Lorenzo Taliaferro stock rising after win over Miami Dolphins


Dec 7, 2014; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Baltimore Ravens running back Lorenzo Taliaferro (34) runs against the Miami Dolphins during the first half at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

On his first carries since the Ravens’ bye week, Lorenzo Taliaferro ran hard and looked like a guy who deserves the ball a whole heck of a lot more than what he has gotten of late. Taliaferro ran the ball seven times for a hard-earned 35 yards and caught one pass for 20 yards.

Taliaferro has a contact-seeking running style that wears on a defense. He is currently averaging 2.43 yards after contact according to Pro Football Focus. Pair that with 18 broken tackles on just 76 total touches, and Taliaferro’s talent is obvious.

Stats don’t tell the full story of how impactful Taliaferro was in Sunday’s big win. With the Ravens’ ground game struggling mightily early, Taliaferro checked in and produced. It was Taliaferro who produced the Ravens first first down on a 20-yard reception. Taliaferro then reeled off a nine-yard run. In all, he produced 32 yards on the Ravens’ first drive of the second quarter.

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Then, on the Ravens’ first scoring drive, Taliaferro rumbled for a 13-yard gain in which he advanced to the Ravens’ 37-yard line.

Taliaferro would run the ball three more times in the game, but his impact was already felt. Taliaferro helped jump-start the Ravens’ offense when they needed it most, and his physical running helped wear down the Miami defense.

That the Ravens were able to create some big runs late in the game is no coincidence. They played a tough, physical game of football throughout the game, and never more so than when Taliaferro carried the ball. His physical running helped open up the Dolphins’ defense down the stretch, which resulted in three runs over 20 yards in the Ravens’ final two drives.

His physical running style makes Taliaferro the ideal complement to Justin Forsett, who continued to have a remarkable season in his own right.

Taliaferro still looks a little lumbering, and his vision could use work. Finally, his pass blocking is nowhere near good enough for Taliaferro to play a consistent role on passing downs. But that’s fine, as Forsett excels in all the areas Taliaferro struggles. That duo has potential to be a big threat in the playoffs.

Purely in terms of running ability, though, Taliaferro deserves a bigger role in the offense. Look for the big rookie to overtake Bernard Pierce as the primary backup as the season comes to an end.

Next: Baltimore Ravens vs Miami Dolphins: What We Learned