Derrick Henry isn’t fazed at all by loaded boxes.
The Tennessee Titans went into last week’s game hearing about how Derrick Henry wasn’t going to be able to run over the Baltimore Ravens defense like he did in the first round of the playoffs.
Fast forward a week later and people are completely disregarding the Ravens game and talking about how the Kansas City Chiefs offense could never be held to less than 35 points after their game against Houston.
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Despite the fact that the Tennessee Titans have nearly twice as many 35+ point games this season as the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chiefs offense keeps getting regarded as “better” for some reason.
When I take a second and look at it, the reason seems to be that people believe that it is easier to stop an offense that runs the ball instead of one that passes the ball.
Everyone keeps talking about what will happen if the Titans run game struggles and the Chiefs offense puts up points early. You mean…like it did the first time these teams played?
Although that isn’t really fair. While the Titans did fall behind 10-0 early in that game, the running game never really struggled as Derrick Henry had nearly 200 yards against the Chiefs in that matchup.
So what is this secret plan to stop Derrick Henry? Are the Chiefs going to load up the box with extra defenders and make Tannehill beat them with his arm?
Setting aside the fact that Tannehill could do that, the biggest problem with that logic is that you can load the box all you want and it won’t save your defense. Look the Baltimore Ravens and see how that turned out for a run defensive that is significantly better than what the Chiefs have:
Doing the math here, that means that Derrick Henry averaged 6.5 yards per carry against a loaded box and 6.5 yards per carry against a stacked box.
It made literally no difference to him whether or not the safety missed the tackle at the line of scrimmage or whether he stiff armed him into a blocker down the field, load that box up all you want but it wasn’t going to change the result.
The Titans are averaging 30.9 points per game (8 game sample size) since playing Kansas City in Week 10, the Chiefs are averaging 31.1 points per game (7 game sample size). The only difference between the two is that the Chiefs are boom or bust and the Titans are consistent.
It isn’t the Titans who have to worry about whether or not their offense will work, because they know that there is no right answer on how to stop Derrick Henry. Instead, Kansas City should be worried about how to stop the Titans offense and throwing more guys into the box isn’t going to be the easy fix that it looks like on paper.