Alabama in the Pros

Derrick Henry pushes Titans to second round of playoffs, following win over Chiefs

Jay Biggerstaff - USA TODAY Sports

After the University of Alabama rode him through the 2015 season with a Southeastern Conference championship and a national title, the Tennessee Titans turned to running back Derrick Henry in Saturday’s NFL Wild Card game against Kansas City. 

While its offense had been inconsistent all year, Henry complemented Marcus Mariota in totaling 156 yards rushing with a touchdown on 23 carries in Tennessee’s 22-21 win over the Chiefs.

Titans’ head coach Mike Mularkey witnessed a huge second half comeback, as Henry helped it shutout Kansas City 19-0 (Chiefs led 21-3 at halftime). 

His performance notched him a third 100-yard outing, to pair alongside two catches for 35 receiving yards. The 6-foot-3, 247-pounder was prominent during Tennessee’s 91-yard scoring drive on 15 plays in the third quarter, seeing that he touched the ball six times – including twice where he converted first downs.

Despite the effort narrowing the Chiefs’ lead to 21-16, Henry’s 35-yard touchdown run to start the fourth quarter put the team on top for good.  

He averaged 6.8 yards per carry, while five of his 25 touches – 20 percent – resulted in first downs for the Titans.

Behind the 2015 Heisman winner and 2016 second-round pick, Tennessee converted eight of 13 third downs and totaled 397 yards offensively (202 rushing) on 64 plays. 

Currently, Henry has 900 rushing yards with six scores on 199 attempts.

Following the win, Henry and company will face the winner of Jacksonville/Buffalo in the other Wild Card matchup for the AFC on next week in a divisional round showdown.  

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @Smsmith_TDALMag.

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