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Ravens veteran RBs Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray and Le’Veon Bell believe they have more to offer: ‘I’m just writing the book’

"I'm very happy, and they've brought a lot," said Harbaugh on how happy he is with running backs Devonta Freeman, Latavius Murray and Le'Veon Bell.

The Ravens set the tone for Sunday’s 34-6 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers during their first drive of the game.

Baltimore’s run game pounded the ball down the field, chewing up clock before running back Latavius Murray gave them a 7-0 lead with a 14-yard touchdown run.

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“Just understanding how the NFL works, it’s important to start fast,” Ravens running back Devonta Freeman said. “We started fast, and it starts with the offensive linemen. Those guys do a tremendous job every single day, and it starts with them. So, when they’re clicking on all cylinders, we’re able to do our jobs. So, that’s what makes it a lot easier for us.”

With quarterback Lamar Jackson not as sharp throwing the ball and the Chargers’ last-ranked run defense nearly obsolete, the Ravens rushing attack took advantage and delivered a strong and timely performance.

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Six days removed from recording 86 rushing yards against the Indianapolis Colts, snapping their NFL-record streak at 43 games, the Ravens’ ground attack returned to their old ways as they tallied 187 yards. Meanwhile, Murray, Freeman, and Le’Veon Bell, all of whom were signed last month after a slew of injuries, each scored a touchdown.

“I do feel like we can attack people in different ways, for sure,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “That wasn’t any different last week or the week before. It wasn’t like we were questioning our ability to run the ball; it was more of an [if there was an] opportunity to do it. This game presented more of an opportunity to do it.”

If Bell, Murray, and Freeman were a part of the same backfield six years ago, you would hear chatter about the Ravens backfield being unfair with three All-Pro players. Now, they are aging veterans who are taking advantage of whatever opportunity they can get.

Freeman, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, said he doesn’t have to prove anything to anybody. He has battled hamstring and groin injuries since rushing for more than 1,000 yards for the Atlanta Falcons in 2017. After bouncing around the league and stops with the New York Giants, Buffalo Bills, and New Orleans Saints, Freeman still believes he has more to provide.

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“I’m just trying to work and get better and take my game to the next level,” Freeman said. “I’m still able to do what I do. I play football. That’s a dream come true, always, especially in the NFL. So, for me, I’m just excited to be out there. I’m just writing the book.”

Freeman turned back the clock during the first drive of the game. He powered his way down the field for a 16-yard gain that helped set up Murray’s touchdown. On the opening play of the fourth quarter, Freeman ran 9 yards for his first touchdown in a Ravens uniform.

Bell, who was elevated from the practice squad after being inactive against the Indianapolis Colts last week, also recorded his first touchdown as a Raven in the second quarter. Quarterback Lamar Jackson handed the ball off to the former Pittsburgh Steeler, who ran to the right before jumping into the end zone for a 2-yard score and a 14-0 lead.

Ravens running back Le'Veon Bell (17) celebrates with offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva (78) after running for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Chargers on Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium.
Ravens running back Le'Veon Bell (17) celebrates with offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva (78) after running for a touchdown in the second quarter against the Chargers on Sunday afternoon at M&T Bank Stadium. (Ulysses Muoz / Baltimore Sun)

It was Bell’s first touchdown since Dec. 12, 2020, when he was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, and he finished with 18 rushing yards on eight carries. Meanwhile, Murray had 44 rushing yards and 12 receiving yards before leaving the game in the third quarter with an ankle injury.

Even though the Ravens running backs are not their old selves, the veteran trio, as well as Jackson and Ty’Son Williams, who was inactive, have been able to weather the losses of J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Justice Hill, who are out with season-ending injuries.

Heading into Sunday, the Ravens were fourth in the league in rushing yards per game (155.2).

“For these guys to come in, all of them in a place where they felt like they had something to prove, and they were sort of castaway [from other teams], just a little bit,” Harbaugh said. “To see them do what they did today and what they’re going to do for the rest of the season is a pretty cool story. I’m waiting. I’m looking forward to seeing how it plays out.”

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