Under 12 points in the middle of the third quarter, many NFL teams would go one-dimensional in attack, switching to their passing game to try to catch up.
Not the Tennessee Titans.
After Minnesota rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson took a 71-yard touchdown pass to give the Vikings a 12-point lead with 8:04 left in the third quarter, Tennessee running back Derrick Henry ran for 67 yards and two. touchdown on 13 leads as the Titans rallied for a 31-30 win to go 3-0 this season.
“We just have to answer,” Henry said. “Come out and answer and give us a chance. We are proud to win the fourth quarter and we just wanted to give ourselves a chance. …
“I’m happy to be 3-0 and we need to keep up the momentum.”
Henry scored 119 yards out of 26 carries in the game, giving Tennessee a 15-0 record as the former Alabama All-American rushed for 100 yards. Henry also took two passes for 11 yards.
In eight plays, Tennessee’s 75-yard drive that started the comeback, Henry ran six times for 31 yards, including a 1-yard touchdown dive with 3:53 left in the third quarter.
Henry landed another 1-yard touchdown run 2:31 clock time later after quarterback Ryan Tannehill began the Titans’ next possession with a 61-yard completion at the Minnesota 4-yard line. Henry covered the distance to the end zone in two broadcasts while Tennessee took a 25-24 lead with 1:22 remaining in the third quarter.
Minnesota took a 30-25 lead with 10:17 left in the game.
Stephen Gostkowski scored field goals of 54 and 55 yards to cover the Titans’ next two possessions and provide the one-point margin for victory.
Henry had three carries for 22 yards and a 6-yard catch on the first field goal drive and two carries for 10 yards on the second.
Henry became the fifth player in NFL history to log at least 25 running attempts in each of his team’s first three games in a season, joining OJ Simpson of the Buffalo Bills in 1975, Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys in 1994, Edgerrin James of Indianapolis Colts in 2002 and Arian Foster of the Houston Texans in 2012.
“We have faith in (the offensive coordinator of the Titans) Arthur (Smith),” Henry said, “and we have to go out there and carry out what is called.”
Henry was among 42 former Alabama players who took the field on the third Sunday of the 101st season of the NFL.
Two other former Alabama players were at the Titans-Vikings game:
Rashaan Evans (Auburn High) began as an internal linebacker for the Titans. Evans made seven tackles and recovered a fumble. Evans returned the 25-yard free kick at the Minnesota 20-yard line to set a field goal in the first quarter.
Vikings tight end Irv Smith Jr. played but did not register any stats.
In other Sunday matches:
Chicago Bears 30, Atlanta Falcons 26
James Carpenter departed to the left guard for the Falcons.
• Eddie Jackson started safety for the Bears. Jackson led Chicago with seven tackles.
Julio Jones (Foley), Falcons wide catcher, has been designated as inactive for match day. Jones did not train during the week due to a hamstring injury.
· Calvin Ridley started off wide receiver for the Falcons. Ridley took five passes for 110 yards and made a 7-yard run. Ridley’s receptions included a 63 yard. Having had two 100-yard reception games in his first two NFL seasons, Ridley had at least 109 yards in each of three Atlanta games in 2020. Ridley became the seventh player in NFL history with at least 109 yards in each of the his teams first three games in a season, a list that includes teammate Julio Jones, who accomplished the feat in 2015. Also on the list are Bob Boyd of the Los Angeles Rams in 1954, Harold Jackson of the Philadelphia Eagles in 1972 , Jerry of the San Francisco 49ers Rice in 1989, Jimmy Smith of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 1999 and JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018.
Buffalo Bills 35, Los Angeles Rams 32
Levi Wallace started as a right cornerback for the Bills. Wallace made nine tackles and intercepted a pass. In last week’s 31-28 win over the Miami Dolphins, Wallace set a career record with 10 tackles. Wallace’s third interception in the NFL came in the fourth game of the second quarter and gave Buffalo possession on his 34-yard line. Bills’ offense went on a 66-yard drive to take a 14-0 lead after the takeaway.
Bills running back TJ Yeldon (Daphne) ran 18 yards on three goals in his first action of the 2020 season. Yeldon had been an inactive game day for the first two races in Buffalo.
Cleveland Browns 34, Washington Football Team 20
Jonathan Allen started as a defensive tackle for Washington. Allen made nine tackles as team leaders and recorded his first full layoff of the 2020 season.
Washington defensive end Ryan Anderson (Daphne) made three defensive tackles and one in special teams.
Landon Collins started with strong confidence for Washington. Collins made four tackles.
Shaun Dion Hamilton (Carver-Montgomery) started as an outside linebacker for Washington. Hamilton made three defensive tackles and one in special teams.
· Browns safety Ronnie Harrison has tackled.
· Daron Payne (Shades Valley) started as a defensive tackle for Washington. Payne had five tackles, including one behind the scrimmage line.
· Cam Sims with Wide Receiver Washington played but did not record any stats.
· Jedrick Wills started as a left offensive tackle for the Browns.
Browns linebacker Mack Wilson (Carver-Montgomery) made his 2020 debut after missing his first two games due to a knee injury sustained during training camp. Wilson did not record any statistics.
New England Patriots 36, Las Vegas Raiders 20
Josh Jacobs started running back for the Raiders. Jacobs ran for 71 yards on 16 carries and took three passes for 12 yards although he missed two practice days during the week and was listed as questionable to play on injury report due to a hip problem.
Patriot outside linebacker Anfernee Jennings (Dadeville) has been designated inactive for match day.
Raiders wide catcher Henry Ruggs III (Lee-Montgomery) has been designated inactive for match day. A knee injury set the rookie aside.
San Francisco 49ers 36, New York Giants 9
· Dalvin Tomlinson started in nose tackle for the Giants. Tomlinson had five tackles, including two behind the scrimmage line, and recorded two quarterback hits.
Cincinnati Bengals 23, Philadelphia Eagles 23 (OT)
· Bengals cornerback Tony Brown played but did not record any statistics.
· Jonah Williams started as a left offensive tackle for the Bengals.
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts recorded his first NFL stats in his second game. Lining up with the quarterback for the first time in his pro career, Hurts ran 8 yards for a first down on Philadelphia’s first possession of the second half. Hurts’ second chance didn’t go as well. He fumbled but recovered the stock for a 3-yard loss.
Pittsburgh Steelers 28, Houston Texans 21
· Texas quarterback AJ McCarron (St. Paul’s Episcopal) did not play.
· Steelers’ defensive end Isaiah Buggs played but didn’t register any stats.
· Minkah Fitzpatrick started free security for the Steelers. Fitzpatrick made five tackles.
Steelers center JC Hassenauer played but did not record any statistics.
Indianapolis Colts 36, New York Jets 7
Ryan Kelly started at the center for the Colts.
Quinnen Williams (Wenonah) started as a defensive tackle for the Jets. Williams made three tackles.
Carolina Panthers 21, Los Angeles Chargers 16
Long magazine snapper Cole Mazza managed snaps with three stakes, one field goal and one extra point.
The nose tackle of Damion Square magazines played but did not register any stats.
Detroit Lions 26, Arizona Cardinals 23
· Cardinals running back Kenyan Drake ran 73 yards on 18 carries and took a 6-yard pass.
Lions defensive lineman Da’Shawn performed three tackles.
· Dre Kirkpatrick (Gadsden City) started as a cornerback for the Cardinals. Kirkpatrick made six tackles.
Lions linebacker Reggie Ragland (Bob Jones) made two tackles.
· Security of Cardinals Deionte Thompson made three disputes.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28, Denver Broncos 10
OJ Howard (Autauga Academy) started poised for the Buccaneers. Howard took three passes for 49 yards, including a 33 yard.
Kareem Jackson started with strong confidence for the Broncos. Jackson made six tackles.
· Jerry Jeudy started as a wide catcher for Broncos. Jeudy took five passes for 55 yards.
Seattle Seahawks 38, Dallas Cowboys 31
Amari Cooper started off with the wide receiver for the Cowboys. Cooper took nine passes for 86 yards.
Trevon Diggs started as a cornerback for the Cowboys. Diggs led the Cowboys with nine tackles. He also interrupted a pass and forced a fumble. The fumble resulted in a touchback when he knocked the ball away from Seattle wide receiver DK Metcalf with 1 yard of finishing a 63-yard touchdown play.
WATCH TREVON DIGGS TRANSFORM A TOUCHDOWN INTO A TAKEAWAY
Jarran Reed started as a defensive tackle for the Seahawks. Reed made two tackles, including a strip-sack. In the first play of the second half, Reed tripped Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott, and Seattle finished with the kick at the Cowboys’ 5-yard line. Two shots later, the Seahawks had a touchdown and a 30-15 lead.
Cowboys cornerback Saivion Smith made his NFL debut in the game. Smith did not record any statistics.
Green Bay Packers 37, New Orleans Saints 30
Packers punter JK Scott had a punt for 38 yards.
Week 3 of the NFL season kicked off Thursday night with the Miami Dolphins’ 31-13 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
SEE WHAT THE ROBINSON CAM IS OBTAINED THURSDAY NIGHT EXPULSION
Week 3 concludes Monday, when Kansas City chiefs visit the Baltimore Ravens at 7:15 pm CDT. ESPN will broadcast the game on television.
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Mark Inabinett is a sports journalist for the Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter at Ark AMarkG1.