Derrick Henry Is a Freight Train and the Titans Keep on Rolling

Derrick Henry, doing it all.
Derrick Henry, doing it all. / Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

Heat radiating from the Lamar Jackson takes will melt snow across the frozen Midwest over the next few days. There's no escaping that reality. The sports-shouting industrial complex runs on that fuel. And Jackson was shaky enough for the Ravens to fumble the silver platter they'd earned away.

But Jackson wasn't the biggest factor in the surprising upset Saturday night in Baltimore. That honor belongs to the Tennessee Titans, a damn good football team playing tremendous football for longer than people have noticed.

Mike Vrabel's intense leadership has guided them to the AFC Championship Game. It was a wild, meandering path. It's taken them from a listless 2-4, through a bold quarterback change that swapped Ryan Tannehill in for Marcus Mariota, and to the final playoff spot available.

They are giant slayers -- dispatching New England and Baltimore on consecutive Sundays, yet the man most responsible for that is a giant of their own.

Derrick Henry ran through, over, and around the Ravens defense for 195 yards. It's his third straight 180-yard-plus contest. No one had done that before. This stretch has seen a rushing title and two playoff wins. He even added a Tim Tebow-like jump pass touchdown this time for good measure.

He is a freight train built for the big-boy football required. He is imposing and unforgiving, breaking the will of defenders gradually through violent attrition. Sometimes not so gradually.

Is there any stopping him? Time will tell. But if he continues this record-setting streak, Tennessee can emerge as Super Bowl champions. Hell, Henry has facilitated the elimination of Tom Brady and Jackson while Tannehill has thrown for less than 100 yards in each game.

During the game, Ian Eagle mentioned that the Titans have taken on the identity of their coach. It's trite and also true. They are rugged and tough. Look no further than the two stops on 4th and 1. Look no further than a similar stand last week at Foxborough.

Up next is a trip to either Kansas City or Houston. If it's the former, Tennessee will have a chance to slay another giant. And then perhaps a fourth down in Miami.

It's been unexpected. It's also been impressive as hell.

The train keeps on chugging along.