FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Damien Harris has left zero doubt; he is the highest canine within the Patriots backfield. The 2019 third-round decide loved a profession night time throughout New England’s upset win over the Baltimore Ravens, totaling 121 yards on the bottom on a 5.5 yards per carry clip. From the soar, the Patriots leaned on Harris to determine themselves offensively and create a basis of physicality that helped cause them to the win.
The second-year again noticed the primary 5 touches of the night time, turning them into 21 yards, and that success on the bottom continued all through the night because the Patriots imposed their will whereas dashing for a complete of 174 yards.
“We knew we had been going through a tricky, bodily group that form of needed to bully us and push us round, however we needed to face up for ourselves and go on the market and present how robust and bodily we’re,” stated Harris, who additionally admitted he was on “cloud 9” after the profession night time. “That was form of the mentality of the entire group tonight and we went on the market and competed arduous for 60 minutes and we had been capable of come out with an excellent win in opposition to an excellent group.”
This was a sneaky pivotal recreation for Harris, who was questionable heading into Sunday with chest and ankle injures. With Sony Michel eligible to return off injured reserve, it was not solely vital for Harris to be obtainable for the Patriots in opposition to the Ravens, however a robust outing had the potential for cementing him because the starter even in Michel’s return.
“It was vital for me to indicate that I’m going to do no matter it takes to return out right here and assist this group achieve success,” Harris stated of enjoying by means of damage. “Taking part in on this recreation was tremendous vital as a result of it was such a great group that we had been going to be enjoying and we knew that if we may come out right here and play the best way we knew we had been able to enjoying that we might have an opportunity. I needed to return out right here and be part of it and I needed to do my half and assist this group win.”
As a result of each of those backs have but to be wholesome on the identical time this season, it was going to be reasonably attention-grabbing to see how the carries could be divvied up as soon as Michel, the Week 1 starter, was activated off injured reserve. Whereas that workload will nonetheless be worthwhile to concentrate to, it’s now crystal clear from Sunday’s efficiency that Harris is the highest again out of this grouping.
By means of six video games this season, Harris has 471 yards and is averaging slightly over 5.5 yards per carry. He turned in his third 100-yard dashing efficiency of the season in Week 10, placing him behind solely Derrick Henry (5), Dalvin Cook dinner (4), and Ronald Jones (4) in your entire NFL. Whereas it could be robust to do a stat-for-stat comparability between Harris and Michel, the easy eye take a look at exhibits Harris having far more burst and big-play potential than Michel has proven since being drafted within the first spherical of the 2018 NFL Draft out of Georgia.
Even because the backfield reaches its full power, the pecking order ought to proceed to start with Harris, who has taken maintain of this beginning spot and has, fairly actually, run away with it.