When asked on Sunday about the Baltimore Ravens rushing for 100 or more yards in 43 consecutive games, quarterback Lamar Jackson said that, in the moment that he crossed the 100-yard mark, tying a decades-old record, he admitted, “I’m not going to lie. I ain’t really care about the record”.
Now that he has it, though, and the Ravens now have the opportunity to break the record, held by the Pittsburgh Steelers teams of the 1970s, he seems more enthusiastic about its significance—and I would imagine a conversation or two with his head coach, who has been very enthusiastic about the record, may have played a role in it as well.
“It would mean a lot” to break the record, he told reporters on Thursday, “because we’ve been doing it ever since I’ve been here. Getting the win, like I said before, and breaking the record, that would be pretty dope. Especially because it’s a rival record. So, it would be dope if we do that, for sure”.
The Ravens have rushed for at least 100 yards in every single game since Jackson first started for the team in October of 2018. That does include a couple of games in which he did not play. The closest they have ever come to failing to hit that mark was on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
They had just 97 yards with seconds to play while up by multiple scores over the home team. But they got an interception with three seconds remaining as the Broncos tried to get the ball into the end zone. Rather than taking a knee to end the game, which is what every other team in any other situation would do in those game circumstances, Harbaugh chose to call a run for his quarterback off left end, sliding down after a five-yard gain, Baltimore finishing with 102 for the afternoon.
Harbaugh admitted on Thursday, however, that he hadn’t even heard of the record until “probably this year. Sometime earlier this year, I think”, when he was asked just that question by Jamison Hensley of ESPN, the Baltimore beat writer.
Of course, things are important when you make them important, and Harbaugh has chosen to make this rushing streak important to his team. It’s probably not a bad motivational tool in a season in which they lost all three of their top running backs to torn ACLs in the weeks leading up to the opener.
Outside of Jackson, who has been their leading rusher every year since his rookie season, the Ravens are running the ball with has-beens off the scrap heap, guys who have been Pro Bowlers in years past but have been cast off since, past their prime.
The most recent addition to that stable was former Steelers All-Pro Le’Veon Bell, who, since last playing for Pittsburgh in 2017, has rushed for 1128 yards on 331 attempts in 27 games, averaging 3.4 yards per carry, with five touchdowns. He also has 82 receptions for 599 yards and another touchdown, averaging 64 yards from scrimmage per game.