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Tyjae Spears forcing Titans to use split backfield in Week 5 vs. Colts

We break down the Titans running back usage in Week 5.

Tyjae Spears #32 runs the ball with Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Tennessee Titans lead blocking downfield during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Nissan Stadium on October 1, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Bengals 27-3. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Final update: Tennessee lost to the Colts 23-16, despite Indy not having starting quarterback Anthony Richardson for much of the second half. Henry finished with 13 carries and 43 yards, with three receptions for an additional 19 yards. Spears only had seven carries for 34 yards and a score. He added four receptions for 35 additional yards.

Henry ended up with 37 snaps played, but Spears was on his heels at 32. The backfield ended up a lot closer in usage than you would expect.

The Tennessee Titans are facing the Indianapolis Colts in a Week 5 AFC South divisional game. The Titans are known for their ground game and have been led by Derrick Henry for the last few years. Rookie Tyjae Spears is forcing his way onto the field with his play.

Henry has nine carries for 32 yards through two and a half quarters. Meanwhile, the backup Spears has six carries for 30 yards and a touchdown. Henry has two receptions for 17 yards, while Spears has two for 24. Henry is still the starter, but his grasp on the job over his backup isn’t as strong as it has been in recent seasons.

When the team went into halftime, both running backs had played 18 snaps. Head coach Mike Vrabel doesn’t seem concerned about field position or a hot hand for the running back usage and seems determined to have them split the work. Spears’ score was a 19-yard scamper as Tennessee had just gotten into the redzone.