“He’s just a big guy. 240, 245, 250 [pounds]; honestly, he should be running harder at his weight and at his size. I don’t see no difficulty in tackling him,” he told the NFL Network. “He’s just easy to me up front because I don’t look at any running back like they can’t be tackled. He’s not one of the best guys at breaking tackles to me, honestly.”
Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) scrambles under pressure from Kansas City Chiefs defensive end Frank Clark (55) during the second half of an NFL divisional playoff football game, in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
Henry is listed at 6-foot-3, 247 pounds and runs furiously down the field. He won the 2019 rushing title with 1,540 yards and 16 touchdowns. So far in the playoffs, Henry has carried the ball 64 times and run for 377 yards and a touchdown. The Titans offense has relied on Henry to get into the end zone and has put the ball across the goal line thanks to Ryan Tannehill and his three touchdown passes.
Clark has been one of the better Chiefs defenders this season. He earned his first Pro Bowl selection, recording eight sacks, 37 combined tackles, one interception and three forced fumbles in 14 games.
Chiefs linebacker Anthony Hitchens tried to explain to reporters their plan to take out Henry.
“You’ve got to just take his legs out,” Hitchens said, according to AL.com. “We’ve talked all week: Kill the engine. Hit him in his thighs and his legs. Chop him down. When you tackle him high, he tends to carry you for about 5 more yards, so hit him low — and all legal within the game. But you’ve just got to hit him lower.”
Baltimore Ravens cornerback Marcus Peters (24) hits Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) during an NFL divisional playoff football game, Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Mathieu later said the Chiefs have to “finish the game strong.”
“If you watch a lot of Derrick Henry, he gets stronger as the game goes on. His first halves, they aren’t that great, but second-half football, he takes off,” he said. “So we got to be well-rested, hydrated in order to kind of finish the game, try to compete against him and slow him down when it matters the most in the fourth quarter — 4-minute drives, 6-minute drives, 7 minutes left. I remember last time we played them, it was 9 minutes on the clock, they were down by nine and they kept feeding him the ball, so you know that they believe in him.
“Even when they’re down, they’re still feeding him the ball, so it’s kind of like playing basketball and your coach tells you, ‘Keep shooting.’ And so you feel that confidence. You know that your team believes in you. I think that’s the kind of confidence they’re playing with. I think that’s what they’re looking forward to, and it’s been working well for them.”
The two teams play Sunday at 3:05 p.m. ET.