The Tennessee Titans hit the ground running with their season-opening 43-13 victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
And, according to NFL.com’s NextGen Stats, two Titans – one on offense, one on defense – were among the 15 players who – with the ball in their hands – topped 20 miles per hour at some point in Sunday’s games.
Cornerback Malcom Butler’s top speed was the day’s second best overall and the fastest among defensive players. He hit 20.50 mph on his 38-yard interception return in the fourth quarter.
Running back Derrick Henry was seventh with his 75-yard touchdown reception, during which he reached 20.93 mph. Only two running backs, Saquon Barkley of the N.Y. Giants (21.76) and San Francisco’s Raheem Mostert (21.03), were faster, although each hit his top speed on a running play.
Henry’s reception led the league for the most yards after the catch. He actually hauled in the screen pass from quarterback Marcus Mariota behind the line of scrimmage and covered 79 yards of the field for the touchdown. When he took the pass, veered left toward the left sideline and then to the goal line, he actually ran a total of 96.6 yards, which made it the second-longest play of the day.
The only one to run more on a single play was Detroit wide receiver Danny Amendola, who covered 158.7 yards on a 47-yard touchdown reception. The next biggest chunk of yards-after-the-catch was 60 by Kansas City wide receiver Sammy Watkins on a 68-yard touchdown reception.
Based on NextGen’s tracking data and when the ball got to Henry, the expected outcome was for him to go nine yards after the catch, which made it one of the day’s most unlikely and unforgettable moments.