Monday, January 25

Breaking Derrick Henry’s historic 2,000-yard rushing season for the Titans

It took Derrick Henry 223 rushing yards in Week 17 to hit the 2,000-yard mark for the season. No problem: the Titans star showed up at 250.

That made Henry the eighth running back in NFL history to reach 2,000 rushing yards in a single season. Henry finished Sunday with 34 carries for 250 yards and two touchdowns. Thanks to Henry’s monstrous day, Tennessee clinched the AFC South title with a 41-38 win over the Colts.

For the second year in a row, Henry claimed the NFL crown and is now also part of a legendary eight-player roster.

PLUS: Titans win gives Dolphins third pick in 2021 NFL Draft

How many running backs have had 2,000 yards in NFL history?

Henry is the eighth running back in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards in one season. Here’s the full list, sorted by total yards:

  • Eric Dickerson (1984) – 2,105
  • Adrian Peterson (2012) – 2,097
  • Jamal Lewis (2003) – 2,066
  • Barry Sanders (1997) – 2,053
  • Derrick Henry (2020) – 2,027
  • Terrell Davis (1998) – 2,008
  • Chris Johnson (2009) – 2,006
  • OJ Simpson (1973) – 2,003

Henry joined Johnson as representatives for the Titans on the 2,000-yard list, making Tennessee the only team with two players on the list, and Johnson gave a greeting on Twitter Sunday.

Exceed expectations

While none of the other 2,000-yard rushing seasons had the NFL’s next-gen stats to provide stat gems, Henry did, and he dominated the league in one category in particular.

In 2020, Henry led running backs in “yards above expectations” with a total of +412. He compiled a +211 against the Texans alone, more than all but four running backs compiled all season.

Derrick Henry, top professionals in all areas

Henry had a high-level season in 2019, achieving the strong finish he had in 2018 across a series of games. That resulted in 1,540 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns, both best in the league.

In 2020, however, Henry went beyond even his own achievements. He set personal records for carries (378), rushing yards (2,027), rushing touchdowns (17) and receptions (19).

Finishing strong

The conventional wisdom about Henry is that his 6-3, 247-pound build grows stronger as the season progresses and defenders wear out. That was the case in 2020, when Henry closed with 710 yards in his last four games to surpass the 2K mark.

In those past four games, Henry averaged 6.6 yards per carry and rushed for five touchdowns. Henry’s 227 rushing yards in Week 17 were the most in a final to surpass 2,000 yards of the eight players on the roster. Only Simpson also rushed at least 200 yards in the final game of the season to reach the milestone.

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