At the start of the year, there was a thought that first-year Offensive Coordinator Marc Trestman may make Justin Forsett the next Matt Forte.
Forte caught a whopping 102 passes last year. As a running back, he finished fourth in the NFL in receptions, ahead of a lot of very good wide receivers.
That vision didn't come to fruition with Forsett, but it's looking to be more and more the case with Ravens rookie running back Javorius "Buck" Allen.
Allen caught 12 passes for 107 yards and one 41-yard touchdown in Sunday's 15-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
It's the third-most catches in a single game in Ravens history, bested only by Steve Smith Sr.'s monster 13-catch game against Cincinnati earlier this year and former Ravens running back Priest Holmes in 1998.
Add in Allen's 17 rushes for 63 yards and he notched 170 total yards that surely made any fantasy football owner happy.
"He's really coming on and becoming quite a threat," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "It's really exciting."
Allen took over as the Ravens' starting running back early in the Week 11 game against the Rams after Forsett's arm was broken. In the past three games, he's averaged 62 rushing yards and 62 receiving yards per game. Both of his touchdowns this season have come as a receiver.
Part of the reason he was targeted so much Sunday in Miami was because the Ravens had just one tight end for most of the game after Crockett Gillmore left with a back injury early in the first quarter.
Still, Allen made the most of his opportunities. He hauled in all but one of the passes on which he was targeted.Allen's biggest highlight came on the 41-yard touchdown. On the Ravens' first drive of the second half, he caught a floating pass in the flats and it looked like the Dolphins thought he was going to take the easy yardage and go out of bounds.
Allen had no such intention. He used his speed to blow by cornerback Brent Grimes, who took the wrong angle. Allen then cut back left, sending a Dolphins defender tumbling to the turf. Allen shook back left again to avoid a tackle attempt by safety Michael Thomas and cruised into the end zone.
The rookie gave credit to his receivers for blocking downfield, which they did well, but Allen also made people miss with his great vision and elusiveness.
"That's something I've been working on since college, is making the first guy miss," he said. "One on one, I'll go with myself over anybody. It's just a reaction. Nothing planned, just a reaction."
At the end of the game, however, Allen was kicking himself for not making even more plays.
The Ravens gave Allen the handoff when facing a third-and-1 from Miami's 2-yard line in the second quarter. He was stopped for no gain, and the Ravens were spotted short on fourth-and-1 after a quarterback sneak.
Allen was also called upon in a crucial situation late in the fourth quarter after safety Kendrick Lewis' strip and outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw's fumble recovery gave the Ravens possession in Dolphins' territory with a chance to win. Allen got two carries, but managed just 2 yards on each.
Tucker was given a 55-yard field goal chance that sliced wide right.
"I just feel like this is a game where we've just got to make more plays, myself included," Allen said. "At this point, I put it on me. I feel like I should get it done."
The Ravens also got a good day of running from backup running back Terrance West, who put up 31 yards on eight rushes. Allen and West have been a formidable duo since Forsett went down.
"I thought they both played great," Harbaugh said.
"[West] was smashing it up in there. He was running with physicality. [Allen], same thing, he was running really hard too. Then he made the plays in space to make guys miss like that, and to catch the ball the way he did out of the backfield."