BALTIMORE — Derrick Henry talks softly but carries a big load, both figuratively for the Tennessee Titans and also on his titanic tailback's frame, listed at 6-3 with 247 foreboding pounds.
So it probably squares that his message Saturday night to the Baltimore Ravens' Earl Thomas was understated even though Henry ripped off 195 rushing yards, including a 27-yard burst off a cutback in the second quarter — punctuated by brutal stiff-arm of the star safety that put Thomas into a spin cycle after he tried to ride Henry out of bounds.
"I just said, 'Good to see you, Earl. Good to see you, man. Hopefully we can do this again,' " Henry said after Tennessee's stunning 28-12 upset of top-seeded Baltimore.
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A microphone caught Henry saying more during his post-game CBS interview as Thomas left the field.
"Good (expletive), Earl," said Henry mid-answer.
Of course, Thomas set himself up for this. Asked about Henry on Tuesday after the back had run over the Patriots for 182 yards in the wild-card round, Thomas replied: "Guys didn’t seem too interested in tackling him. I think our mindset is a little different. We’re gonna try to tackle him, try to swarm and see how it plays out.”
Thomas didn't seem very interested himself, and there weren't a lot of Ravens swarming Henry when it mattered as he churned out 6.5 yards per carry.
And for whatever all the yakking was worth, Henry reminded us that actions speak louder than words.
"I think that's a part of the game," he said when asked about Thomas' comments. "Some guys like to say stuff to get (themselves), get their defense fired up, and I think that's what he was doing.
"And I just go play."
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis
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