INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The Tennessee Titans will have to look beyond “Dancing With the Stars” prospects if they hope to replace Derrick Henry.
Adrian Peterson, who on Sunday confirmed he turned down an invitation to compete on ‘DWTS’ because he wanted to play in the NFL again, made his debut here with the Titans. He helped prove what the Titans and everybody else should’ve already known.
Henry, the superstar running back who’s out indefinitely with a broken foot, can’t be replaced.
Of course, it might not matter if the Titans continue to play like they did in a 28-16 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium.
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Titans defensive end Jeffery Simmons (98) celebrates with outside linebacker Harold Landry (58) after bringing down Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) during the first half at SoFi Stadium.
A smothering defense led the way as the Titans won their fifth game in a row and improved to 7-2, the best record in the AFC.
As for Peterson? Well, he scored a touchdown. But you had to wonder if the 36-year-old future Hall of Famer would have looked better dancing the tango than running the wildcat (and getting stuffed on that play).
He managed a meager 21 yards on 10 rushes, and as a team, the Titans rushed for a measly 69 yards — compared to the 117 yards Henry had been averaging before suffering an injury that forced him to under surgery this week.
Yet the Titans scored their most validating victory of the season – on the road, against a Super Bowl contender – with a blueprint to win without Henry.
It starts with the defense.
The Titans sacked Rams quarterback Matt Stafford five times.
They forced two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown and another that set up a touchdown.
They bullied Stafford into his worst game with the Rams, evidenced by his 71 passer rating and ESPN’s quarterback rating of…