Derrick Henry, the 6-foot-3, 247 pound star running back is a beast. Slowing him down is not an easy task, although not impossible as the Chiefs showed two years ago during their Super Bowl run. However, this Sunday will be very difficult.
Derrick Henry ran for 143 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries during the Titans’ 34–31 victory over the Bills on Monday night. He is the leading rusher in the league by a wide margin, and it is not surprising coming from the two-time defending NFL rushing champion.
His size helps him a great deal, as he is able to go through defenses with raw strength. However, a new quality came up this weekend: his speed! He has the top speed of a guy much smaller than him and he ran faster than anyone else so far this season.
On his 76-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter, Henry reached a top speed of 21.8 mph on the run, the fastest top speed of any ball carrier since September.
So, if you count his brute force and blazing speed, he is lethal! How can the Chiefs stop him?
Well, first of all, Andy Reid said that two of his defensive starters will be back on the practice field, and that’s such a relief.
Chris Jones and Charvarius Ward will play on Sunday against the Titans and try to help contain a Henry. The Chiefs, still struggling to be competitive defensively, will likely move Jones back to his initial position. The defense has given up the most yards per game this season, however, they showed a good performance in the second half against the Washington football team.
With a 3-3 record, the Chiefs need to slow down Derrick Henry to be able to win this game.
“We always say, ‘Kill the engine,’” Chiefs defensive end Tershawn Wharton said. “He’s a big guy so you got to take his legs out. That’s how you kill the engine on him.”
Henry has 783 rushing yards this season. Wharton just got an interception against Washington.
“When you watch him, as he builds up speed, that’s when he really gets dangerous at the second level,” Wharton said. “So coming in, try to stop him at the line of scrimmage and hold him there. He’s a good player, so good players are gonna make good plays,” Wharton continued. “But that’s what we’re trying to do. Just set the line of scrimmage upfront.”
The Titans are coming off a very emotional 34-31 victory over the Buffalo Bills on “Monday Night Football,” so they will have to keep their concentration tight against the Kansas City Chiefs. Plus, the Titans have quite a few injured players, including Caleb Farley and Chris Jackson, two cornerbacks, which will give a little advantage to the Chiefs’ offense.
Going back to Henry, the first defensive line of the Chiefs needs to stop him right away to avoid any surprises. A very significant number: he had a season-low 20 carries on Monday, but still rushed for 143 yards and three touchdowns. Many running backs would love to match the same “season-low”!
In two previous matchups against the Chiefs, Henry has averaged 123 yards on the ground. That is not his best performance and the Chiefs defense, as underdogs, could surprise a few people stopping King Henry.
Everybody knows the Titans’ offense runs through Henry, but the Chiefs need to find THE solution to stop him, or at the very least slow him down.