EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Derrick and the Defense just might crank out enough late-season hits to get the Tennessee Titans into the playoffs.
That combo made sweet music for them in back-to-back home wins against the New York Jets and the Jacksonville Jaguars this month, and on a rainy Sunday afternoon in the Meadowlands, it led to a third straight win and the Titans' first shutout in 18 years.
Bruising halfback Derrick Henry had his second straight big game, running for two touchdowns and 170 yards on his NFL career-high 33 carries, and Tennessee kept its late-season playoff push alive while ending the New York Giants' postseason hopes with a 17-0 victory.
"We're happy with whatever works and helps us win games. If that's it, then we'll keep on doing it," Henry said of the new dynamic duo that has pushed the Titans' record to 8-6 with home games against the Washington Redskins this Saturday and against the Indianapolis Colts on Dec. 30 remaining on their schedule.
"Whatever gives us the best opportunity to win games, I think we're going to stick with that," Henry continued. "Hat's off to the defense, pitching a shutout."
It was the Titans' first since a 31-0 win over the Dallas Cowboys on Christmas Day in 2000. Over the past two games, Tennessee's defense has allowed nine points.
Henry, who scored on two 1-yards runs Sunday, has been even better. He had a franchise-record 238 rushing yards and four touchdowns in the 30-9 win over Jacksonville on Dec. 6, and his 408 rushing yards over the past two games is the best such stretch for any player in the franchise's Tennessee era. Earl Campbell ran for more when the team was the Houston Oilers.
"I think he's just finding seams, and when it comes down to it, there's only one ball," said Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, who was 12-of-20 for 88 yards with an interception. "We just have to find a way to get it to everybody. Derrick had the opportunity in the past couple of weeks to have more carries, and I think he's done a great job with it."
The Titans limited back Saquon Barkley, the Giants' versatile rookie running back, to 31 yards on 14 carries. Tennessee's defense posted three sacks, a third-quarter interception by safety Kevin Byard — it stopped a New York drive inside the red zone with the score 7-0 — and a forced fumble that set up Henry's second touchdown.
It was the first time New York was blanked since its 23-0 loss to the Arizona Cardinals last Dec. 24.
Eli Manning finished 21-of-44 for 229 yards as the Giants (5-9) lost for only the second time in six games since their open date.
"It wasn't the type of game that we wanted to play today; we didn't do enough in all phases to get the job done," Giants defensive captain Alec Ogletree said. "When you don't do that, those are the results you get. I thought we played hard, but we didn't make enough plays."
The Titans' offense did, rushing 42 times for 216 yards.
After Ryan Succop missed a 48-yard field goal on the opening series, the Titans got the ball back and went 75 yards in 15 plays, with Henry powering into the end zone. He seemingly had scored two plays earlier, but a video review determined he was just short of the goal line.
Titans linebacker Kamalei Correa forced a Manning fumble in the third quarter that teammate Jurrell Casey recovered at the Giants' 14. New York seemed to have the Titans stopped at its 3 on third down, but a facemask penalty on a sack of Mariota gave Tennessee first-and-goal, and Henry delivered on the next play.
Succop added a 22-yard field goal in the fourth quarter, and Tennessee's defense held up one last time when the Giants had first-and-goal with a little more than two minutes to go.
The Giants' 2016 postseason berth is their only one since 2012.
"It hurts. Obviously you want to make the playoffs," Manning said. "We didn't play well enough early in the year to put ourselves in a good position. I knew we still had a chance if we won out, but we didn't play well enough today to do that."
The Titans were hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for taking two consecutive delay-of-game penalties in row on a fourth-and-6 at the Giants' 35 late in the first half. The Giants declined the first one, and Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel had his team do it again. He seemed surprised by the second call.
Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro left in the first half with a concussion, and linebacker Sharif Finch left in the second half with a shoulder injury.