Justin Forsett redeeming himself at the right time for Ravens


Oct 1, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett (29) runs the ball past Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Antwon Blake (41) during the first half at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Forsett was a revelation in 2014 as well as a fan favorite.  How could you not root for the guy who was one of the bigger underdogs in NFL history as an undersized journeyman turned Pro Bowler?  It’s one of those stories that everyone loves to hear.

Things got even better when the Ravens dished out some cash and a multi-year contract to retain the services of Forsett for the next 3 seasons.  With a carryover offensive scheme and the arrival of new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, things were looking up.

After all, Trestman was the mastermind behind the Bears offense that saw Matt Forte set a record for receptions by a running back last season.  Fantasy football owners were licking their chops and felt like they were getting a steal (especially PPR leaguer’s) in the 3rd and 4th rounds of their respective drafts.

Things couldn’t have started out much worse under the weight of those expectations, however.  In the Ravens’ first 3 games, Forsett was stuck behind an ineffective offensive line and accumulated a paltry 124 yards on 39 carries for an equally bad 3.2 yard per carry average.

This, from a guy who averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2014 and 5.0 over the course of his entire career.  He was getting out gained by sophomore back Lorenzo Taliaferro, and we began to rightfully question whether or not the Ravens should make a switch.

It looks like Forsett got the message loud and clear.  Despite the Ravens continued struggles in run blocking, Forsett made things happen Thursday night, taking 27 carries for 150 yards (5.6 yards).  He was essentially the Ravens’ entire offense with Joe Flacco struggling.

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Making things more impressive is the fact that the Steelers’ defense has been stout against the run so far this season.  They were a top ten unit before Forsett came to town and sliced them up.  Plus, the only Ravens’ offensive lineman to receive a positive grade in run blocking from Pro Football Focus was Marshal Yanda.

Forsett figures to continue to concede some carries going forward (8 this week to Buck Allen and Taliaferro), but it appears that the Ravens haven’t lost hope in him yet.  While this kind of massive workload will be the exception to the rule, it appears that the Ravens understand that they must run the ball to win.

That’s good news for Forsett, his fantasy owners, and the Ravens’ chances at pulling themselves out of a deep 1-3 hole going forward.

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