The 2019 NFL rushing champion is off to a tremendous start this season and putting up numbers in one area that haven’t been seen lately.
Only seven times in NFL history where a player has run for at least 2,000 yards in a single season. However, even rarer is that in only five instances, a player has totaled at least 400 rushing attempts in a league campaign. The NFL record for carries in a season is owned by Larry Johnson, who logged 416 attempts for the Chiefs in 2006. And that was the last time a player reached the 400-attempt mark in the league.
By the way, the others are Atlanta’s Jamal Anderson (410) in 1998, Tampa Bay’s James Wilder (407) in 1984, Pro Football Hall of Famer Eric Dickerson (404) with the Rams in 1984 – the year he also set the league record for rushing yards in a season (2,105) – and Tennessee’s Eddie George (403) in 2000.
And speaking of the Titans, current workhorse Derrick Henry – who parlayed a strong stretch run into the NFL rushing title in 2019 – is off to an impressive start this year. He leads the league with 123 carries and 588 yards on the ground. The imposing runner twice in each of the team’s last three games. Mike Vrabel’s team sports a perfect 5-0 record and will host the equally 5-0 Steelers on Sunday.
A relentless ground attack makes life easier for an entire football team. It bolsters the play-action passing attack and it’s safe to say quarterback Ryan Tannehill has also had a significant role in the Titans’ recent resurgence. But along with the franchise’s pursuit of its first 10-win season as well as first division title since 2008 is whether Henry could possibly challenge the NFL record for rushing attempts in a season? It’s awfully early to consider that feat and it certainly takes a back seat to winning but it’s somewhat interesting considering how the running game just isn’t what it used to be in today’s National Football League.
Henry has totaled at least 20 carries in four of his five outings this year. He’s picked up where he left off late last season and in the playoffs in terms of workload. And it will be fascinating to see if he and the Titans keep up the pace or surpass it when it comes to his attempts. It’s hard to argue with a 5-0 record and who knows what kind of numbers the 2015 Heisman Trophy Winner and the former University of Alabama standout is capable of in this intriguing 2020 season.