Brett Whitefield's Week 4 Game Ball


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Brett Whitefield's Week 4 Game Ball

With Week 4 officially in the books, it's time to shine a spotlight on the league's standout performer and hand out a "Game Ball." I will do this every week from now until the end of the season. Take a peek at the previous winners if you missed those.

Week 1: Miami Dolphins QB, Tua Tagovailoa

Week 2: Houston Texans WR, Nico Collins

Week 3: Entire Detroit Lions Defense

After grinding every single snap from the week, I will be bringing to the table a combination of film analysis and advanced data to break down the week’s most outstanding player or unit.

It was difficult sifting through the litany of insane performances across the league to pick out someone worthy of the game ball. A six-sack performance from Khalil Mack, WRs like Nico Collins, AJ Brown, Brandon Aiyuk, and Puka Nacua all hitting the 150-yard mark, 3+ TD performances from Stefon Diggs, David Montgomery, and Christian McCaffrey, and dominant performance from rookie CB Devon Witherspoon. This week I opted to roll with a player who had a big-time game in the box score, but also potentially signaled something that might change the course of the NFL season.

My Week 4 Game Ball goes to Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry.


King Henry, as we like to call him, apparently did not like me calling him out on

Guru in the Morning this past week when I told John Hansen and Adam Caplan that he just “looks done.” Welp. On the contrary, we saw a vintage Henry who stole the soul of the Cincinnati Bengals and pulverized them into the ground. Obviously, the stat sheet agreed, as Henry touched the ball 22 times for over 100 yards and a score and put a cherry on top with a 2-yard touchdown pass to end the first half. If you are a box score scout, you probably think a “bounce back” is obvious, but when I watched the All-22, there were some key takeaways in that game that might signal a longer-lasting effect after a dreadful start to the season for Henry.

Let’s dive into the performance.


If you have spent any amount of time watching Henry play, you know his lateral quickness is otherworldly, considering how big he is. This allows him to jump from gap to gap, punishing peeking defenders, and even allows him to completely reset his track. While he generates a lot of misses with his size and power, his “wiggle” has also been paramount in him stacking up forced missed tackles. It almost works like a changeup for a pitcher. In Weeks 1 through 3, Henry just didn’t have it, but in Week 4, it was on full display for us and was the catalyst for a handful of explosive runs.


One of the things that makes Henry such a monster and difficult to stop is the blend of size and speed he has — he constantly wins the corner in Tennessee’s outside zone-heavy offense. That burst was completely absent in the first three games this season. Independent of the blocking in front of him, it seemed like Henry just couldn’t quite win the footraces he was used to winning. Week 4 told a different story.


In Weeks 1-3, Henry was lacking in the one thing you would expect from a 250-pound back. He didn’t seem to have the leg drive and bulldozing ability he once did. The yards after contact were down, and so were those pile-moving runs that frustrate a defense. This week was a statement game from him — he didn’t go down without a brawl once. He nearly doubled his season total of first downs in one game, most of which came via lowered shoulders and plowing his way to the sticks.

  • More forced missed tackles in Week 4 (13), than Weeks 1-3 combined (11).

  • 4.41 yards after contact per carry (97 yards) in Week 4 vs. 2.59 YACO Weeks 1-3.

  • 9 runs for a 1D/TD in Week 4, just 10 Weeks 1-3.

  • 61 yards on explosive runs Week 4 vs. 41 Weeks 1-3.


Any time data and film intersect, I am going to hard plant my flag on a topic. What I see (the film) and what I know (the data) paints a very vibrant picture of Henry’s Week 4 performance, and leads me to believe this won’t be a one-week thing. Throw Weeks 1-3 out — the King has returned.

Brett Whitefield is an experienced professional in football analytics, with more than a decade in the business. He has held several key positions with some of the top companies in the industry, including as a process manager at Pro Football Focus (PFF), where he spent more than seven years. Brett has also worked with and consulted for multiple NFL teams and Power-5 NCAA football programs.