The Ravens' three-headed running back monster may have found a new lead dog Sunday as rookie J.K. Dobbins emerged in the 30-24 overtime loss to the Tennessee Titans.
Dobbins already had his "breakout game" weeks ago when he topped 100 rushing yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers. But that was with leading veteran Mark Ingram II sidelined by injury.
This time, the Ravens had all four running backs at their disposal, but Dobbins dominated the workload. Dobbins ran 15 times for 70 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown – his first score since Week 1. He also caught three passes, including a two-point conversion.
Gus Edwards had three carries for six yards and Ingram had two for two yards. Lamar Jackson (13 carries, 51 yards) had the second-most carries on the team.
Head Coach John Harbaugh was asked if the plan all along was for Dobbins to lead the running backs in carries.
"I think that's the way it went as the game went on," Harbaugh said.
Edwards got the first carry, but Dobbins got hot in the second quarter, ripping off back-to-back carries of six and nine yards on the Ravens' third drive. He was animated when he was called to the Ravens sideline near the end of the drive and the Ravens settled for a short field goal.
On the next drive, Dobbins ran on three straight run plays for gains of 11, four and seven yards. He finished the drive off with a 2-yard touchdown plunge, then caught the two-point conversion to give the Ravens a seven-point lead.
"I definitely got in a rhythm," Dobbins said. "I was just trying to contribute. I was running my hardest to help this team win."
Dobbins had 10 carries for 57 yards and a touchdown in the first half, which he ended with some trash talk for Titans cornerback Desmond King. At halftime, Dobbins had 20 more yards on three fewer carries than Derrick Henry.
"That's just the competitive spirit in me," Dobbins said. "I'm a competitive guy, I'm passionate, I love to play the game."
Dobbins had a tougher time breaking off any big gains in the second half. He didn't touch the ball on the Ravens' game-tying drive at the end of the fourth quarter, then he got the first play of scrimmage in overtime but squeezed out just a 2-yard gain before Jackson was sacked for a 9-yard loss.
The Ravens went three-and-out in overtime and didn't see the ball again. That did not sit well with Dobbins.
"I've just got to do things better. I've got to find a way to help this team win the game," Dobbins said. "No matter what I do, I just have to find a way to win this game for the team."
It remains to be seen how Baltimore will rotate its running backs moving forward, but there's no doubt that Dobbins wants to be a big part of the equation. Dobbins had 15 carries for a season-high 113 yards against the Steelers earlier this month.
"He's an elite talent. He's a great running back," left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. said. "He's got a really, really bright future here in Baltimore. He's capable of a lot of different things. We've got a lot of trust in him. As one of the veterans on this team, I've got a lot of trust in him."