Stopping D-Train: Chiefs' D faces tough challenge in Titans RB Derrick Henry

Posted at 6:30 AM, Jan 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-19 23:30:01-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — D-Train.

No. 22.

The back.

The NFL’s leading rusher.

He’s Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans and he goes by a lot of names, but he’s the top priority Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs' defense at Arrowhead in the AFC Championship Game.

“Somebody is going to have to stop him and somebody is going to have to make a tackle on him if we want to get to Miami,” Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu said.

The Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots also wanted to get to Miami, which is the site of Super Bowl LIV, but neither team quite perfected that tackling part as Henry torched them for 195 yards and 182 yards, respectively.

“I think I get into a rhythm the more carries I get,” Henry said.

Apparently, that can be true for a game and for this season.

Henry is the first player in NFL history to rush for more than 180 yards in three straight games, and it happens to be the previous three games.

Road wins at Houston to clinch a postseason berth and roads wins at New England and Baltimore in the playoffs.

“You've just got to take his legs out," Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens said. "We’ve talked all week about taking out the engine. We need to just chop him down. When you tackle him high, he tends to carry you for five more yards. Hit him low.”

Of course, with Henry checking in at 6 feet 3 inches and 247 pounds, that is easier said than done.

That last time the Chiefs got a crack at Henry, Kansas City's defense did not pass that test. He rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-32 comeback win Nov. 10 in Nashville.

“It was a great game, a great battle,” Henry said of the first game. “They’re a great team, have great players. It came down to the wire.”

That first game not only gave the Titans momentum in the back half of the season, but it was also a turning point for the Chiefs defense.

Kansas City also hasn't lost in seven games since that stunner.

This second meeting has a little more on the line: Miami.