OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens running back Gus Edwards has played mostly a backup role to Mark Ingram this season.
With Ingram sidelined this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Edwards will take back his starting job and help Baltimore make history.
The Ravens have 3,073 yards rushing this season, which is the third-most all-time behind the 1978 New England Patriots (3,165) and 1973 Buffalo Bills (3,088). Edwards could carry Baltimore past those two teams to break the record.
“To beat this team, we’re going to have to run the ball well," Edwards said. "If we run it for 93 yards, I think that would be good. 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.”
Edwards led the Ravens in rushing as a rookie last season with 718 yards and two touchdowns on 137 carries. Despite not playing until Week 6, Edwards finished fifth in the NFL in rushing yards by a rookie running back (second among undrafted players behind Denver’s Phillip Lindsay).
“Gus has played really well," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "Gus is playing at a really high level. He has a very big role on our team. He takes it seriously, and he wants to produce, too. He wants to make these big runs ... and he wants to do all of those things. He’s stepped up to the plate very well every time he’s been out there.”
The Ravens signed the veteran Ingram in March and he ran for 1,018 yards with 10 touchdowns. Edwards is third on the team with 518 yards and two touchdowns on 112 carries.
This means Edwards is fresh for the postseason run.
"I feel great. I feel awesome," he said. "That’s a credit to the training room. I think I made it a great part of my season this year to spend a lot of time in there in the tubs and everything, and that’s helped me a lot.”
Rookie Justice Hill (186 yards on 46 carries) could also get some extra work against Pittsburgh. Baltimore (13-2) has already clinched the top seed in the AFC North and has nothing at stake in this game.
"We’re excited. It’s a great opportunity that we have, and I know he’s preparing well, Justice, and I know I’m going to prepare well. We’ll be ready," Edwards said. “Mark [Ingram II] is still going to be just as vocal out there. He’s going to be on the sideline with us, and he’s going to be at practice. I know he’s a team guy, so he’s going to make sure that he’s still heard there.”