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Ravens Will Make a Run at a 41-Year-Old Rushing Record


In a record-setting season for the Ravens, one of the NFL's most untouchable records is now within reach.

Baltimore needs 93 rushing yards in Sunday's regular-season finale to break the single-season team rushing record set by the 1978 New England Patriots – 41 years ago.

The Patriots ran for 3,165 yards that season. The Ravens currently sit at 3,073 – making them just the third team to ever top 3,000.

No team has even come close to the Patriots' record ever since, which speaks to how revolutionary the Ravens' offense has been this season.

"I think that's something we would take pride in and it's definitely something that we're shooting to attain," running back Mark Ingram II said.

"Especially in this day and age, they said that stuff would never happen and that record would probably never be broken. Just to have the shot in a passing league to break a longtime record like that, that's special to be part of a group that can accomplish that."

Only thing is, the Ravens won't have their two leading rushers on the field as they chase history.

With no playoff implications at stake, quarterback Lamar Jackson (1,206 rushing yards) and Ingram (1,018) won't suit up. Pro Bowl veteran guard Marshal Yanda and other key Ravens blockers could get all or most of the day off too.

The Ravens will turn to Gus Edwards and rookie Justice Hill as their chief ball-carriers and a shuffled offensive line – and still try to get the job done. Edwards is having another strong season, averaging a robust 5.2 yards per carry. Hill is coming off a breakout game in which he scored his first career touchdown.

"To beat this team, we're going to have to run the ball well. If we run it for 93 yards, I think that would be good," Edwards said this week. "Everybody has a great mindset right now. Guys are going to step up, and we're focused on winning more than anything. But to have the record would be nice as well."

Every player involved said the team's top goal is to beat the rival Pittsburgh Steelers, who are fighting for the last spot in the AFC playoffs. Pittsburgh's defense is also one of the best in the league this season and has given up 102 rushing yards per game (11th in the NFL).

The Ravens have averaged 204.9 rushing yards per game this season. The San Francisco 49ers sit at No. 2 in the league at 145.1 yards.

Offensive Coordinator Greg Roman has had a ton of run game success over his entire coaching career. But he's never orchestrated anything like this. With Jackson's special talents, Roman has been able to take his schemes to another level.

Asked whether he could have envisioned breaking the rushing record this offseason, Roman said that in the NFL you're "always trying to be the best in the world at whatever you do."

"Yes, I suppose we were [envisioning this]," Roman said. "We have some really good players that are on our team, and these guys are really committed to each other, and they're really committed to our style of football. So, be great or do something else.

"So, if that's something that happens as the course of the game goes, that would be just an amazing milestone." 

Roman has loved making the Ravens offense unlike anything else out there in the NFL. When the league grew smitten with spread offense that found mismatches with four wide receiver sets, Roman found his advantage by getting extra blockers at the point of attack.

The NFL wasn't ready, at least not this regular season, for what the Ravens brought in the ground-and-pound attack.

"Yes, [we're] probably a bit of an outlier at this point. And that's a good thing," Roman said. "That means people aren't used to working on that style quite as much, so you take them out of their comfort zone a little bit."

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