Titans' Victory Aside, Chris Johnson Stumbles in Pursuit of Record

Bryan HollisterAnalyst IDecember 14, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 13: Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans runs with the football against the St. Louis Rams at LP Field on December 13, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Rams 47-7 as Johnson scored three touchdowns. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

If only that 66-yard touchdown run had started with a hand-off instead of a pass, this article might not be needed.

As it is, though, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson is in a bit of a pickle; with three games remaining on the schedule, he is running out of time—and yardage—to break Eric Dickerson's 25-year-old single season rushing record.

Going into Sunday's contest against the Rams, Johnson needed to average 150 yards per game to overtake Dickerson. Although he racked up a franchise record eighth straight 100-yard rushing game in the Titans' victory, his 117 yards weren't quite enough to keep him on track.

With 1,626 yards for the year, he is behind the pace of 1,643 that Dickerson was on so many years ago. Johnson now needs nearly 160 yards per game to eclipse what many have held for years to be a nearly unbreakable record.

However, all is not bad news for Johnson. With his six yards per carry average, he is slightly ahead of Dickerson's 5.6 yards per carry during the record-setting year. As far as I can ascertain, he has already set an NFL record for the number of touchdown runs of 35 yards or more in a season, so even if he doesn't break the rushing record, he can take solace in that.

With Johnson's propensity to rip off a big run at a moments notice, though, Dickerson's record isn't safe yet. Just for the sake of argument, if Johnson's 66-yard reception for a touchdown had been a hand off, he would have ended the game with 183 yards on the ground, well more than what he needed to take the prize.

Had the above scenario taken place, then 137 yards per game is all he would need; considering the Titans' next three opponents, it would almost be a certainty.

Even so, all he needs is one big game to get back on track, and with Miami, San Diego, and Seattle still ahead on the Titans schedule, the chances are better than average that he will get it.

So to coaches Fisher and Dinger: keep giving him the ball, and give him a legitimate shot at this record. I know football is a team game, but he's earned this opportunity. He is a major reason you guys even have a shot at a playoff spot.

So get the rest of the team to keep blocking for him, and let the man have his due.