This series shines a light on how various teams really do use their backs and what we can surmise about them going forwards. Today we focus on the blood’n’guts, hard-nosed AFC North.
Before we start it’s worth noting that this article deals only with running backs. Lamar Jackson’s record-breaking rushing production is excluded. You can still see its shadow here (many of his rushes occurred on plays where otherwise running backs would be utilized more), but that’s all.
First, here’s a look at distribution of usage by type of play and down:
The first thing you’ll see is how little the Ravens threw the ball to their backs. They had the lowest number of running back targets in the regular season.
This is one of those places that Jackson and the unique Ravens offense shows up - he runs the ball on many plays where other teams would check down to a back.
You can see in the next chart the impact that has. All Ravens backs have a high rush-to-target ratio: