In 2020, the Baltimore Ravens used the best run offense to win 11 regular season games.
It also helped them win their Wild Card matchup on the road against the Tennessee Titans.
Unfortunately, their campaign ended in a 17-3 defeat to the Buffalo Bills in the Divisional round.
Despite the loss, their rushing attack gave them a reason to be optimistic this season.
Still hard to believe the Ravens just played a game without:
Incredible roster depth.
— Brandon.. (@B_Wi11s) September 28, 2021
But the Ravens are an outlier because of quarterback and 2019 league MVP Lamar Jackson.
He’s devastating with his feet whenever a pass play breaks down.
Aside from throwing for 2,757 yards, the No. 32 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft became the first quarterback in league history to have multiple 1,000-rushing-yard seasons.
He followed up his 1,206 yards during his MVP season with 1,005 last year.
Lamar Jackson joins Michael Vick as the only two QBs to rush for 1000+ yards in a season 💨 pic.twitter.com/TeWXQJi83y
— FanDuel (@FanDuel) December 8, 2019
The Ravens were set to remain as contenders with these three players performing at their peak.
Their offense could be devastating when they execute Greg Roman’s plays to perfection.
However, those high hopes went out of the door during the preseason when Dobbins succumbed to a season-ending injury against the Washington Football Team.
More bad luck came the Ravens’ way when Edwards also suffered an injury.
The #Ravens cut short practice today after CB Marcus Peters and RB Gus Edwards sustained potentially significant knee injuries on back-to-back plays, per me and @MikeGarafolo. The team is having tests done on both players.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 9, 2021
They joined undrafted running back Ty’Son Williams, who was initially third in the depth chart behind Edwards and Dobbins.
The Ravens faithful tempered their expectations for these players who they see as placeholders for Dobbins and Edwards.
Quick fantasy story: On Thursday, I was reporting on #Ravens RB Gus Edwards’ injury at practice, making calls & discussing on TV. Meanwhile, my opponent was picking up Ty'Son Williams, who he started against me. I was up 17 points going into MNF… Williams had 18.03 and I lost 😢 pic.twitter.com/JjhvsXcjk3
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 15, 2021
But the Ravens’ ground attack kept on humming despite the significant personnel changes.
More importantly, they kept on winning after losing to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 1.
Run Ravens Run
But their running game was trending up despite the defeat.
Williams and Murray scored a rushing touchdown while Jackson led the way with 86 yards on 12 carries.
Next on their schedule was a home game against Super Bowl LIV champion Kansas City Chiefs.
It was Jackson’s first NFL win over Patrick Mahomes, and he finished with 107 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Lamar Jackson got the job done to defeat the Chiefs 😤
⚡️ 18/26 Comp/Att
⚡️ 239 Pass Yards
⚡️ 107 Rush Yards
⚡️ 3 Total TD pic.twitter.com/JsasfZ3nBl
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 20, 2021
Murray scored another touchdown in one of his nine carries while Williams added 77 yards on the ground.
In Week 3, the Ravens needed Justin Tucker’s historic 66-yard field goal to defeat the Detroit Lions, 19-17.
Jackson, Murray, Williams, and Freeman combined for 116 yards on 22 carries.
Lastly, the Ravens ended the Denver Broncos undefeated run, with a 23-7 victory.
Jackson had the second 300-yard passing game of his career but added 28 yards with his feet.
Murray led the run game with 58 yards and a touchdown.
We're all tied up at 7-7 in the second quarter‼️
Tune in on CBS. pic.twitter.com/1Rwh8jrP57
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 3, 2021
The backfield unit that Baltimore hurriedly assembled before the season is the third-best run offense in the NFL, averaging 164.5 yards per game.
Their six rushing touchdowns rank third after four games as well.
Jackson has 279 yards and is on track to have another 1,000-yard season.
On the other hand, Murray leads the team in rushing touchdowns with three.
"That's the type of game you gotta win if you want to do something in this league. And you did it." pic.twitter.com/SmL7lujofF
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 4, 2021
What looked like a crisis before the 2021 season is turning out to be perfectly fine.
The run game remains a strength for the Ravens, and there’s no reason to deviate from this approach.
Therefore, expect them to establish the run against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football next week.