The Tennessee Titans have ridden running back Derrick Henry far past where anyone thought their ceiling could be. No team’s been as reliant on their ground game, and for good reason. Henry has put together a run for the ages, with 1,273 rushing yards between Week 10 and the Divisional Round of the postseason (a Week 11 bye and Week 16 injury kept his games played in line with everyone else in the wake of his deep playoff run):
So as you can see, despite not having some sort of glaring games played advantage, no one was even in the same solar system as Henry, with only Joe Mixon, Lamar Jackson, Nick Chubb, and Aaron Jones having rushed for even half as many yards as Henry in this time.
In fact, throughout the annals of NFL history, it appears the only time anyone’s ever rushed for more yards in any eight-game stretch was when Adrian Peterson topped 1,300 yards on the ground across the final eight regular season games of his MVP season in 2012.
And yet! For their final regular season game and into the postseason, the Titans made the decision to carry eight wide receivers on their 53-man roster. Eight! There’s a real chance that’s only the 2nd time (the 2016 Broncos carried eight for this game and this game only) anyone’s ever done so for any period of time, let alone about a month.
Now granted, there are factors outside stylistic identity that could play into the presence of one or more of ‘em on the roster, such as special teams prowess, etc. But that’s the case for all teams. And you’ll still just about never see any organization go so heavy at the position, even a pass-happy squad that airs it out 50 times a game.
It’s simply ironic as hell that the team with such a ground-and-pound-based attack, the team with a back flourishing at a near-unprecedented rate, the team that played its first two playoff games with just 2.09 WRs on the field per play ... is also the (2nd-ever?) team allocating over 15 percent of its active roster to wideouts.