There's been plenty of media chatter recently about the possibility of the Ravens trading for a running back. Well, two days before this year's deadline, Ravens running back Gus Edwards made a statement of his own.
With the passing attack scuffling in Arizona, the Ravens rode the "Gus Bus" in the second half for a 31-24 win against the Cardinals.
Edwards ran for three touchdowns and piled up 80 yards on 19 carries. He scored in the second, third and fourth quarters from 1, 7, and 1 yards out, respectively, and punished the Cardinals defense down the stretch.
Head Coach John Harbaugh said it was "huge" to get the ground game going in the second half, especially in the fourth quarter. It was especially critical on a day when the passing attack was spotty.
Coming off a monster offensive performance, particularly through the air, against the Detroit Lions last week, Lamar Jackson finished just 18-of-27 for 157 yards and one touchdown. No Ravens pass catcher had more than 40 receiving yards.
After Baltimore went down the field for a touchdown on the opening drive, the Ravens mustered just 25 yards on its next three drives. They scored a second touchdown just before halftime, but that was set up by an interception that gave the offense a short field.
The Ravens threw the ball 70% of the time in the first half. There was no doubt that at halftime, the Ravens knew they had to make some changes.
"I believe we went away from the run," Jackson said. "We were passing the ball a lot earlier in the game, and I believe we should have been running a little bit [to] just balance our offense out because last week when we were balancing our offense, we showed strides of being great all across the board."
It seemed the Cardinals were dropping a lot of players into coverage, which forced Jackson to hold onto the ball and eventually led to pressure.
"A win is a win, but I feel like we need to put more points on the board," Jackson said. "When they would drop back in coverage, we had longer-developing routes, and their defensive line was causing havoc, that's all."
The Ravens came out running the ball more in the second half but still punted on their first three drives. Finally, after a Geno Stone interception gave them a shorter field, the Ravens strung together three straight scoring drives – including one nine-play, 75-yard drive with eight runs – to essentially close out the game.
Edwards' 19 carries were the most he's had in a single game since Dec. 29, 2019.
"I love it. I love it whenever my number is called," Edwards said. "I feel like it was just like everybody knew that we had to get back to the running game before the game even started. Just watching them [the Cardinals] on film, we definitely saw some stuff from them that we felt we could run the ball. I'm glad we were able to get back to that before it was too late."
Edwards' big day is particularly of note considering the din of buzz about Baltimore being a possible trade partner for bruising Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry, or possibly others, this week. Edwards said "I don't know anything about that" and Harbaugh said he's confident in the team's running backs.
"We're confident in Gus. We're confident in Justice. Obviously, we want to get our guy back Keaton [Mitchell] and get healthy with that," Harbaugh said, also mentioning practice squad veteran Melvin Gordon III. "Yes, we like our running backs a lot."