When the Baltimore Ravens were floundering in November and early December, John Harbaugh delivered a one-word message emblazoned on T-shirts for his players: “Finish.”
With their dominant 38-3 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, the Ravens finished their quest to make the postseason for the third straight season, even if this campaign was a lot harder than the 2019 version.
The Bengals finished the regular season 4-11-1. Backup quarterback Brandon Allen (6-of-21 passing, 48 yards, INT) struggled, throwing an end zone pick that put the final nail in Cincinnati’s season.
The Ravens were bit by COVID-19 limitations and injuries all season, and Lamar Jackson couldn’t mimic his MVP form for the entire season.
But Jackson looks back now. On Sunday, he threw for three TDs and ran for 97 yards, registering only the third 1,000-yard rushing season by a QB (Jackson had one of them in 2019).
Lamar Jackson 1,000-yard rushing seasons: 2
All other QBs in NFL history 1,000-yard rushing seasons combined: 1
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) January 3, 2021
This is a team that could make noise in the postseason if it keeps up this type of rushing clip.
It wasn’t just Jackson who ran all over the Bengals. The Ravens set a franchise record for rushing yards in a game with 404, as six players ran for 20 yards or more. Rookie JK Dobbins led the way with 160 yards and two scores, including a 72-yarder after Jackson was pulled with the Ravens up four scores.
That team rushing total came up a few yards short of the modern mark of 407, held by the Bengals in 2000. The all-time mark is 423 by the New York Giants in 1950.
The past five games, the Ravens have run for 1,337 yards — almost more than the Pittsburgh Steelers’ season total (1,351).
Now that’s finishing.
“We faced a lot of adversity,” Jackson said. “People doubted us throughout the season because we weren’t having the season we had last year. Our team fought through that, and we showed the world that we’re here to play.”
The Ravens appear built for this time of year. They will face the Tennessee Titans at 1:05 p.m. ET Sunday on wild-card weekend.
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