If Ravens rookie running back Javorius "Buck" Allen was in the doghouse, he came charging out of it.
Allen responded to last week's benching in a big way in Sunday's 20-17 win over the Steelers.
The fourth-round rookie rushed for a career-high 79 yards on 18 carries (4.4 yards per carry) and caught five passes for 35 yards. He scored what was eventually the game-winning touchdown on a 3-yard plunge in the fourth quarter.
The breakout game, against Baltimore's arch rival, comes after Allen was benched**for a second fumble in as many weeks last Sunday versus Kansas City. Head Coach John Harbaugh sat Allen down to emphasize the importance of holding onto the football. Allen had just four carries for 18 yards and one fumble against the Chiefs.
"We're not trying to punish him. [You] make a choice sometimes about what's best in the long interest of playing winning football," Harbaugh said after Sunday's win. "He took it to heart. He's a humble, hard-working, very confident guy. He came back, and he answered the bell."
One game after the fumbles, the Ravens gave Allen the lion's share of carries. He had 18 to Terrance West's 13 (42 yards).
"The coaches, they just trusted me, and after last week, I just want to thank them for believing in me and just staying with me and not giving up on me," Allen said.
Outside of two games, Allen has stepped up in a big way ever since veteran Justin Forsett went down with a season-ending broken arm. Allen is now averaging 3.9 yards per carry on the season and a whopping 8.2 yards per catch.
Both of Allen's previous two touchdowns had come off receptions (in Cleveland, in Miami). Sunday's 3-yard run marked his first career rushing touchdown.
Allen started left, making the Steelers defense flow in that direction. He quickly cut back to the right and behind a block from right guard Marshal Yanda before lowering his head and powering through three Steelers defenders at the goal line.
"It was a great cut," Allen said. "[Running Backs] Coach Thomas [Hammock] has been working on me getting that cut down all week, all year pretty much. And to go out there and actually show results that it's working, it's great. And I know he's proud and I'm glad I can go out there and help my team win."
This isn't the first time the Ravens have had success on the ground versus the Steelers. In Week 4, Baltimore rolled on the ground with 191 total rushing yards, including 27 carries for 150 yards by Forsett. Allen had five rushes for 19 yards.
Between Allen and West, the Raves had 121 yards on 31 carries versus the Steelers in Sunday's rematch.
"We've got a great group of guys up front that understand that defense," Allen said. "We play them twice a year, so the first time we could run on them and we just kept the same game plan."