Derrick Henry has stolen the show the last two weeks for the Tennessee Titans, and deservedly so. He literally accounted for 56% of the entire offense and all six of the touchdowns scored against the Jaguars and Giants.
From the running back position, no less.
And while Henry’s performance the last two weeks are certainly worthy of its praise, so is the equally impressive performance of the defense.
You know, the other hero.
If not for the second-half shutout pitched by Tennessee’s defense three weeks ago against the Jets, then the last two performances by Henry would have been meaningless. They gave the ball back to the ofense time after time, which allowed Tennessee to overcoe a 16 point first-half deficit.
The defense picked up where they left off the following week against Jacksonville, smothering Leonard Fournette and the Jaguars offense. They allowed just 7 points, but more importantly, they dominated early…which allowed Tennessee to continue to pound the rock while playing with the lead.
And let’s not forget, it was the defense’s goal line stand that set up Henry’s 99 yard touchdown run the following play. The game was still in the balance prior to that critical stop.
Today, the defense played as close to perfect as humanly possible in a professional football game, pitching a shutout for the first time in 18 years.
But it’s not just the shutout itself, it’s who the defense shutout.
The New York Giants were averaging over 30 points per game the last five weeks, and they have one of the most explosive and dangerous players in the league in rookie running back Saquan Barkley.
The front-runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year was taken out of the run and pass game, something no defense has accomplished this season.
Even without star Odell Beckham Jr, no one would have predicted that a Barkley led offense would fail to score a point without several missed field goal attempts at the least.
And that was not the case.
As it was in last week’s victory, the defense’s performance allowed Tennessee to play with the lead, which led to complimentary football as the offense was afforded the luxury of sticking with Henry.
Regardless of who get’s the lion’s share of the credit, if Henry and the defense continue to play harmonious football then they could very well be playing during wild card weekend.