NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE – Under center at the 1-yard line, Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota checked out of a quarterback sneak, and Derrick Henry did the rest — as much with his arms as his legs.
Henry sped and stiff-armed his way to a record-tying 99-yard touchdown run, and Tennessee routed the Jacksonville Jaguars 30-9 on Thursday night to stay in the playoff chase.
Henry matched Tony Dorsett’s 99-yarder on Jan. 3, 1983, for Dallas against Minnesota for the longest TD run in NFL history. Henry ran to his left and went up the sideline, stiff-arming cornerback A.J. Bouye, then rookie linebacker Leon Jacobs twice and finally shoving linebacker Myles Jack to finish off the second of his four TDs.
“Once I got in the open field on that 99-yard run, it was going to take all of them,” Henry said. “I definitely wasn’t going to go down easy, so I definitely wanted to use my stiff-arm to my advantage, and it worked.”
The Titans talked before the possession about going 99 yards, so left tackle Taylor Lewan was a bit surprised to hear the call for a quarterback sneak.
“I was like, ‘That ain’t going to get us 99 yards, boys,’ ” Lewan said. “But it was checked, so it was cool.”
The 2015 Heisman Trophy winner celebrated by striking the Heisman pose not once, but twice. Dorsett didn’t keep the ball from his run, but Henry said he’d definitely keep his.
“He’s a legend,” Henry said of his fellow Heisman winner. “It’s cool to be in that company with Tony Dorsett.”
Henry set a franchise record with 238 yards on 16 carries, topping the previous mark of 228 yards set by Chris Johnson in 2009 against, yes, the Jaguars.
Johnson called Henry’s 99-yarder “amazing” and congratulated Henry on the team record.
Henry tied Lorenzo White and Hall of Fame running back Earl Campbell for most rushing TDs in a single game in franchise history. Henry also became the first player in the NFL with four rushing TDs in a game since Jonas Gray of the Patriots in Week 11 in 2014.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel called Henry’s night “very impressive.”
“He just ran out of guys to stiff-arm,” Vrabel said.
With the rout and second win in a row, the Titans (7-6) stayed in AFC playoff contention with their fourth straight victory over their oldest division rival. They’ve won six of their last seven against Jacksonville.
The Jaguars (4-9) have lost eight of their last nine, and coach Doug Marrone said he was “heavily disappointed.”
“Obviously, we had a difficult time on first, second and third (downs), and sometimes in the fourth tackling (Henry),” Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said. “He had, obviously, a career night.”
Mariota, wearing black tape on the back of his right hand, threw for 162 yards. The Titans outgained the Jaguars 426-255, and they also had four sacks.
Jacksonville came in with the league’s fifth-best scoring defense after shutting out Andrew Luck for the first time in the NFL. But Jacksonville has been susceptible against the run, ranked 16th by giving up 108.4 yards. Henry nearly matched that on his record-tying run.
“For the rest of his life, I’ll be on his highlights,” Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said about Henry.