Derrick Henry vs Texans (4)
LaDainian Tomlinson (3)
Barry Sanders (3)
Jim Brown (3)#Titans @Titans @KingHenry_2 @ProFootballHOF
With six career games with over 200 rushing yards, Henry is now tied with Adrian Peterson and O.J. Simpson for the most in NFL history.
Since Henry joined the team, the Chiefs and Titans have played five regular-season and playoff games. Kansas City has won just one of them. In the most recent matchup, the Chiefs were dominated 27-3 in Week 7 of 2021. Although Henry was held to just 86 yards in that game, he rushed for more than 150 yards in two other victories over Kansas City.
So it goes without saying that when Chiefs head coach Andy Reid meets with reporters on Monday, Henry’s performance against the Texans — and his previous games against Kansas City — will be among the subjects he’ll be asked to address. Reid is almost certain to say that limiting Henry will be among his team’s top priorities on Sunday night.
It should be noted, however, that the running back’s incredible day didn't occur in a vacuum. Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill sprained his ankle during the Week 7 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. While he missed only three snaps in that game, he was limited in Wednesday and Thursday’s practice before being held out of Friday’s session (and the game) with an illness.
Starting in Tannehill’s place, rookie quarterback Malik Willis threw only 10 passes (completing six of them) for 55 yards and no touchdowns — along with one interception — recording a passer rating of only 35.4 in his NFL debut.
“If they can’t stop the run, why would we not run it?” said Willis after the game, per NFL.com. “More than anything, we’re not out here to try to throw for 300 every game or try to run for 300 every game. We’re out here trying to find ways to win games. That’s all.”
Whether Tannehill will be available for Sunday night’s game in Kansas City is unknown. But even if he isn’t, Titans coach Mike Vrabel isn’t prepared to say that his team will take the same approach against the Chiefs.
“We tried what we felt like gave us the best chance to win the football game,” he told reporters after the game. “That is going to change each and every week.”
While the Chiefs are currently 11-point favorites in the Week 9 Sunday Night Football matchup, nothing about a game against the AFC South’s top team (also entering the game at 5-2) should be taken for granted. While finding a way to stop Henry will undoubtedly be among the team’s main goals, strategizing against Vrabel has often proved difficult for Reid and his staff.
One way or another, Sunday’s game will likely prove to be memorable.