Nothing Gets The Blood Going Like a Huge Stiff Arm.
Last night, in a game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans, running back Derrick Henry made NFL history with a 99-yard rushing touchdown, joining Tony Dorsett as the only two players in NFL history to ever accomplish that feat. Henry’s run showcased his speed, size, and most importantly, strength, as he stiff-armed a few Jaguar defenders on his way to the end zone. If you haven’t seen the run, check it out below.
Pretty impressive, right? Since society never takes a moment to appreciate greatness and always looks for comparisons (guilty), fans are now comparing Henry’s run to another famous rushing touchdown from Marshawn Lynch, which is known as the “Beast Quake.”
Here’s the question: Who had the more impressive run, Henry or Lynch?
Let’s break it down!
Derrick Henry vs. Marshawn Lynch
*Note: Each category has a points scale from 1-5. Highest combined total after 4 categories wins.*
Degree of Difficulty (Before The Run)
To set the scene, Henry’s run started at the 1-yard line in a one-possession game in the 2nd quarter against a Jaguars defense that was ranked in the top 10 in multiple defensive categories. Lynch’s run occurred on the 33-yard line in a one-possession game in the 4th quarter of a playoff game. There is no doubt that Lynch’s run was a bigger pressure moment because of the nature of the playing in the playoffs. However, if we’re looking at the runs for where they are on the field without taking into account the time and score, Henry’s play gets the edge over Lynch.
Henry – 4.9
Lynch – 4.3
Degree of Difficulty (During The Run)
The hole was clogged up when Henry first touched the ball, but the former Heisman trophy winner was patient. Once a block developed, Henry powered through the trenches and gained some breathing room in the open field. Then, Henry annihilated A.J. Bouye with a stiff arm that sent the Jags defender to the ground. After a burst of speed, Henry then stiff-armed Leon Jacobs to the ground before a cutback, another tackle break via stiff arm, and a final sprint before reaching the end zone. All in all, Henry had 81 yards after contact on the play.
On Lynch’s run, the question is not if he broke a tackle. The question is: How many tackles did Lynch end up breaking? On the Beastquake, Marshawn Lynch broke 9 (!) tackles. NINE. When Lynch started his run, he was met head-on at the line. Lynch broke the two tackles, gained some speed, broke a billion (not quite, but close to it) more tackles, and then somehow, Lynch gained more speed. How?
Lynch followed that up with a lethal stiff arm, two more broken tackles, and a dive into the end zone. Henry used three stiff arms to break a few tackles. Lynch seemingly broke a tackle from every member of the defense. Lynch has the edge here.
Henry – 4.5
Lynch – 4.9
Better Stiff Arm(s)
This category comes down to personal preference.
Two might be better than one in most cases, but I’m calling this a tie.
Henry – 4.8
Lynch – 4.8
If we’re breaking down the runs without any context, both are very impressive. However, and this is not Henry’s fault, you have to take into account, “The Moment.” Henry’s run was amazing and will be a well-remembered highlight for years to come, but it came during the second quarter of a Thursday Night Football matchup in Week 14. On the other hand, Lynch’s run came in the fourth quarter of a one-possession game against the Saints in the Wildcard Round of the NFL playoffs. The Saints were heavily favored in the game as 10 point favorites while the Seahawks made the playoffs with a record below .500. If Lynch doesn’t break this run or at least get a first down, the Saints would have called timeout. They stop the Seahawks on third down, force a punt, and then Drew Brees gets a chance to take the Saints down the field for the win. I understand that I’m using “what ifs,” but that has to be taken into account. Lynch put the team on his back during the biggest spot of the game.
Henry – 4.2
Lynch – 5.0
Henry – 18.4 / 20
Lynch – 19.0 / 20
Lynch’s run was more impressive, but that does not take away from Henry’s jaw-dropping touchdown. I hope both highlights are shown back-to-back when describing the greatest runs in NFL history.