Is this really an important record?
The outcome of Sunday’s Ravens–Broncos game had long been decided when Anthony Averett picked off Drew Lock in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, but Baltimore still had something to play for.
Averett’s pick gave the Ravens the ball back with three seconds on the clock and a 23–7 lead. But rather than simply take a knee to run out the clock, Baltimore lined up in the shotgun and called a QB sweep for Lamar Jackson, who gained five yards and slid to the turf. Why? Because the Ravens were at risk of having their streak of 100-yard rushing games broken. The Ravens had gained at least 100 yards on the ground in 42 consecutive games but were stuck on 97 when Averett came up with the interception. Jackson’s five-yard gain kept the streak alive, tying the 43-game mark set by the Steelers in the 1970s.
The Broncos weren’t happy with the Ravens’ decision to pad their stats in the garbage time, according to Mike Klis of Denver’s 9News.
Baltimore coach John Harbaugh said the decision to chase the record was “100% my call.”
“That’s one of those things that’s meaningful,” Harbaugh told reporters. “It’s one of those things that as a head coach, you’ve got to be mindful of your team and your players and your coaches and what it means to them. It’s a very, very tough record to accomplish and it’s a long-term record.
“I’m not going to say it’s more important than winning the game, for sure; it’s certainly not. As a head coach, I think you do that for your players and for your coaches, and it’s something they’ll have for the rest of their lives."
The streak wasn’t on Jackson’s mind, though.
“I’m not going to lie. I ain’t really care about the record,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking about that. I was thinking about winning the game.”
Jackson might not have cared about the record, but he’s the one responsible for it. The streak dates back to Jackson’s first game as the Ravens’ starter in Week 11 of the 2018 season. On his own, Jackson has accounted for nine 100-yard games himself in that time. Keeping the streak alive this season is especially impressive, considering the Ravens lost all three of their top running backs from last year—J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards were lost to season-ending injuries in the preseason and Mark Ingram to free agency—but Latavius Murray and Ty’Son Williams have picked up the slack.
Baltimore will have a chance to surpass the Steelers’ mark next week against the Colts on Monday Night Football. Indianapolis has a middle-of-the-road rush defense, ranking 16th in fewest total yards allowed and 15th in fewest yards allowed per carry.
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