Rushing champ Derrick Henry becomes the eighth back in NFL history to reach 2,000 yards

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Frank Schwab
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The days of the 2,000-yard running back were supposed to be done.

It’s a passing league. And 2,000 yards is rare anyway. Only seven players had done it before 2020. The last one was Adrian Peterson in 2012.

Derrick Henry is a rare talent.

Henry needed 223 yards to get to 2,000 for the season, which seemed like a lot to ask. He had more than 200 before the third quarter was done against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

With a little less than eight minutes left in the game, Henry ran around his right tackle for 6 yards to push his season total to 2,003. Henry finished the regular-season finale with 250 yards and the Titans won 41-38 on a last-second field goal to beat the Houston and win the AFC South championship.

The Titans’ victory earned them the No. 4 seed in the AFC playoffs, where they’ll host the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 10 in Round 1.

Henry’s huge day against the Texans made history. He became the eighth back in the NFL to rush for 2,000 yards in a season.

Here was the list before Sunday:

Eric Dickerson, 2,105 yards in 1984
Adrian Peterson, 2,097 yards in 2012
Jamal Lewis, 2,066 yards in 2003
Barry Sanders, 2,053 yards in 1997
Terrell Davis, 2,008 yards in 1998
Chris Johnson, 2,006 yards in 2009
O.J. Simpson, 2,003 yards in 1973

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs for a touchdown as Houston Texans' Jacob Martin (54) and Zach Cunningham (41) chase him. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) runs for a touchdown as Houston Texans' Jacob Martin (54) and Zach Cunningham (41) chase him. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Henry had a few huge runs to put himself in position to reach the 2,000-yard mark. His 52-yard touchdown in the second quarter gave the Titans a 10-3 lead. Henry needed a big second half to get to 2,000, and a 45-yard gain late in the third quarter put him well within range. That brought him to 201 yards for the game with a little more than five minutes left in the half.

Henry is the best pure runner in the NFL. He’s a throwback workhorse, with tremendous size and startling speed. He locked up his second straight rushing title on Sunday. And Henry made some NFL history too.

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