Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is undeniably having a phenomenal year. In fact, he's on pace to break Eric Dickerson's long-standing record for rushing yards in a season.
With five games left on the schedule—against teams Johnson has the ability to run roughshod—the chances are better than average that he'll be crowned the new rushing king.
And he deserves it. With unmatched speed, he's as nimble as any running back the NFL has seen since Barry Sanders, reaching full speed before you can say "boo," and he's not bad between the tackles either.
However, he hasn't achieved these admittedly amazing results alone. He's been helped out big time this year.
And when I say big , I mean BIG.
The Titans' offensive line deserves a gargantuan amount of credit for Johnson's success (credit to fellow bleacher creature Andy Rarick, who as a Vikings fan was brave enough to acknowledge Johnson's superior season in another article.) While the downfield blocking from wide receivers Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, and Justin Gage (before he broke his back) has facilitated his record number of 50-plus yard touchdown runs this season, Johnson would have gone nowhere fast this year were it not for the unheralded efforts of the Titans' hogs.
Kevin Mawae, Michael Roos, Eugene Amano, Jake Scott, and David Stewart have given Johnson the room he needs to do his thing, meaning Johnson's been spared from big hits up the middle this season.
It's hard for a defensive counterpart to make a tackle when they're sitting on their duff watching Johnson fly by at warp speed—all in the while looking for some syrup to go with the pancake he just received.
And it hasn't just been up the middle where the big fellas have been helpful. Roos and Mawae, in particular, have been able to get to the edge on pull blocks, not giving defenders a chance to make a play.
Also, let's not forget Ahmad Hall. On the rare occasions when there has been someone in the Grand Canyon-sized holes opened by the offensive line, Hall has stepped in and made short work of linebackers or blitzing defensive backs to allow Johnson to turn on the afterburners and fly.
Football is, after all, a team game. No one man can take the field and expect to do anything without the help and support of his teammates, and Johnson's season has been indictive of that teamwork. Without the blocking provided by his teammates, he would be just another run-of-the-mill halfback with a lot of speed, but nowhere to run.
The Titans' offensive line—and Ahmad Hall—should have a pretty Merry Christmas this holiday season.
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