Week 10 provided us with much to talk about. Has the Titans offense finally awoken? Has LaFleur figured out how to effectively use his personnel? Is this a sustainable model that the Titans can follow? Those questions will be answered at another time. In the meantime, the Titans provided a beatdown of the New England Patriots. Multiple players stepped up in a crucial game, including Derrick Henry, Marcus Mariota and Corey Davis. Who provided the most significant boost?
Offensive Titan of the Week
This weeks recipient may surprise some of you. I believe he was the most crucial offensive factor in the game though. Derrick Henry only touted the rock 11 times on Sunday. Those 11 carries produced 14 points for the Titans, which alone would have been enough to beat the Patriots. Henry provided something that opponents haven’t seen yet this season. An effective and bruising rushing attack. There had been a growing trend of Dion Lewis in this Titans offense. While Lewis still had the advantage in carries, Henry finally outperformed him for the first time in several weeks. Were the Patriots perhaps more worried about Lewis? It’s not out of the realm of possibility. Nevertheless, Derrick Henry provided the bruising force the Titans needed in this matchup.
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On Henry’s two touchdown runs, he showed something he hasn’t shown all season. Patience. Henry’s first rushing touchdown came late in the second quarter as he used tremendous vision to run the ball in for a 1-yard touchdown. Yes, it sounds weird to talk about vision on a one-yard rush. You have an incredibly short amount of time to react when receiving the ball, and Henry made the perfect decision to cut to the right side of the line. Henry’s second touchdown was perhaps more impressive. Mariota motioned out of the backfield allowing Henry to take a direct snap from the 10-yard line. Henry received the snap and immediately paused while stepping to the left. That slight pause was necessary to allow Quinton Spain to pull and clear out the lane for Henry. Henry’s patience paid dividends as he practically walked into the end zone. This game halfway through the fourth quarter, and ultimately ended any hopes of a New England comeback.
We’ve seen the Titans use Henry in the wildcat before. In week 2, Henry was used in the wildcat multiple times in a 20-17 win over the Houston Texans. The Titans have used it sparingly, but with success. Will the Titans continue using it this week in Indy? I doubt it, they seem to put it in the closet after a good game and save it for an unsuspecting opponent. It’s worth noting that the two games it has been prominently used in, have resulted in victories. There have been plenty of questions about Derrick Henry’s role in this offense. He’s proved he is still a vital cog for the Titans and will be needed to make a run in the postseason. #TitanUp