Enjoy Derrick Henry’s High-Mileage Fun. History Shows It’s Unsustainable.

Tennessee Titans working again Derrick Henry is the closing American muscle automobile. He’s massive, speedy, robust, a bit of intimidating and undeniably retro-cool. However he’s now not very sensible, and in spite of appearances, he’s most definitely now not constructed to closing.

Henry rushed for two,027 yards this season, the fifth-highest general in N.F.L. historical past. He changed into the second one working again to eclipse 2,000 speeding yards since Chris Johnson of the Titans in 2009 and Adrian Peterson in 2012, and is simply the 8th participant in league historical past to achieve that milestone. Henry led or tied for the lead in rushes, yards and speeding touchdowns for the second one consecutive season in 2020.

Henry’s accomplishments turn into much more exceptional on nearer exam. He rushed for 1,268 yards on first downs on my own; that manufacturing on its own would have allowed him to complete 3rd within the N.F.L. in general speeding yards. Henry ran for 710 yards in his ultimate 4 video games, together with 250 yards because the Titans clinched the A.F.C. South with a 41-38 victory over the Houston Texans, reinforcing his recognition for buying more potent because the season wears on. Professional Soccer Center of attention credit Henry with a league-high 77 eluded tackles on working performs; Henry “eludes” maximum tacklers by way of tossing them out of the saloon just like the hero of a wild West serial, however that also counts.

A equivalent efficiency this yr may vault the Titans into the Tremendous Bowl and Henry onto a brief checklist of all-time legends.

(The truth that utilization declined on the identical time that the Curse of 370 won publicity is infrequently a twist of fate. N.F.L. resolution makers act like highschool difficult guys relating to analytics, shouting “Math is for nerds!” at information meetings, then whispering asks for all of the take a look at solutions.)

Henry’s rugged taste best compounds considerations about his workload. Most current working backs double as receivers, permitting them to paintings the sidelines and take in fewer hits in opposition to smaller defenders. Henry hammers the center of the sector like a 1970s working again, turning each and every Sunday right into a demolition derby. It’s a refreshing exchange of tempo in a league that has strayed a ways from its muddy roots, and Henry surely catches some defenders off guard by way of opting to run directly via them as an alternative of round them. However between the carries and the collisions, Henry has voided the phrases of his carrier guaranty and is beginning to tempt destiny.

Henry will have to do no matter it takes to muscle the Titans method into the Tremendous Bowl this yr, as a result of historical past warns that they’re going to now not get many extra possibilities.

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