It is no secret that losing a star running back like Derrick Henry to injury changes an offense dramatically. For the Titans, they have had to adjust mightily. Luckily, they have kept rolling as a team. The defense has stepped up, and the offense has been productive enough to continue to win games consistently.
Regardless, it has been impressive what the players that replaced Henry have done since he was placed on Injured Reserve.
What the Titans have been able to do with the run game in the aggregate since Derrick Henry went down has been phenomenal.
Henry in 1st 8 games: 219 carries, 937 yds, 10 TDs.
Next 8 games w/out Henry:
Foreman/Hilliard/McNichols/Peterson combined for:
212 carries, 945 yds, 5 TDs
— Chris Harris (@ChrisHarrisWSMV) January 3, 2022
The Replacement RBs
D’onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard are the two at the forefront of this crew. They have provided a solid speed/strength punch to provide some sort of balance for the offense even without Derrick Henry. Both of them were players that other teams had left aside. It is one of the better storylines for the Titans as well as for the entire NFL.
Hilliard has only had one eye-popping statistical game, but his ability to be a change-of-pace has been important to the offense. He also averages three catches per game, so he has been a reliable target for Ryan Tannehill. The Wide Receiver room has been very banged up as well. Having a good option out of the backfield has been even more useful because of that.
.@Titans offensive front come off the ball like a fleet of fighter jets. Simplest run game in the #NFL ; but can you stop it. 200 yards with Foreman & Hilliard who fell out of the sky into Music City. The men up front…..infinite possibilities. #BaldysBreakdowns pic.twitter.com/PlRh2v3XND
— Brian Baldinger (@BaldyNFL) January 4, 2022
Their performances have been pretty consistent. There have even been times that Foreman has looked a bit like “The King” when he is bulldozing defenders. He is no Derrick Henry, but he undoubtedly has a physical running style. The combo of Foreman and Hilliard has made the concept of letting Henry recovery fully much easier. Tennessee has had no need to rush him back due to their success.
Run The Dang Ball @D33_foreman
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 2, 2022
The offensive line cannot be overlooked during this stint, too. They have stepped up even with some sporadic injuries along it. Taylor Lewan has played much more to his level, and Ben Jones has been one of the best run-blocking centers in the league.
National media has talked about the lack of Henry in the offense as well as his injury. Not many are giving enough attention to the replacements in the backfield.