Lost in J.K. Dobbins' 120-yard return in his first game back from his midseason knee procedure was a bit of Ravens history.
In that game, the 20th of Dobbins' career, he became the fastest Raven to ever accrue 1,000 rushing yards (1,048) and 10 rushing touchdowns (11) in a career.
Jamal Lewis ran for 1,364 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie in 2000, helping the Ravens win their first Super Bowl. Now Dobbins is quickly becoming the Ravens' best running back since.
Lewis suffered a torn ACL that wiped out his sophomore season, just like Dobbins. Lewis still returned to to have much success. He had six more 1,000-yard seasons between Baltimore and Cleveland, including a 2,066-yard season in 2003 that earned him the AP Offensive Player of the Year Award.
It's too soon to say that kind of success is around the corner for Dobbins, but he feels himself getting stronger and holds himself to a high standard.
"I'm still going to get better, figure things out with my knee after coming back for my first game. The more games I play, the better I'll get," Dobbins said Tuesday.
"It's going to get better. I can't wait to see the finished product."
After posting 120 rushing yards, Dobbins said he wants to get 160 next and ultimately have a 200-yard rushing game.
First, however, he wants to make sure he never is caught again. Dobbins hit a top speed of 20.07 mph on his 44-yard run in Pittsburgh, but he is still kicking himself that he didn't score. He punched it in on the next play from four yards out.
"I know I can make the cuts, it's just whenever I get into the open field, you don't usually see me get caught and I got caught," Dobbins said. "I'm never going to live that down in my head. I'm still thinking about it. I'll fix that. That's just part of it, just getting my knee back into game shape. Next time, I won't get caught."
Ravens Want to Give Deshaun Watson an AFC North Welcome
Deshaun Watson is going to be in the AFC North for a long time after signing a fully-guaranteed five-year, $230 million contract with the Browns this past offseason.
This will be his first game against the Ravens as a Brown, and Baltimore's hot defense wants to give him a proper welcome.
"We want to give him a not-so-soft welcoming," cornerback Marlon Humphrey said. "So, it's cool to welcome him to the rivalry. Hopefully, it won't be a good rivalry-welcoming for him.
"They paid a lot of money to Deshaun and have a lot of faith in him, and he's obviously one of those top 5, top 10 quarterbacks in the league. [There's] limited film, [and] it's kind of only heating up, so it's not really the best time to play him, but we look forward to the challenge."
Watson was 0-2 against the Ravens as a Houston Texan. He averaged 222 passing yards per game, threw one touchdown to two interceptions, and was sacked 10 times.
Watson had a rough outing in his first game back from an 11-game suspension, but looked better in his second game last week against Cincinnati, completing 26 of 42 passes for 276 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Ravens said they are preparing based on what they've seen the past two weeks.
"[He is] still the same guy that he used to be, still a great quarterback, still can move, still can make the throws on the move," linebacker Patrick Queen said. "[He] can still do everything that any other quarterback can do. So, the biggest thing with him is just trying to keep him in the pocket and limiting the things he does well."
Queen Took Note of the Haters
Queen was always willing to admit during his first two seasons when he wasn't playing his best.
Now that he's taking off in Year 3, Queen hasn't forgotten those who counted him out.
After another big game Sunday in Pittsburgh, Queen took note of a mock fan apology form to him making the rounds on social media.
"I think that people just try to find the 'out guy' and just try to blame somebody for stuff that happens. There were some instances where I could have played better, could have done better things. At the same time, I think I was just getting a lot of the blame for a lot of stuff that was going on," Queen said.
"So, if they were on their side, [I would] tell them they're still on their side; If they were on my side – and they were always on my side – they're welcome."
John Harbaugh Offers Tribute After Mike Leach's Passing
Mississippi State Head Coach Mike Leach died Monday morning at 61 years old, a jolt to the football community at-large.
Leach was a longtime college coach and head coach at Texas Tech (2000-2009), Washington State (2012-2019) and Mississippi State (2020-2022). A legendary character who made many football fans laugh with his life advice, Leach was highly respected for being a unique football mind.
Harbaugh never worked with him but offered a tribute Tuesday afternoon.
"I didn't know him personally, but [I had] a lot of respect for him as a coach over the years and how he changed the game of football in so many ways. I want to express that on behalf of the organization," Harbaugh said.
Asked if there are any Leach influences in the Ravens' offense, Harbaugh said, "absolutely."
"No question – that whole kind of idea, in terms of going fast, spreading people out, seeing what the defense looks like, running the play based on that, has been transformative," Harbaugh said.
"So, all those guys – and Coach Leach was definitely one of the first guys to do that. [It was] really [an] out of the box kind of the way he saw the game. And, [he] stuck to it. He never was apologetic in any way. He did it differently and did it really well."