The Kansas City Chiefs’ first challenge after the bye week is a familiar one.
“He’s a great player and you’re not going to stop him on every play,” head coach Andy Reid said of Titans All-Pro running back Derrick Henry on Wednesday. “There’s gonna be things that you’re gonna try to do to stop him... [but] I think the whole NFL has tried that.”
After a slow start to the season, Tennessee’s No. 22 recorded his strongest showing of the 2022 season on Sunday, riding a season-high 32 carries to 219 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns in a 17-10 divisional win over the Houston Texans.
Despite Henry (and his team’s) momentum seemingly heading in the right direction, Kansas City boasts a new physical and mental mindset for dethroning “King Henry” in primetime — as they will have to do when the Titans come to Kansas City on Sunday night.
“I welcome the chance and opportunity of anybody coming in here trying to disrupt us getting to 6-2,” defensive lineman Carlos Dunlap said on Wednesday.
Dunlap cited the importance of tackling as the margin between winning and losing Sunday night.
“He can’t run without his legs — but he’s not gonna let you just have his legs,” said Dunlap.
Henry’s legs have churned early and often so far this season, leading the league in total carries (166) and ranking third in rushing yards (755) and rushing touchdowns (7).
“Obviously, you acknowledge who he is and what his strengths and weaknesses are,” added Dunlap, “and then you put yourself in a position to get to 6-2. That’s what I put my mindset on.”
Tennessee has proved to be a thorn in the side of the Reid/Mahomes-era Chiefs, besting KC in five of their last six matchups.
Henry totaled 102 scrimmage yards and even threw a touchdown pass in the Titans' 27-3 drubbing of the Chiefs in Week 7 of 2021.
“If you stop him, you will win the game,” linebacker Willie Gay said of the two-time Pro Bowler. “Just respect him and do our job and build a wall up front. And if we do that, we like our chances.”
Gay said that stopping Henry was the key for the Chiefs to pick up their sixth victory.
“That’s really the main thing,” he said. “You take away Derrick Henry — not saying they don’t have anything else — that’s the Titans. It’s like taking away Patrick Mahomes from our offense.”