After a slow start Sunday, the Ravens' running game dominated in the second half.
Held to 44 yards rushing in the first half, Baltimore finished with 230 yards on the ground and rolled to a 33-16 victory over the Houston Texans. It was reminiscent of 2019, when Baltimore set the NFL single season record for team rushing yards.
It was a good sign for the Ravens, who are working some new parts into their running attack. Tyre Phillips is the new starting right guard, taking over for the retired Marshal Yanda. Second-round pick J.K. Dobbins has joined the running back rotation, adding explosiveness and more depth.
For those wondering if the Ravens could still take over a game with their ground game, this game was a positive sign. Gus Edwards (73 yards), Mark Ingram II (55 yards), Lamar Jackson (54 yards) and Dobbins (48 yards) all took turns hurting the Texans. Jackson enjoyed watching the running backs eat.
"Our offensive line was doing a great job getting that push, getting the defensive line on their toes," Jackson said. "Our backs are just explosive. They're good. That's why we got them here, they just did their job. That's what we needed today to have success."
Baltimore's running backs attacked the Texans with different styles. Edwards used his power to hit Houston with a 22-yard run between the tackles.
Dobbins showed his balance an ability to break tackles not only as a runner, but as a pass-catcher out of the backfield. He had the team's longest run of the game with a 44-yarder late in the fourth quarter.
Ingram had the play of the game with a 30-yard touchdown sprint on fourth-and-1, also in the fourth quarter.
"The offensive line kind of built into it as the game went along," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "The running backs were grinding out yards. They were getting extra yards every carry. They deserve a lot of credit for that"
The Ravens' long drives in the second half allowed Baltimore to take control of the game. After not running the ball as well as they wanted Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens were pleased with what transpired in the second half.
"The mindset coming out was to finish, 30 minutes," Ingram said. "That was our mentality. We didn't run the ball as much in the first half but I just told the backs, 'Let's just stay on point, stay focused, stay ready. When our opportunity comes, let's capitalize on it.' Our offensive line did a tremendous job creating seams for us to finish the game off."
The Ravens expect to have one of the NFL's best running attacks, but every season is different. Opponents have had an entire offseason to devise different ways to counter what Baltimore did last year, but the Texans had no answer in the second half.
"It's a new year, we're just trying to create a new identity for ourselves," Ingram said. "We were able to run the ball efficiently, get some big runs thanks to the offensive line creating holes for us. We feel like we have the best backfield in the league. We try to prove that week in and week out."