The Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills played out an absolute thriller in primetime in front of a boisterous Nashville crowd on Monday night. The Titans escaped with a 34-31 victory due in part to a last-second goal-line stand on 4th-and-inches. The heavyweight bout featured seven lead changes, which tied an all-time Monday Night Football record.
The Bills entered the contest with the second-best run defense in the NFL, allowing opponents to rush for just 78.4 yards per game. It was the ultimate "something has to give matchup" with back-to-back rushing title winner Derrick Henry on the other side. Henry won the battle by largely disregarding the Bills’ run defense as a rather ordinary unit by rushing for 143 yards and three touchdowns on just 20 attempts. Henry was electric on Monday night and continues to make his case to capture this year's Most Valuable Player award.
Henry, the 2020 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, has been downright dominant and even better than he was a year ago. He's totaled an astounding 783 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns through just six contests. While the longevity of his heavy workload has been questioned in recent weeks, Henry has shown no signs of slowing down despite carrying the ball a hefty 27 times per game. The MVP prize will almost certainly be awarded to this year's best signal-caller, as is the case on an annual basis, but Henry is the only non-QB that stands a sliver of a chance to wrangle the honor away from a quarterback.
The former Alabama standout is now on pace to finish the campaign with 2,218 yards and 27 rushing touchdowns. While those numbers may feel lofty, Henry is all but certain to secure his third straight rushing title, while becoming the first running back in history to rush for 2,000 or more yards twice, in back-to-back seasons no less. Beyond those achievements, which feel like shoo-ins, we’d be hesitant to put a cap on what else he can accomplish.
To really put the type of campaign he's currently experiencing into perspective, Henry has now equaled two all-time greats, Eric Dickerson and Jim Brown, as the only three running backs in NFL history to rush for 750 yards and 10 touchdowns in the first six games of an NFL season. The MVP award quite literally stands for "Most Valuable Player," and there's no denying Henry is one of the most valuable players to his team across the entire league. The 4-2 Titans trail the Baltimore Ravens by one game for the conference lead.
The Titans had the appearance of a legitimate contender in the AFC on Monday night when they defeated the Bills despite dealing with a variety of back-breaking injuries throughout the course of the game. Their personal MVP candidate will largely be responsible for their success down the stretch. The rest of the league should take notice when it comes time to vote on this year's Most Valuable Player honor.