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Recent posts by Mike Wilkening
Titans FB Ahmard Hall has had a front-row view of RB Chris Johnson's remarkable season, and to him, two runs have epitomized the second-year tailback's special campaign.
The first came in Week Two, when the Titans hosted the Texans. Facing a 3rd-and-10 from his own nine-yard line, QB Kerry Collins handed off to Johnson on a draw play. Johnson found a hole off the right side and quickly got to the second level. With just one tackler to beat, Johnson used OLG Eugene Amano as a shield — "sling-shotted him," as Hall put it — and burst away for a 91-yard TD run.
The second came in Week 10. On 3rd-and-goal from the Bills' one-yard line and the game tied at 17, Johnson took a Vince Young handoff, powered over a Bills defender, which caused two other Buffalo pursuers to tumble, and dashed off right end into the endzone.
"You don't see people do that in the NFL all the time — I don't care who you are," said Hall, who believes the 5-11, 200-pound Johnson doesn't get quite the credit he deserves for his physicality.
Johnson's rare speed is no secret, but his patience also impresses Hall, who likes how he presses the hole and sets up his blockers. Hall believes Johnson's ability to let the play develop and react accordingly has led to the significant increase in long runs for him. Johnson has more than twice as many carries of 20-plus yards as he did a season ago.
"Last year, he knew he had the speed to get out and break any given run," Hall said. "He didn't have the patience."
He also has a strong lead blocker in the 5-11, 242-pound Hall, who's thrilled about Johnson's incredible production.
"I think about it all the time," said Hall, a Pro Bowl first alternate. "I take a lot of personal pride in it."
Hall, who doesn't get many carries or receptions but has been an effective receiver when called upon, told PFW he would like to "get a lot more production" on offense in the future, but he has relished his work opening holes for Johnson, who's benefited from outstanding blocking throughout his magical season.
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