Can Ravens overcome loss of running back Keaton Mitchell?

OWINGS MILLS — Rookie Keaton Mitchell emerged as the Ravens’ most explosive running back this season.

However, the team will need to adjust its ground attack because Mitchell is out for the season with a knee injury.

The Ravens are ready to forge ahead with Gus Edwards, Justice Hill, and veteran Melvin Gordon III, who has spent most of the year on the practice squad. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is also a big piece of that rushing attack, and coach John Harbaugh is confident the team can still be dominant.

“We didn’t want to run away from that run game, because we had a lot of reps under our belt and a lot of institutional knowledge with that,” Harbaugh said. “Our players understood it – a lot of the plays we’d been running, and they fit our guys really well. That’s one thing that was an important part of it.” 

The Ravens have the top rushing offense in the NFL with 163.8 yards per game, more than 20 yards ahead of the second-place Lions (140.9)

Edwards is having a solid year with 663 yards rushing and a career-high 11 touchdowns. Hill has also been a spark with 313 yards rushing and three touchdowns. Jackson leads all quarterbacks with 741 yards rushing with another five scores.

Gordon has appeared in three games and has carried the ball 13 times for 53 yards.

Harbaugh is confident Gordon will take advantage of this opportunity.

“Melvin Gordon is a high-pedigree football player in this league,” Harbaugh said. “It’s almost kind of shocking that we’re going to have the opportunity to put him into the mix right now, and he’s been wanting to be into the mix. Like you said, he was up for three games. He’s been practicing so hard and working so hard. Like he would] say, ‘Hey. when the opportunity comes, I’ll be ready.’ He had a smile and would say that to me once a week, and you [knew] it was true because he practices that way.

“I’m sure he was champing at the bit and wanting to get out there and contribute, so his opportunity comes, and he’s been there before. He’s a high-pedigree, great player. [He’s] talented.”

Last week against Jacksonville, the Ravens had 251 yards on the ground and became the seventh team in NFL history with 30 consecutive games with at least 100 yards rushing.

The goal is to keep that running game revved up against the San Francisco 49ers on Christmas night.

As for Mitchell, he and the team will have to look forward to making an impact in 2024.

“There wasn’t cartilage-type damage, so that helps quite a bit,” Harbaugh said about the injury. “It’ll be a little cleaner. Keaton will go to work. I’m sure he’ll be here every single day with the team and doing his part to get back.” 

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