DeMarco Murray sat out for the majority of the preseason, and until recently has yet to look like his old self during games. Was it rust? Age? Hamstring issue dampening his burst? Whatever the issue, Derrick Henry’s dominate performance to close out the Jaguars last week had fans salivating and sure that it would be his time to shine and see what he could do.
But that’s not exactly what happened on Sunday.
DeMarco Murray carried the ball 14 times for 115 yards and a TD.
Derrick Henry carried the ball 13 times for 54 yards.
If you absolutely MUST play the “but take the long run away” game. Then Murray would be 13 carries for 40 yards and Henry would be 12 carries 29 yards if you also take away his long run of 25. Either way they split the carries.
Personally I believe Mularkey wanted to rest Murray as much as possible and planned on letting Henry do the bulk of the wearing down dirty work in the first half. I also believe this plan was delayed after Henry was limping significantly after his first carry (actually a reception) during the opening drive. He came off the field and didn’t look right for awhile.
Henry didn’t come on the field again until 4 series later. Once on the field he actually carried the ball 4 out of 7 plays but unfortunately for a total of -6 yards. The drive petered out after a holding penalty and the Titans settled for a field goal. At this point Murray was given a few more opportunities and was able to find some holes for minimum but at least positive yardage.
Overall, it looks like Mularkey did a good job with two backs that weren’t fully healthy. The team ended up with 35 rushes for 195 yards against an incredibly stout defense so it’s hard to complain one way or the other about who’s getting what carries. I’m sure each back will have their day at different times and what it really boils down to is that the Titans are lucky to have both of them.