AFC Championship: The bosses are at the mercy of Derrick Henry


KANSAS CITY, MO – Patrick Mahomes plays soccer like a magician. Derrick Henry is more of a show and tell leader.

Since the chief's quarterback makes unlikely throws and escape actions, it is nothing special for the titans to run back and run through tacklers. Everything will go according to plan when the chiefs perform more mileage and the titans are ahead of the game on Sunday, the end of the AFC championship game.

But who will have more points? It depends more on Henry, the 2019 NFL rushing leader, than on Mahomes, the 2018 NFL MVP, because the chiefs are versatile, while the underdog titans are a one-trick pony … er, one-trick workhorse.

"Derrick is one of the biggest and most physical backs I've ever seen," said Titan quarterback Ryan Tannehill. "If it is muddy, it will go three meters. If it is open and it reaches the second level, it can reach 70."

The 6-foot-3, 247-pound Henry reminds head coach Andy Reid of former Titan star Eddie George.

Derrick Henry
Derrick HenryGetty Images

"This child could be taller than Eddie," said Reid. “Both are big, strong backs that can run fast. You look at them and say, "Man, that would be good tight ends, too."

Henry is the first player in NFL playoff history to play two games of at least 180 rushing yards. If he plays 150 against the Chiefs, he will be the only player to join Terrell Davis with three of at least 150 fleets. It takes 123 to join Davis and John Riggins as the only player with 500 rushing yards in a single postseason.

Since 2017, Henry has the most rush yards (561) for each player in his first four career playoff games. The numbers show that much of the damage occurs in the second half of the year when the tacklers subside from the pounding.

"I think the more carriers I get, the faster I get," said Henry. "And get a better feel for the game if the game continues."

The chiefs have a strong pass rush and will run lightning.

"He comes to me and says," Give me the ball, "said Titan coach Mike Vrabel." He is one of the best conditioned players on our team. If you watch him in April, May and June, he trains and builds. "

In an era of tandem backfields, Henry is one of three running backs to join Le’Veon Bell and Ezekiel Elliott (twice). Over the past three years, 300 carry balls have been scored in one season. He finished 15 games with 1,450 rushing yards and threw a touchdown pass last week to deceive the ravens.

"Even when they're down, they're still feeding him the ball," said Chiefs security bully Mathieu. "It's like playing basketball, and your coach tells you," Keep shooting. "You build that confidence and you know the team believes in you."

Henry hurried for 188 yards and two touchdowns when the titans angered the chiefs in week 10.

"We all have to wrap him up and try to bring him down," said Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens. "You just have to stretch out his legs. If you attack him high, he will usually carry you five meters further. "