As Lamar Jackson marched the Baltimore Ravens to a playoff victory, Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans struggled to build off an impressive regular season.
After a historic year, the 26-year-old was held to just 40 yards in his team’s postseason loss on Sunday. The Ravens defense stacked the box against Henry throughout the game, holding him to a meek 2.2 yards per carry. The Titans as a team scored just 13 points as Jackson ran Baltimore to a seven-point victory.
Sunday clearly represented a departure from Henry’s incredible 2020. The Titans running back became just the eighth player to rush for 2,000 yards in a single season this year and added 17 touchdowns on the ground. Tennessee’s offense centered on Henry throughout 2020, as he also opened up the possibility for a dynamic play-action passing game.
Coming into the playoff match-up, the Ravens clearly focused on a gameplan for Henry. After the Ravens pulled out the win, veteran defensive end Derek Wolfe revealed that the Baltimore defense entered Sunday’s game with a goal for containing the star running back. The 30-year-old said that the unit hoped to hold Henry under 90 yards per The Athletic’s Jeff Zrebiec.
Wink Martindale’s group met their goal with ease and were rewarded with a victory.
Derek Wolfe said the goal was to hold Derrick Henry to under 90 yards. Ravens held him to 40.
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiec) January 10, 2021
Baltimore entered the game with a top-10 rush defense in the NFL. However, no one anticipated for them to slow Henry as much as they did on Sunday.
The performance only further solidified Martindale as one of the league’s best defensive coordinators. The third-year Ravens assistant quickly garnered himself some head coaching attention with his performance in Baltimore this season.
But for now, Martindale’s focus will stay with the Ravens. Whether Baltimore heads to Kansas City or Buffalo next weekend, the team’s defense will need to step up once again.
The Ravens will spend the rest of Sunday waiting for the rest of the AFC playoff picture to take shape. If the Steelers take care of business against the Browns, then Baltimore will take on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. If the Browns can pull off the upset, the Ravens will travel to Buffalo to play the Bills.