Here’s some good news for the Tennessee Titans as they strive for the AFC South title: Three of their remaining five regular-season games are on the road.
How is that good news? What about the home-field advantage?
For Titans running back Derrick Henry, he’s at home on the road.
On Sunday, Henry ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns on 27 carries and caught two passes for 7 yards in Tennessee’s 45-26 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The win allowed the Titans to take a one-game lead on the Colts in the AFC South.
“I think we just focused on what we could do as a team,” Henry said. “Being physical, finishing drives, getting off the field on third down for our defense, protecting the punter, kicker, return on special teams and playing an overall game, a great game, in all three phases. I feel like we did that today.”
Henry’s performance at Lucas Oil Stadium gave him eight consecutive regular-season road games with at least 100 rushing yards. That’s tied for the second-longest such streak in NFL history. Barry Sanders had a 10-game streak for the Detroit Lions in 1996 and 1997, and Chris Johnson had an eight-game streak for Tennessee in 2009 and 2010.
During the eight games, Henry has run for 1,121 yards and 13 touchdowns on 206 carries. Henry’s road stats don’t include last season’s playoffs when he ran for 446 yards and two touchdowns on 83 carries in three away games.
Henry’s road streak started at Indianapolis, where he ran for 149 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries in the Titans’ 31-17 victory on Dec. 1, 2019. Over the past two seasons, Henry is the only player to run for 100 yards against the Colts – and he’s done it three times.
In Sunday’s game, Henry scored three touchdowns in the first half.
Henry scored on a 12-yard run with 9:12 left in the first quarter as Tennessee took a 7-0 lead. The play was more of a swing pass than a handoff, but because the throw from quarterback Ryan Tannehill went backward, the touchdown went into the books as a run.
Henry scored on a 1-yard plunge with 6:15 left in the second quarter as the Titans went ahead 21-14.
Henry scored his 50th rushing touchdown from 11 yards out with 1:41 left in the first half as Tennessee extended its lead to 28-14.
Henry became the 80th player in NFL history with 50 rushing touchdowns, and he also passed 5,000 rushing yards in his career on Sunday, becoming the 142nd NFL player to reach that milestone.
Henry entered Sunday’s game as the NFL’s leading rusher, and he now has 1,228 yards and 12 touchdowns on 255 rushing attempts in 2020. Henry is the first player since the Kansas City Chiefs’ Larry Johnson in 2006 to have at least 1,200 rushing yards and 12 touchdowns in the first 11 games of the season. Former Alabama standout Shaun Alexander also is among the nine players who have accomplished the feat in the past 70 years, doing so during his NFL MVP season in 2005.
Henry’s performance on Sunday was the NFL’s 59th game in the past 70 years in which a player had at least 175 rushing yards and at least three touchdown runs, with the former Alabama All-American owning the past three. Only two players have more such games than Henry – Jim Brown, who had five, and LaDainian Tomlinson, who had four.
“I think if we go out there and do what we need to do as far as executing what’s called and focus on finishing as an offense, then all that stuff will take care of itself,” Henry said of his statistical achievements.
Henry was among the 28 former Alabama players who got on the field on the 12th Sunday of the NFL’s 101st season.
Two other former Alabama players were at the Tennessee-Indianapolis game:
· Rashaan Evans (Auburn High) started at inside linebacker for the Titans. Evans made four tackles and broke up pass.
· Colts center Ryan Kelly was designated as a game-day inactive. Kelly did not practice last week because of a neck injury.
In the other Sunday games:
Atlanta Falcons 43, Las Vegas Raiders 6
· James Carpenter started at left guard for the Falcons. Carpenter was carted off the field in the fourth quarter with what was reported as a groin injury.
· Josh Jacobs started at running back for the Raiders. Jacobs ran for 27 yards on seven carries and caught three passes for 17 yards. Before Sunday, Jacobs had not played in an NFL game and had fewer than 10 rushing attempts. Jacobs was a limited participant in practice last week because of a hip injury, but he left the game after what appeared to be an ankle injury on Sunday.
· Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones (Foley) was designated as a game-day inactive. A hamstring injury that had Jones in and out of Atlanta’s previous game prevented him from playing.
· Calvin Ridley started at wide receiver for the Falcons. Ridley caught six passes for 50 yards and one touchdown. Ridley had a 4-yard touchdown reception with 2:17 left in the first half as Atlanta took a 13-3 lead. Ridley’s touchdown catch was the 24th in 39 regular-season games. Only eight players since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 have had more TD receptions at that point in their careers. Ridley missed a game earlier this month with a foot injury, and he left the game early.
· Henry Ruggs III (Lee-Montgomery) started at wide receiver for the Raiders. Ruggs caught three for 56 yards, including a 36-yard grab on a fourth-and-3 throw. Ruggs also returned two kickoffs for 39 yards.
Buffalo Bills 27, Los Angeles Chargers 17
· Chargers long snapper Cole Mazza handled the snaps on six punts, one field goal and one extra point. Mazza also made a tackle on special teams.
· Chargers nose tackle Damion Square made two tackles.
· Levi Wallace started at cornerback for the Bills. Wallace made seven tackles.
· Bills running back T.J. Yeldon (Daphne) was designated as a game-day inactive.
New York Giants 19, Cincinnati Bengals 17
· Bengals cornerback Tony Brown played but did not record any stats.
· Giants safety Xavier McKinney made a special-teams tackle in his NFL debut. A second-round draft choice in April, McKinney suffered a broken bone in his foot at training camp in August that caused him to miss New York’s first 10 games of the 2020 season.
· Dalvin Tomlinson started at nose tackle for the Giants. Tomlinson made one tackle and registered a quarterback hit.
· Jonah Williams started at left offensive tackle for the Bengals.
Cleveland Browns 27, Jacksonville Jaguars 25
· Ronnie Harrison started at strong safety for the Browns. Harrison made the tackle for Cleveland on the first snap of the game, but he suffered a shoulder injury on the play and missed the remainder of the contest against his old team. Harrison played his first two NFL seasons with the Jaguars before they traded him to the Browns on Sept. 3.
· Cam Robinson started at left offensive tackle for the Jaguars.
· Jedrick Wills started at left offensive tackle for the Browns.
· Mack Wilson (Carver-Montgomery) started at inside linebacker for the Browns. Wilson made three tackles and broke up a pass.
Minnesota Vikings 28, Carolina Panthers 27
· Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. was designated as a game-day inactive. Smith did not practice on Thursday and Friday because of groin and back injuries.
New England Patriots 20, Arizona Cardinals 17
· Kenyan Drake started at running back for the Cardinals. Drake ran for 78 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries and caught three passes for 15 yards. Drake scored the game’s first points on 1-yard run with 12:09 left in the first quarter and went in from 1 yard out again with 8:02 left to play as Arizona tied the game at 17-17. Drake almost had three 1-yard TD runs in the game. On the final play of the first half, the Cardinals went for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal at the New England 1-yard line rather than kick a field goal, and the Patriots stopped Drake for no gain to keep Arizona’s lead at 10-7.
· Damien Harris started at running back for the Patriots. Harris ran for 47 yards on 14 carries.
· Patriots outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings (Dadeville) played but did not record any stats. However, he did incur a penalty that New England coach Bill Belichick disputed. Arizona punted to end its first possession of the second half, and the Patriots’ Gunner Olszewski ran it back 82 yards for a touchdown. But Jennings was called for a blindside block at the Arizona 24-yard line, nullifying the touchdown.
· Dre Kirkpatrick (Gadsden City) started at cornerback for the Cardinals. Kirkpatrick made three tackles and intercepted a pass. Kirkpatrick’s third interception of the season and 13th of his career came with 4:27 left in the game. After Kirkpatrick’s 13-yard return, the takeaway gave Arizona possession at the New England 47-yard line with the game tied 17-17. The Cardinals didn’t take advantage of the interception and missed a 45-yard field-goal attempt with 1:47 remaining.
Miami Dolphins 20, New York Jets 3
· Raekwon Davis started at defensive end for Dolphins. Davis made five tackles and recorded the first sack of his career.
· Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was designated as a game-day inactive. Tagovailoa injured the thumb on his throwing hand at practice on Wednesday. Tagovailoa had started the previous four games, but his injury returned Ryan Fitzpatrick to the field. Fitzpatrick had started the first six games of the season. Against the Jets, Fitzpatrick completed 24-of-39 passes for 257 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
· Quinnen Williams (Wenonah) started at defensive tackle for the Jets. Williams equaled his career high with seven tackles, recorded 1.5 sacks, registered three quarterback hits, broke up two passes and forced a fumble. New York recovered the fumble to take possession at the Miami 26-yard line while trailing 13-3 with 38 seconds left in the third quarter. The Jets didn’t capitalize on the takeaway by getting stopped on downs.
New Orleans Saints 31, Denver Broncos 3
· Broncos inside linebacker Mark Barron (St. Paul’s Episcopal) was designated as a game-day inactive. Barron returned to Denver’s 53-man roster from injured reserve on Wednesday, but he was not among the Broncos’ 48 active players on Sunday.
· Kareem Jackson started at strong safety for the Broncos. Jackson made three tackles.
· Jerry Jeudy started at wide receiver for the Broncos. Jeudy did not catch a pass and was targeted only once. Denver completed only one pass in the game. With their four quarterbacks sidelined by the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol, the Broncos used practice-squad wide receiver Kendall Hinton at QB. He completed 1-of-9 passes for 13 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
San Francisco 49ers 23, Los Angeles Rams 20
· Rams outside linebacker Terrell Lewis was designated as a game-day inactive. Lewis did not practice last week because of a knee problem.
· Rams defensive tackle A’Shawn Robinson made one tackle.
Green Bay Packers 41, Chicago Bears 25
· Eddie Jackson started at safety for the Bears. Jackson made four tackles and broke up a pass.
· Packers punter JK Scott had a 46.0-yard average on two punts – a 50-yarder that resulted in a fair catch at the Chicago 26-yard line and 42-yarder that resulted in a fair catch at the Chicago 18.
Week 12 started on Thanksgiving with the Houston Texans’ 41-25 victory over the Detroit Lions and the Washington Football Team’s 41-16 victory over Dallas Cowboys.
Week 12 continues on Monday when the Seattle Seahawks visit the Philadelphia Eagles at 7:15 p.m. CST. ESPN will televise the game.
Week 12 concludes on Tuesday when the Baltimore Ravens visit the Pittsburgh Steelers at 7 p.m. NBC will televise the game. The contest was scheduled for Thursday, rescheduled for Sunday and finally pushed to Tuesday because of the Ravens’ COVID-19 issues.
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at @AMarkG1.
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