NFL: Tennessee Titans-Training Camp
Jul 26, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; during training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
Home » Blog » Titans may need Derrick Henry to beat Bengals

Titans may need Derrick Henry to beat Bengals

If the Tennessee Titans are going to appear in their first AFC Championship Game since 2002, they’ll need Derrick Henry to be healthy.

A running back in today’s NFL mattering? How’s that possible?

Meet Derrick Henry. Henry, who rushed for almost 1,000 yards in eight games before being sidelined with a foot injury — 937 yards and 10 touchdowns — but might be back on Saturday afternoon when the AFC’s top-seeded Tennessee Titans welcome in the Cincinnati Bengals.


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Henry is the league’s most devastating runner and along with Jonathan Taylor of the Indianapolis Colts, set the tone for his team unlike any other. Much like Taylor, Henry plays on a team limited in the passing game, largely because Ryan Tannehill feasts on play action and heavy boxes. Without Henry, Tannehill threw for 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions with only one 300-yard game over nine contests.

On Thursday, Titans wide receiver A.J. Brown told reporters how much Henry’s presence impacts the team, per

“It’ll definitely give us some confidence. He’s a tremendous player. In my opinion, I think he’s the best running back in the game. Just having him back, having that confidence with him around, at any moment, he could go for 70. That gives us confidence. So we’re excited.”

Against the Bengals, Tennessee will want to attempt limiting Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow. Considering the Titans don’t have a great group of corners to stop Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, the best course of action could be running with Henry to limit the possessions.


Read: Eagles Sticking With Jalen Hurts as Starting QB for 2022


Of course, there’s a balance to be struck. Henry hasn’t played — or practiced before this week — since November. Expecting the former 2,000-yard rusher to take the ball 30 times is extreme, even if Tennessee is trying to burn the clock at the end of a hopeful win.

However, Tennessee can use Henry to win on first down and set up a more balanced attack in which Tannehill can target Brown and fellow star receiver Julio Jones on the perimeter. While Cincinnati has been solid defensively in the front seven, its corners can be had, especially by such terrific talents.

Ultimately, this should be a close game between two very good teams, trying to get to the doorstep of the Super Bowl. With Henry, it’ll be that much easier for a Titans offense that has long sputtered without him.

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