ADVERTISEMENT

Derrick Henry becomes 8th player with 2,000 yards rushing

January 4, 2021 GMT
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry, center, fumbles the ball as Houston Texans inside linebacker Zach Cunningham (41) defends during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. The Texans recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
1 of 3
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry, center, fumbles the ball as Houston Texans inside linebacker Zach Cunningham (41) defends during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. The Texans recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)
1 of 3
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry, center, fumbles the ball as Houston Texans inside linebacker Zach Cunningham (41) defends during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Houston. The Texans recovered the fumble. (AP Photo/Sam Craft)

HOUSTON (AP) — King Henry added another jewel to his crown.

Already a back-to-back rushing champ before the game even started, Derrick Henry became the eighth player in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards in a season, finishing with a career-high 250 yards as the Titans beat the Houston Texans 41-38 on Sunday to win their first AFC South title since 2008.

“I got it. I did it,” Henry said. “But I ... wasn’t pressing for it, just wanted to be able to win the game as a team and make to the playoffs, win the division.”

Henry, who entered the game with 1,777 yards rushing, reached 2,000 on a 6-yard run in the fourth quarter.

ADVERTISEMENT

He said he was trying not to keep up with his statistics and told everyone he didn’t want to know how close he was getting.

“I knew somebody was going to keep track of it,” he said. “I think we were just all focused on winning, putting drives together, getting into the end zone and playing well as an offense. As long as we did that, what we wanted to happen would happen for us.”

He’s the first player to top 2,000 yards since Adrian Peterson had 2,097 in 2012.

Henry’s final carry of the day was a 4-yard run on Tennessee’s last drive and he finished the season with a franchise-record 2,027 yards.

His season ranks fifth in NFL history behind Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (2,105 in 1984), Peterson, Jamal Lewis (2,066 in 2003) and Hall of Famer Barry Sanders (2,053 in 1997).

Henry had a 52-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter and added a second score on a 6-yarder early in the third.

Another long run, this one for 45 yards later in the third quarter, put him at 201 yards rushing for the day. He lost a fumble on Tennessee’s next drive before reaching 2,000 in the fourth quarter.

“Incredibly durable, incredibly productive,” Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel said. “He’s disappointed putting the ball on the ground, but we understand the type of player he is and the impact that he has on this team on the field and off it. I’m proud to coach him and this entire football team.”

The fumble had the league’s best back talking about how he needs to improve.

“Fumble is a mistake, a fumble is not supposed to happen,” Henry said. “You’re supposed to take care of the ball, and I pride myself on trying to take care of the ball. I didn’t do that today well. So I got to fix that. I got to be cautious of it and be better next week.”

ADVERTISEMENT

Chris Johnson held the previous franchise record. He rushed for 2,006 yards in 2009, making the Titans the only team to have two players eclipse the 2,000-yard mark. Johnson cheered for Henry on Twitter when he drew close to 2,000 yards, posting: “2 2k’s!!!!”

Henry became the first player to lead the league in rushing in consecutive seasons since LaDaianian Tomlinson in 2006-07. Second-place rusher Dalvin Cook of Minnesota entered the week with 1,557 yards rushing and missed Sunday’s game after the death of his father.

Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner, ran for 1,540 yards last season.

He’s the first player in the Super Bowl era to rush for 200 or more yards against the same team in three straight games. He had 212 yards rushing in a Week 6 win against Houston and piled up 211 yards rushing in last year’s regular-season finale.

It was the fifth career 200-yard game for Henry, which ranks second behind Adrian Peterson and O.J. Simpson, who have six each.

“He’s a great running back,” Houston defensive end J.J. Watt said. “He’s big. He’s fast. He’s powerful. He does a good job. We obviously did not do enough to stop him today.”

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL