The Tennessee Titans are 39-17 when Derrick Henry averages more than 3.7 yards per carry in a game and 13-15 when he's held under that number.
It's an even more stark difference when Henry goes over 100 rushing yards: The Titans are 22-3 when Henry rushes for 100+ yards and 30-30 when he's held to double digits.
The Colts already go into every week looking to hold their opponent to fewer than 3.7 yards per carry and under 100 rushing yards. But those numbers take on an added significance against a Titans team with such a strong correlation between Henry's efficiency and winning.
"That's a big task for anybody to tackle Henry," defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus said. "It's a team effort. It's a team effort. It's everybody on the defense. There's no house guests. Everybody's got to tackle."
The Colts' defense did a good job tackling Henry in Week 3 thanks to an emphasis on going low on the 6-foot-3, 247 pound freight train of a running back. Cornerback Kenny Moore II in particular had a strong game, with four run stops and no missed tackles against Henry. Moore's average depth of tackle on Henry was 1.2 yards beyond the line of scrimmage, per PFF – meaning most of his tackles came before Henry could break into the second level, where he's able to use his speed and power to rip off explosive runs.
"(Moore's) got a heart of a damn lion out there and he's going to do what he has to do to get you down," linebacker Darius Leonard said. "I don't think that we have any issues in the back end when it comes to tackling anybody. I believe in them and everybody in this organization believes in them. So there is no fear, there's no quit and we're going to make sure we get him down."
Henry's numbers entering Week 8 are outlandish – he leads the NFL in rushing attempts (191), rushing yards (869), rushing touchdowns (10), explosive runs (22) and yards after contact (699). The next highest totals in each of those categories:
- Rushing attempts: 123 (Joe Mixon)
- Rushing yards: 579 (Jonathan Taylor)
- Rushing touchdowns: 6 (James Conner)
- Explosive runs: 16 (Jonathan Taylor)
- Yards after contact: 441 (Jonathan Taylor)
"He's just built for it," Taylor said.
Henry rushed for 113 yards on 28 carries in Week 3 against the Colts. This is a defense that wasn't satisfied with that game – a 25-16 loss – and knows it has to take the energy and discipline it had in Nashville and improve on it in Indianapolis on Sunday.
"Just seven-plus to the ball, hamstring tackle, squeeze, wrap, roll," Leonard said.
Thursday's practice report
The Colts' Thursday practice report offered some encouraging updates ahead of Sunday's game at Lucas Oil Stadium, starting with right tackle Braden Smith practicing in full for the first time since Week 1. Cornerback Rock Ya-Sin, who missed games in Weeks 4, 5 and 7 with ankle injuries and defensive end Kemoko Turay, who missed the Colts' Week 6 and 7 games with a groin injury, both practiced in full.
And wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (quad) was a limited participant, too, as the Ghost eyes a return from a one-week absence on Halloween.
"I feel good. I've got some more things to do," Hilton said before Thursday's practice. "I'll go out and test it out today. So, we'll see."