Titans RB Derrick Henry named NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year

Derrick Henry has to be observed to be fully appreciated. Stats cannot encapsulate his combination of size, speed and power. It's not hyperbole to say he's one of a kind.

And yet in 2020, his numbers were, too.

No player in NFL history has rushed for as many yards (2,027) and touchdowns (17) in the same season. The Tennessee Titans running back produced the eighth-ever 2,000-yard campaign, and the fifth-highest total.

It all added up to Henry being voted 2020 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year, as announced during Saturday's NFL Honors ceremony.

Henry tallied 32 votes en route to winning the award, with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes notching five votes each.

The 6-foot-3, 247-pound bruiser dominated from start to finish, rushing for 116 yards in Week 1 and 250 in Week 17 to break the 2K barrier. He had eight more 100-yard performances in between, all while averaging just over a touchdown per game. His final tally made him just the fourth RB to rush for 1,500 yards and 15 touchdowns in consecutive seasons.

Such production wasn't new for Henry before he entered the league in 2016. After all, the Heisman winner had topped 2,000 yards in college and high school. But his ascension to the best running back in football was unforeseeable. He gained just 1,234 yards over his first two seasons as he split time with DeMarco Murray. Henry's breakout could be traced back to an unforgettable 99-yard rumble against the Jaguars late in his third year. He's been a workhorse ever since and breaking the law of diminishing returns in the process.

His fifth NFL season was an ode to football yesteryear. Henry's 378 attempts were the highest figure in six seasons. But his volume was not in vain. He averaged a career-high 5.4 yards per carry while becoming only the third back in the past decade to accumulate 1,650 rushing yards. He also tied, broke and reset the all-time record for 200-yard, two-TD games. The previous mark was three. Henry did it three times in 12 weeks.

Tennessee rode that train to its best record (11-5) and first AFC South title in 12 years.

In an era when a running back's value has been reduced by increasingly efficient passing-based offenses, few players at any position contribute more than Henry. The Titan's latest offering was one to remember.

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