Chris Johnson of old shows up against Buffalo’s porous defense
If you didn’t know better — and by that, I mean, if you weren’t aware that Chris Johnson was averaging 50 yards per game and had not scored this season — it might be easy to assume that Johnson is still a 2,000-yard back, based on Sunday.
Johnson’s third carry of the game in Buffalo was vintage CJ2K: He made a quick jump-cut to his right at the line, bounced outside to the sideline, then outran the Bills defense and dove for the pylon, giving Johnson his first touchdown of the season.
On Johnson’s next touch, he scored again, bursting through the line for an 83-yard score — the fourth-longest TD run of his career and has biggest gain since 2009. That run makes Johnson the only player in NFL history with four career 80-yard TD runs, and it was his first score since last Dec. 4.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, a reminder that Buffalo’s rush defense has been a total nightmare in 2012. The Bills entered Sunday’s game against Johnson and the Titans allowing 173.5 yards per game, the worst mark in the league. They coughed up 165 yards to Arizona on the ground last week, the fourth time this season that a team topped the century mark (Kansas City even went for 201 against Buffalo in Week 2).
Johnson hit triple digits with his 83-yard touchdown run, then just kept piling on until halftime. He finished the first half with 139 yards on nine carries and finished with 195 and the two touchdowns on 18 carries. Johnson slowed down a bit in the second half, but still managed to come up with a 27-yard run on 3rd-and-1 on the fateful, deciding drive that ended with Nate Washington’s game-winning score.
Even with Buffalo’s defensive struggles, that yardage total is a pretty incredible number. Consider that Johnson headed into Week 7 with just 301 rushing yards total this season, with a high of 141.
Johnson has only one pair of back-to-back 100-yard games in the last two years, but with the Colts’ 29th-ranked rush defense (despite holding the Browns to just 55 yards today) coming to town next week, CJ2K may find more room to run in Week 8.