The lead running back in Baltimore? That battle feels like it already has been won.
With Alex Collins inactive with a foot injury, Gus Edwards -- aka "Gus the Bus" -- continued his tear with a bruising style of running, totaling 118 yards rushing in Sunday's 34-17 win over the Oakland Raiders. This follows a 115-yard effort a week earlier against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Eclipsing 100 yards rushing in back-to-back games tightens Edwards' grip on the starting job over Collins and puts him in select company :
First Ravens rookie to do so since Jamal Lewis in 2000.
Sixth undrafted rookie to accomplish this in the NFL's common draft era, joining Clark Gaines (1976), Fred Lane (1997), Dominic Rhodes (2001), LeGarrette Blount (2010) and Brandon Oliver (2014).
First Ravens player to deliver this feat since Justin Forsett in November 2014.
This is quite a remarkable stretch for Edwards, who had 64 yards rushing over the first 10 weeks of the regular season.
"It’s my opportunity, and I’m going to make the most of it," Edwards said. "That’s going to continue to be my mindset."
Edwards, who spent most of his college career at Miami before transferring to Rutgers, was on Baltimore's practice squad for the first five weeks of the season. He then sat at the bottom of the depth chart behind Collins and Javorius Allen for the next four games.
It wasn't until Jackson started at quarterback that Edwards got his chance to thrive. With Jackson's speed to hit the edges, Edwards' ability to power his way in between the tackles serves as the perfect complement.
"I think that's Gus' thing," coach John Harbaugh said. "I think everybody, every back, has their own style. They're all physical in their own way. But Gus is 240 pounds. He's a downhill runner."
There will be some skepticism with Edwards. He put up his big numbers against the Bengals and Raiders, the two worst run defenses in the NFL.
But Edwards has provided the much-needed punch to a Baltimore ground attack that had struggled to get on track all season. Edwards' 5.8 yards per carry average is a huge upgrade over Collins (3.6) and Allen (2.7). Edwards has more 15-yard runs in two games (four) than Collins had in the first nine games (three).
"I was like, 'Man he's just running through people!' He was breaking tackles," Jackson said. "He just wanted to be fed."
Does Edwards have a new name in the locker room now?
"'Gus the Bus.' That's it right there," Jackson said. "It rhymes too! We love it. 'Gus the Bus,' baby."
The presumption was Edwards would share the backfield with Collins on Sunday. Collins missed Thursday's practice with a foot injury, but he had full participation Friday.
Edwards didn't know Collins would be inactive until he arrived at M&T Bank Stadium. It showed plenty of faith to give a majority of the carries to Edwards instead of Allen, a longtime backup, or Ty Montgomery, who was traded from Green Bay for a seventh-round pick, especially with the Ravens (6-5) fighting for their playoff lives.
"It was a must-win situation," Edwards said. "We’re practicing like we have to win. Everyone in the locker room knows where we're at right now. We're playing with a chip on our shoulder, and it's helping us."