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Patience Rewarded: Derrick Henry Steps Up Big for Titans

Posted Oct 17, 2017

Titans running back Derrick Henry ran for 131 yards on 19 carries on Monday night, and his 72-yard touchdown run sealed the deal in a 36-22 win over the Colts.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Running back Derrick Henry wrapped up his post-game interview in the locker room late Monday night, and was greeted by Titans teammate Taylor Lewan.

“Hey, write it down,” Lewan said as he approached the crowd of reporters, and No.22. “Derrick Henry, G … O … A … T. The dude is a legend.”

Henry got it done in the team’s 36-22 win over the Colts. The second-year back ran for 131 yards on 19 carries, and his 72-yard touchdown run sealed the deal in the final minute. It was the first 100-yard rushing game in Henry’s NFL career.

Henry said his goal was to get a first down on the third down play. Henry needed five yards -- he got much more.

“When I broke that tackle and got past the safety,” Henry said with a smile. “I saw grass, and I had to go for it. I would expect anybody’s eyes to get big, and I’m glad I (scored).”

So were the Titans, who promised publicly this week to get Henry more work, and delivered.

Henry played 40 of the game’s 70 offensive snaps, two more plays than running back DeMarco Murray, who ran for 40 yards and a touchdown himself.

Henry averaged a healthy 6.3 yards after contact per attempt, per Pro Football Focus. Altogether, 90.8 percent of Henry’s rush yards came after contact.

“That’s a big boy to try and tackle,” tight end Delanie Walker said of the 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry. “When DBs see him run obviously they shy away and he took it to the house.”

Henry, who leads the team with 318 rushing yards after six games, said he was happy to get the opportunity to help the team.

“I just want to make plays for the offense,” Henry said. “(You just) have to trust the process. As a kid, before you got to the NFL, you play this game for the passion because you fell in love with it – just going out there and playing the game in Pop Warner, middle school, high school. And then you get here and you still have that competitiveness that you want to play, but at the same time you have to stay patient and trust the process.

“When I get the opportunity I want to take advantage of it.”

Titans coach Mike Mularkey was pleased.

“I thought he did a great job when he had the chance.” Mularkey said of Henry.

Added quarterback Marcus Mariota: “When he is in the open field, he is tough to tackle. He got a good burst of speed and you saw it there. He’s a great player for us, somebody that can make plays and he made a huge one for us there.”

Henry, a Heisman Trophy winner who played on the big stage plenty at the University of Alabama, said it was fun to play on Monday night -- and win.

“Every kid wants to play on Monday night,” Henry said. “It was a great night to play on Monday night, and get a victory.”