It was the season opener, the first game after Patrick Mahomes started at quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Deshaun Watson. For rookie running back Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans, this was an early opportunity to show what he could do in the NFL, and he did, rushing for 123 yards and two touchdowns. But Henry fumbled in the second quarter, and the Titans had to go into field goal range. In a ragged performance overall, they got no points from that play.
But the more Henry fumbled, the more the pressure mounted on him. Before long, his fumbles were leading to TD passes for opposing defensive backs, and Henry found himself a casualty of an NFL star, who knew that a mobile back was an offensive threat. That is exactly what Drew Brees did to Henry. Henry found himself facing the New Orleans Saints quarterback, and he dared him to challenge him. Brees brought his hands forward, stiff-armed his way around the back of Henry’s knees, and released a pass that Taylor Gabriel haphazardly let bounce in front of him. The Atlanta Falcons wide receiver immediately dived for the loose ball and scored. Brees placed the ball so low that the officials couldn’t find it.
Henry, meanwhile, was caught on camera spending the end of the game stiff-arming linebacker Pernell McPhee. Was it typical rookie behavior? We’ll find out soon enough. But it was yet another bizarre moment in a peculiar rookie season.