While the Baltimore Ravens have nothing of significance to play for as it pertains to the 2019 season, there is one thing that they would like to achieve during their home regular season finale tomorrow hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It’s no secret that, even though quarterback Lamar Jackson has led the league in touchdown passes, their offense has been piloted by their running game, of which he himself has been a tremendous part, finishing the year with over 1200 yards on the ground. Mark Ingram also topped 1000, making them a rare duo to hit those marks in the same season on the same team.
Even though neither will play against the Steelers, the Ravens as an offense still have a chance to make some history: they can break the record for the most rushing yards ever recorded in a single season, a record that has been upheld for over four decades, currently owned by the 1978 New England Patriots.
Through 15 games, the Ravens have already surpassed 3000 rushing yards, something that only three teams in modern NFL history has done.
There are some caveats here. While the Patriots rushed for 3165 yards in 1978, the Buffalo Bills also rushed for 3088 yards, and did so in a 14-game season. Buffalo in 14 games recorded more yards than the Ravens currently have through 15, though they also had more than 50 additional rushing attempts, so they were clearly running the ball even more.
And then there is the 1948 San Francisco 49ers, who for some reason are not recognized as owning the record. A complete outlier, they rushed for a staggering 3653 yards more than 70 years ago in a 14-game season, with 35 rushing touchdowns, yet the Patriots’ 1978 season is acknowledged as the NFL rushing record for a single season.
Be that as it may, the Ravens need 93 yards tomorrow against the Steelers to surpass New England’s mark of 3165 yards, which would be the most rushing yards in a single season since the NFL moved to a 16-game schedule.
Currently at 552 rushing attempts this season, that also stands as the most in a single season since the Kansas City Chiefs recorded 556 rushing attempts in 2010, a mark that the Ravens will surely surpass. They have also rushed for over 100 yards in every game, and over 150 yards in all but three.
Without Jackson and Ingram, the bulk of the carries will funnel to Gus Edwards, an undrafted rookie in 2018 who was their leading rusher a season ago, and Justice Hill, who has had a relatively productive rookie season. Robert Griffin III is also a mobile quarterback, so their offensive scheme should not deviate, nor their run-pass ratio.