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2012 Season Rewind: Running Backs

Posted Jan 4, 2013

Titans Online is taking a look back at the 2012 season by position group.


Running backs | Click here to view other position reviews.

Chris Johnson showed he still has breakaway speed not once, not twice but thrice in 2012 when Johnson delivered three more touchdown runs of at least 80 yards.

Johnson has six scoring runs of 80 yards or more, which is an NFL record. The fifth-year pro recovered from a slow start to this season when he had 45 yards through three games and finished with 1,243 yards — the third-best total of his career. He hopes to build on those results next season.

“In a way, it’s going to be good because I think I have six right now, and no other player in the NFL has ever done it, so to have my name above those guys right there, that’s a pretty good accomplishment,” Johnson said. “I feel like I have a lot of records, and I feel like without Tennessee, that wouldn’t have been possible.”

Johnson set a franchise record with a 94-yard touchdown against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. That night he also paid tribute to the 26 victims of an elementary school shooting in Connecticut by writing their names on his shoes and put the record-setting cleats up for auction to benefit the Sandy Hook School Support Fund. He also reached out to family members of one of the victims to speak with them on the phone when he learned the family wanted to speak with him.

In addition to his run against the Jets, Johnson also reeled of an 83-yard score at Buffalo (click here to see it again) when he finished with a season-high 195 yards and an 80-yarder against Chicago (take another look), but his elusiveness on a 17-yard TD at Miami was equally impressive (watch it again). He continued to show his durability, playing in all 16 games and carrying the ball 276 times and adding 36 receptions.

Tennessee’s other running backs, however, were affected by injuries. Javon Ringer’s fourth season started slowly because of an infection that was diagnosed on opening weekend and ended abruptly when he suffered a season-ending knee injury at Minnesota in Week 5. Despite being second on the depth chart, Ringer appeared in two games and had two carries for 14 yards and three catches for 12 yards.

The Titans turned to Jamie Harper and Darius Reynaud to spell Johnson sporadically after the injury to Ringer. Harper scored three touchdowns in the two games after Ringer’s injury but dealt with ankle injuries that caused him to miss three of the final six games. He finished his second season with 19 carries for 30 yards and one catch for eight yards.

The Titans kept Reynaud, who moved up to replace injured punt and kick returner Marc Mariani, primarily in his role on special teams, where he proved to be a dynamic replacement. Reynaud completed his first season with the Titans with 16 carries for 33 yards and five catches for 35 yards.

Tennessee called up rookie fullback Collin Mooney from the practice squad to play on special teams and as an additional running back in two games. Mooney rushed five times for 19 yards in the season finale against Jacksonville.

Fullback Quinn Johnson handled blocking duties for Johnson and had four carries for five yards and caught five passes for 40 yards.

The chart below shows the stats for Tennessee’s running backs and quarterbacks in 2012. The team totals also include a 10-yard gain by Jordan Babineaux on a fake punt at Minnesota and a four-yard gain by rookie receiver Kendall Wright.

 

Rushing

Receiving

Player

No.

Yards

Avg.

Long

TDs

No.

Yards

Avg.

Long

TDs

 Chris  Johnson

276

1,243

4.5

94t

6

36

232

6.4

22

0

 Jake  Locker

41

291

7.1

32

1

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

 Matt  Hasselbeck

13

38

2.9

16

0

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

 Darius  Reynaud

16

33

2.1

11

0

5

35

7.0

9

0

 Jamie  Harper

19

30

1.6

13

3

1

8

8.0

8

0

 Collin  Mooney

5

19

3.8

8

0

0

0

0.0

0

0

 Javon  Ringer

2

14

7.0

9

0

3

12

4.0

6

0

 Jordan  Babineaux

1

10

10.0

10

0

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

 Quinn  Johnson

4

5

1.3

3

0

5

40

8.0

17

0

 Kendall  Wright

1

4

4.0

4

0

64

626

9.8

38

4

 RB/FB Totals

322

1,344

4.2

94t

9

50

327

6.5

22

0

 Titans Team Totals

378

1,687

4.5

94t

0

318

3,577

11.2

71t

17

 Opponents Totals

483

2,035

4.2

46

16

374

4,205

11.2

82t

31

The Titans’ rushing attack also suffered from injuries to the offensive line. By season’s end only one starter in training camp — Michael Roos — had not been placed on injured reserve. The Titans started six different combinations on the offensive line, including a different starting five in each of the final three games.

Chris Johnson said the Titans must be more consistent at running the football from week to week and within games next season.

“We showed a lot of facets this year, but it’s a situation where we’ve got to be more consistent,” Chris Johnson said. “From an offensive standpoint, we’ve got to execute our plays, and no matter what is called, we’ve got to make it work.”

 

Click here for a slideshow of Titans
running backs in 2012.

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