The Baltimore Ravens running back Terrance West talks about the team's running game against the Oakland Raiders. (Kevin Richardson/Baltimore Sun video)
On Saturday, Ravens running back Terrance West learned he would start in Sunday's game against the Oakland Raiders.
The Northwestern High and Towson University product proved that the coaches made the right decision.
In his first start for the organization, West rushed for a career-high 113 yards, averaging 5.4 yards on 21 carries, and scored on a 3-yard run that gave the team a short-lived six-point lead late in the fourth quarter. In one game, West nearly matched the 119 yards on 33 attempts he had recorded through his first three games.
But the luster of his performance faded in light of the team's 28-27 loss to the Raiders.
"It was a great opportunity for me, but I wish that I could trade the stats in for a win," West said. "We came up short."
West's outing came on the heels of the team's surprising decision to deactivate Justin Forsett, who had started the first three games and posted 98 yards on 31 carries. Forsett has not looked like the player who led the 2014 squad with 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns and earned a 3-year, $9 million extension after that season.
Forsett, who watched Sunday's game in street clothes from the sideline, was not in the locker room after the game.
Coach John Harbaugh said the offense needed a spark.
"I think I need to make clear – that doesn't mean we think Justin Forsett was the problem with the running game, by any chance," he said. "But you've got to try to do something. You try to do all the things, and then sometimes you try to do something else, too. That's what we tried to do this week."
West took advantage of the opportunity. After gaining 26 yards on five carries in the first half, West collected 87 yards on 16 attempts in the second half. Two of his three longest runs came in the second half.
"I've been that type of back my whole career," he said. "I'm not a rotation back. I like to feel a defense out. I get stronger as the game goes on."
With rookie Kenneth Dixon getting closer to returning from a strained medial collateral ligament in his left knee, West's time as the primary tailback could depend on if he can consistently power the offense's rushing attack.