The Ravens ran their way into the record book Sunday.
With 223 yards rushing against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore set the NFL single 16-game-season team rushing record with 3,296 yards, breaking a mark that had stood for 41 years. The 1978 New England Patriots rushed for 3,165 yards, during an era when running the football was much more prevalent.
However, Sunday was the ninth time this season that the Ravens rushed for at least 200 yards in a game, and they ended the regular season with another dominant rushing performance.
Baltimore needed 93 yards Sunday to set the record, and players and coaches entered the game aware that the mark was within reach.
Running back Gus Edwards set the tone, exploding for a 38-yard run late in the first quarter, and Baltimore ended the first quarter with 89 yards rushing, just four yards short of the record. Then early in the second quarter, Edwards broke the record on a 9-yard rumble up the middle.
In today's NFL, a team rushing for over 3,000 yards in a season is unheard of. Nobody had come close to the Patriots' record in the years since.
After the game, Head Coach John Harbaugh said the entire organization should take pride in the record.
"It's like Joe DiMaggio's record – that's the record that would never be broken, and it just got broken by the 2019 Baltimore Ravens," Harbaugh said. "It feels real good.
"The first team I think ever to average 200 yards rushing and 200 yards passing in a season. That's nothing to take lightly. That's something that these guys are going to have and we're going to carry with us for a long time, coaches and players."
Baltimore's rushing attack and the innovative schemes utilized by Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman are also unique.
The Ravens had two players who rushed for over 1,000 yards, Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram II. Jackson set the NFL single-season rushing record for a quarterback (1,206 yards), running behind an offensive line that featured two Pro Bowlers in left tackle Ronnie Stanley and right guard Marshal Yanda. The Ravens also have a Pro Bowl fullback (Patrick Ricard) and one of the league's best blocking tight ends in Nick Boyle.
Jackson, Ingram, Stanley and Yanda were all inactive against the Steelers on Sunday, but Baltimore's rushing attack kept rolling.
Sunday was the latest example of why Baltimore's rushing attack is one for the ages, and the best in the NFL by a wide margin. The Ravens entered Sunday's game averaging 204.9 yards rushing, more than 59 yards ahead of the next best team, the San Francisco 49ers.
Jackson has enjoyed an MVP-caliber season at quarterback, augmented by a running game that he is a huge part of. Opponents didn't see this kind of rushing attack coming and have struggled mightily to stop it. The NFL's highest-scoring offense has led the Ravens to a second-straight AFC North title and the AFC's No. 1 seed in the playoffs. Now it's a rushing offense that has made history.
"It's crazy, being able to go out there and do what we do, week-in and week-out," right tackle Orlando Brown Jr. said. "Just a credit to Greg Roman. What he and his team does, in terms of the offensive coaches, just putting us in the right positions to succeed every week."