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Gus 'The Bus' Edwards Warms Up When It Gets Cold (And Has Improved Handling)


This is Gus Edwards' time of the year.

All six of Edwards' career 100-yard games have come in either November or December. The "Gus Bus" was rolling in December again during Tuesday night's 34-17 victory over the Dallas Cowboys, needing just seven carries to gain 101 yards.

It makes sense that Edwards has been effective late in the season, because he's one of the NFL's most physical runners and opponents aren't always thrilled about trying to tackle the 238-pound back. Over the next four games, Edwards is eyeing another strong finish that helps the Ravens make the playoffs.

"I think that's when our team gets stronger," Edwards said. "We have a physical team, physical offense, a physical defense. We have to use that to our advantage in the cold weather when guys are less likely to want to tackle and mentality's not there. We've got to build off the win we had (against Dallas)."

Edwards' reputation as a power back is well-deserved, but he has clearly added some elusiveness to his game. On his 36-yard run against the Cowboys, Edwards broke into the secondary and made a nifty start-and-stop move.

Reporting to training camp in the best shape of his career, Edwards says his added agility is no accident.

"I feel a lot faster and elusive," Edwards said. "It was a big part of my offseason program. I wanted to be better in and out of my cuts."

When Edwards was a rookie, he became a starter midway through the season and had three 100-yard games, helping the Ravens win six of their last seven to make the playoffs. Last season, Edwards gained 711 yards and averaged 5.3 yards per carry as part of a three-back rotation with Mark Ingram II and Justice Hill.

The addition of rookie J.K. Dobbins has added a fourth talented back to Baltimore's running back committee, and Dobbins also had a strong game against Dallas (11 carries, 71 yards, one touchdown) and looks poised to be a playmaker down the stretch. Edwards never knows how many carries he'll get from game to game, but he prides himself on maximizing his touches.

"It's really what's expected in the building," Edwards said. "With all the backs that we have, with the rotation that we do, you come in there fresh, you have to make a play when your number is called. That's the team standard here."

Edwards has a quieter personality than Ingram and Dobbins, but he is just as competitive in his own way. Head Coach John Harbaugh knows he can always depend on Edwards to be ready contribute, no matter what is going on around him. With all the uncertainty surrounding this season, Edwards' consistency is a huge benefit.

"Determined, that's how he is, he's been that way since the first day he got here," Harbaugh said. "His demeanor really hasn't changed. He's a straightforward kind of guy, work ethic, personality, professionalism, he's got a lot of talent. That's who he is.

"He's already tough to bring down because he can run through an arm tackle as well. He brings a physicality. He's a downhill runner even outside. He really puts stress on the defense that way and he works off of that."

The Ravens dominated Dallas with their running game, reminiscent of what they did to many teams last year on their way to a 14-2 record. This season has been more difficult for the Ravens in every way. But Edwards believes he can help Baltimore can build off its performance against Dallas as part of a rushing attack that can be a huge factor over the last four games.

"It has to be a spark," Edwards said. "We've got all of our goals ahead of us, and for us to keep them there, we have to keep winning."

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