That’s the most compelling question in this week’s flashback that goes to Tennessee’s last regular season game at Seattle in the 2009 season finale.
Johnson finished the day with 2,006 rushing yards, becoming the sixth player in NFL history to reach the mark but he wanted to go after Eric Dickerson’s record of 2,105 that was set in 1984, a year before Johnson was born. (Minnesota's Adrian Peterson became the seventh player last season with 2,097 yards last season).
Johnson first appeared to eclipse the 2,000-yard threshold with a 62-yard touchdown with 11:42 left in the fourth quarter, but a late flag thrown by referee Ed Hochuli for a holding call against Titans fullback Ahmard Hall wiped away the score.
|Chris Johnson became the sixth player in NFL history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season on this 4-yard carry against Seattle.|
Johnson had moved up to 1,992 yards before the play and was credited with a 6-yard gain prior to the spot where the penalty was enforced. Instead of having 2,054 yards, Johnson went back to 1,998. A 4-yard rush four plays later pushed Johnson past the threshold, but Tennessee was forced to punt the ball away with 8:29 left. Johnson netted eight rushing yards after the penalty but did score the game-winning touchdown with 4:33 remaining on what was his final carry of the season.
The Seahawks’ next possession took 3:21 before Gerald McRath intercepted Matt Hasselbeck, and the Titans opted to kneel the ball to run out the clock.
Johnson finished with 36 rushes for 134 yards, marking his 11th straight game with at least 100 yards rushing. As Tennessee prepared to return to Seattle for Sunday’s 3:05 p.m. (CT) game, Johnson said he sometimes thinks about how close he came.
“I know for sure it was a bad call because the year after that when we were doing NFL meetings and stuff, the referee who called the hold told me it was a bad call,” Johnson said. “I think I would have broken the record.”
Johnson did, however, set the NFL record for yards from scrimmage in a season with 2,509 and broke Earl Campbell’s franchise record of 1,934 rushing yards, giving cause for celebration.
Johnson, Hall, tight end Alge Crumpler, running backs coach Earnest Byner, the starting offensive line and Titans coach Mike Munchak, who was the former offensive line coach posed for pictures on the field after the game.
“The main memory I have of that day is they took the pictures without the receivers at the end of the game," Washington said. "It was just the offensive line and the fullback, like we had nothing to do with it. I still remember that.
“Honestly, the main thing I remember is I’m going to be sitting back when I’m 40, 50, 60 years old looking at this game on television with my kids and grandkids, so to have an opportunity to play with a guy that’s actually seen 2,000 yards, I think, is incredible," Washington added. "I think it’s definitely a true testament to hard work and dedication. A guy who came from a smaller school, nobody expected Chris Johnson to come in and make the noise that he did in the NFL, so to even be a part of something like that, not necessarily to be that guy, is still an accomplishment in my book. I’m proud to say I was one of the guys blocking for a 2,000-yard back.”
Johnson said receivers definitely helped spring him for long runs that season.
“If you look at a lot of the long runs, you see, especially