Chris Johnson: Sunday's Performance a Sign of Things to Come

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIOctober 1, 2012

Chris Johnson had 144 rushing yards Sunday.
Chris Johnson had 144 rushing yards Sunday.Bob Levey/Getty Images

Chris Johnson's 141-yard rushing performance on Sunday is a sign of things to come for the Tennessee Titans.

Although Johnson didn't reach the end zone, the Titans showed confidence in him in the loss against the Houston Texans.

Titans fans, and most fantasy owners, have been a bit frustrated with Johnson over the early part of the season. Prior to Sunday's game, he had 45 yards on the ground for the season.

Johnson expressed his own frustrations on Sept. 21, according to's Paul Kuharsky.

I wouldn't sit here and say I'm to blame. I wouldn't think so, but I'm not the guy to sit here and be the guy that points fingers and things like that. It's just a situation where I'm going to be only as good as my line's going to be. So we've got to work together and get better together.

According to The Tennessean's Jim Wyatt, Johnson did change his tune Sunday, crediting his offensive line for creating holes for him.

I feel like my offensive line went out there and did a great job from the first snap. Just getting up on guys, pushing those guys back, recreating the line of scrimmage and just giving me somewhere to run. Like I’ve been saying all year, I’m going to be as good as my offensive line.

The biggest difference in Johnson's workload was the fact that starting quarterback Jake Locker went out with injury.

The Titans ran the ball on four of the seven offensive plays that Locker was healthy. However, as the previous three weeks had shown, Locker was going to get a lot of chances to throw the ball.

In Week 1 (vs. New England Patriots), Locker passed 32 times, while Johnson got 11 carries. In Week 2 (at San Diego Chargers), Locker had 30 passes compared to Johnson's eight rushes. In Week 3 (vs. Detroit Lions), Locker had 42 pass attempts, while Johnson had 14 rushing attempts.

With Matt Hasselbeck in the game, the Titans stuck more with Johnson and saw success. Now, if only Hasselbeck wouldn't have thrown those two interceptions.

Johnson should see more carries as the season progresses. He has to see more carries if the Titans are to have success.

In four games last year where Johnson had 100 or more rushing yards, the Titans were 4-0. In 2010, the Titans were 5-3 when he rushed for more than 100 yards.

The stats are there. When Johnson gets his carries, he's going to rush for a lot of yards. And when he rushes for a lot of yards, the Titans tend to win more than lose.

While some will point to their loss on Sunday, remember the Titans played the Houston Texans. The Texans are 4-0 this year, with their only close game coming in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos (31-26).

Johnson is the star of the team and the Titans need to utilize him like he's the star of the team. The Texans use Arian Foster like he's the star of the team, just like the Kansas City Chiefs use Jamaal Charles.

The Titans don't have great wide receivers and have to lean more on Johnson. The Texans and Chiefs have decent receiving corps, but they still lean heavily on their star running back.

While the Titans still have other issues that need to be corrected, the one thing they can count on is Johnson (as long as his offensive line blocks). By trusting Johnson, the Titans will see wins start to accumulate.