Chris Johnson’s 2009 campaign with the Tennessee Titans is legendary among NFL fans. After a rookie campaign where he tallied 1,488 scrimmage yards while splitting carries with LenDale White, football fans suspected Johnson was primed for stardom. But no one could have expected what happened next.
The NFL odds market expected a Titans team to contend for a Wild Card berth. Instead, they got something much more historic: the 16 weeks that birthed CJ2K. Here are the best moments from that season.
Week 2: Tennessee Titans vs. Houston Texans
Fantasy football and online sports betting fans will remember that Johnson’s amazing season wasn’t exactly a slow burn. In the Titans’ home opener against Houston, he immediately exploded for 284 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. The massive box score performance included 197 yards on the ground.
Johnson’s 2,000-yard season was littered with quick-strike touchdowns that saw him score from virtually anywhere on the field. He tallied two long touchdowns in the first quarter.
The first was a 57-yard run that started near his own 40; the second was a 69-yard catch-and-run that was perfectly set up when Titans quarterback Kerry Collins realized nobody was covering Johnson after he flexed out wide.
Chris Johnson, #Titans
vs #Texans 2009
197 Rush Yards | 2 TDs
9 Catches | 87 Yards | 1 TD pic.twitter.com/ot9ioLiIFB
— Zach Brunner (@FantasyFlurry) August 15, 2016
Week 7: Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The AFC South was very kind to Johnson in 2009, as many of his best games came against divisional opponents. In week 7, it was the Jaguars’ turn to feed the beast.
Tennessee took an early 13-0 lead, but a pair of long touchdown runs on either side of halftime from Jacksonville favorite Maurice Jones-Drew squared the game at 13 apiece.
Johnson responded by ripping off a 52-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that proved to be the game’s decisive score.
He also added on an 89-yard lightning strike in the opening moments of the fourth. Why not?
Johnson finished the Jags game with 24 carries for 228 rushing yards and two touchdowns. It also began a three-week stretch of multi-touchdown games.
Week 14: Tennessee Titans vs. St. Louis Rams
Once the calendar flipped to December, it was clear that Johnson could do something special if he could just keep his extraordinary offensive pace up for just a bit longer.
Heading into a home game in Week 14 against Steve Spagnuolo’s lowly Rams, there were just four games left in the regular season. Johnson had 1,509 rushing yards and 1,831 scrimmage yards.
The stakes were clear: Johnson could become the sixth player ever to rush for 2,000 yards in one season. He also had a chance to break Marshall Faulk’s single-season record for scrimmage yards, which was 2,429. (He eventually did, ending the season with 2,509.)
The Rams game was where it went from a theoretical possibility to a real potential outcome. Johnson piled up a yeoman’s 117 rushing yards and two touchdowns, in addition to 69 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. The Titans throttled St. Louis, 47-7, and CJ2K could smell the records from there.
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