How Derrick Henry gashed Giants for another big day

The Giants knew exactly what was coming and they couldn’t stop it.

That, above anything else in Sunday’s moribund 17-0 home loss to the Titans was the most damning element to the defeat. There are few things in sports more insulting than knowing exactly what an opponent is going to do against you and you allowing it to happen.

Titans running back Derrick Henry was coming off of last week’s 238-yard rushing performance with four touchdowns against the Jaguars. It was cold and rainy at MetLife Stadium. And the Titans are always a run-first offense that tries not to depend on quarterback Marcus Mariota’s arm to win.

So the Giants’ defense knew it was going to get a heavy dose of Henry, the Titans 6-foot-3, 247-pounder, and yet they still allowed him to gash them for 170 rushing yards and both Tennessee touchdowns on 33 carries.

“You’ve just got to tackle him,’’ Giants safety Michael Thomas said. “He’s showing it week after week, so obviously he’s a good running back. He’s a big guy, but it takes all 11 [of us] to stop the run. With a guy like him, you need multiple guys at the point of attack. You’ve got to gang tackle him. But you don’t go up high. We said it all week: ‘Wrap up low.’ ’’

Was this a case of the Giants not wrapping Henry up low enough?

“You could say that,’’ Thomas said. “I mean, he rushed for 170 yards. I guess you can say that.’’

Several of the Giants defenders praised Henry’s unique skills.

“He’s definitely more agile than most people give him credit and he’s faster than most people realize … until they get into the game with him,’’ Thomas said.
“He has tremendous balance for being his size; that’s something that I don’t think guys give him enough credit for,’’ linebacker B.J. Goodson said. “But you just have to get him down. You’ve got to get him down.’’

Linebacker Lorenzo Carter said, “You can see it on film that he runs through a lot of arm tackles. We just didn’t tackle well.’’

Defensive lineman Josh Mauro said, “He’s one of those guys that once he gets going and can get into some open space he’s a lot faster than people think. He’s hard to take down, especially for guys in the secondary because he’s so long and can stiff-arm. If you attack him early and can get him in the backfield before he gets momentum, that’s what teams have done [to stop him].’’

The strange thing about Henry is that before the last two games, in which he’s produced 408 rushing yards and six touchdowns, he had a total of 311 rushing yards and three touchdowns in the first 12 games of the season.

“When I got done with pregame I knew it was going to be a long game,’’ Henry said. “The rain was coming down [and] it was windy. We were going to run it and I had to go out there and make something happen.’’

So he did.

He was the difference in the game. He had more carries (33) than Giants star running back Saquon Barkley had rushing yards (31). Most importantly, he scored 14 points to the Giants’ zero.

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