Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson surpassed 2,000 yards for the season on Sunday, finishing the season with 2,006 yards.
That total is exactly 100 yards short of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season rushing record, so Johnson’s inability to break Dickerson’s mark can’t be blamed on any single play. But several people in the Titans’ locker room are saying this week that a bad call by an official cost Johnson a chance at the record.
The call was a holding penalty on fullback Ahmard Hall that negated a 62-yard Johnson touchdown run on Sunday. Johnson said he thought it was a bad call, and that it would have gotten him close enough to the record that he would have broken it later in the game.
“No way that was a holding call,” Johnson said. “That was not holding . . . at all.”
Titans center Kevin Mawae blasted referee Ed Hochuli for throwing a penalty flag even though the hold in question occurred after Johnson had broken into the open field, while Titans coach Jeff Fisher said he would have changed his playcalling to get Johnson the record if Johnson hadn’t lost those 62 yards.
“I don’t understand it,” Fisher said. “The disappointing thing about it is had it not been called, that would have changed things. We had the ball, we had eight minutes to go in the game and now we’re looking at the all-time record. That would have changed our approach in the ballgame.”
As it stands, Johnson will have to settle for 2,006, and Dickerson will own the record for at least another year.