Schmuck: Mark Ingram II runs right through tacklers but sidesteps credit for Ravens’ record-breaking running game

"Congratulations to the Ravens, to the players, to the coaches, to the fans," said Harbaugh. "The Ravens AFC North champs."

With record-setting phenom Lamar Jackson putting on a show for the ages, it’s easy to look past the other performances that set the stage for him.

It’s even easier when his teammates are enjoying the play so much that they even overlook themselves.


At least, that’s the way it seems with veteran running back Mark Ingram II, who is having a terrific all-around season and takes every opportunity to marvel at the Ravens’ spectacular young quarterback while deflecting credit for the role he has played in making the team’s offense — and Jackson — so successful.

“I didn’t do anything,'' he said, soon after the Ravens set a franchise single-season record for rushing yards in Thursday night’s one-sided victory over the New York Jets. "LJ did this himself. He was going to do this with or without me. Everybody says I’m a hype man, but it’s really just genuine love … genuine support for someone who’s doing great things. Someone who’s my brother, someone who I care about. We all care about each other in this locker room.”

There certainly is something special going on in that locker room and on the field. The Ravens have won 10 regular-season games in a row for the first time in their history. They are on the verge of earning the No. 1 playoff seed.

Jackson has been a revelation and the unquestionable catalyst for the most exciting offensive unit in the history of the franchise in Baltimore. But it is the multi-threat nature of the Ravens offense that has allowed him to exploit his immense talent to the point where most everyone believes he will be this year’s NFL Most Valuable Player.

Ingram is content to remain in the background, though he probably doesn’t have much choice with Lamarmania at full throttle.

“It’s special,'' he said. “It’s just a blessing to be a part of it. The good Lord put me in a great situation, where I’m here with the Baltimore Ravens. I’m here with great teammates, great organization. I thank the good Lord for putting me here. It’s a special thing to be here and witness LJ accomplish special things.

“You know, it’s a franchise record for TD passes, league record for QB rushing yards. I’m just happy for LJ. He’s deserves it. He’s a hard worker. That’s what we’re here for, to make his job easy and let him do what he does.”

Jackson threw five touchdown passes Thursday. Ingram caught one of them and rushed for another touchdown on a night when he ran for 76 yards and averaged nearly 6 yards per carry. He is just 37 yards from the third 1,000-yard season of his career.

He took that opportunity to apprise the national television audience of all of Jackson’s new nicknames — "Freaky L. AKA, Action Jackson. AKA, Era 8 Apparel. My dog.”

Ingram obviously knows a great quarterback when he sees one. He played every other season of his career alongside future Hall of Famer Drew Brees in New Orleans. So, maybe he’s just used to being the guy behind the guy, but no one should discount his importance to this Ravens offense.

He is the feature back on a team that has set the rushing record with two games still to play for a franchise that has had some pretty strong rushing attacks over the years. He and Jackson have already combined for more than 2,000 rushing yards.

Ingram isn’t hiding from that. He’s just casting it in the team-first framework that has propelled the Ravens to what would be their winningest regular season ever if they close out the schedule with victories over the Browns and Steelers.

“As an RB, you just want to take advantage when your number’s called," he said. "Me, Gus [Edwards], Justice [Hill] … it’s just a cumulative effort. The O-line, the tight ends, the receivers, you know, Lamar getting the right snaps and proper handoffs. It’s just all 11 people.


"The coaches putting people in the right positions to have success. It’s a cumulative effort. You can’t have those kinds of rushing yards without dominant performances from the O-line, from your tight ends, from your receivers, from your fullback and a good scheme from your coaches, so I think everyone deserves credit for that.”

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