Patriots

Damien Harris 'overcome with emotion' after Patriots' win vs. Ravens

Patriots

Damien Harris couldn't hide his excitement after the New England Patriots beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night.

The second-year running back played a huge role in the 23-17 victory by tallying a career-high 121 yards on 22 carries (5.5 yards per attempt). Seven of those carries resulted in first downs for the Patriots.

 

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It was the best performance of Harris' young career and it came at a perfect time for the Patriots, who are back in the AFC playoff picture following consecutive wins. For these reasons and others, Harris was full of energy in his postgame video press conference.

"I'm incredibly thankful to have that offensive line to run behind. I'm incredibly thankful to be a New England Patriot," Harris said.

"I'm kind of overcome with emotion right now, so I'm sorry if I'm a little too excited. I'm on cloud nine right now. That was a tough game in that kind of weather. Ever since I've been here, I've been hearing all these stories about New England weather around November, so I guess that was my first taste of it, and I loved every second of it. I'm super happy right now."

Harris barely played as a rookie. He got four carries in an October win over the New York Jets and didn't see another rushing attempt for the remainder of the 2019 campaign.

 
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Sony Michel's injury earlier this year opened the door for Harris to have a larger role in the offense, and the former University of Alabama star is making the most of his opportunity and likely won't give up the starting job anytime soon. 

Harris has tallied 471 rushing yards (5.5 per carry) with one touchdown in six games this season. He has three 100-yard games -- no Patriots player ran for 100-plus yards in a game all of last season, and only two running backs (Dalvin Cook and Ronald Jones) have more 100-yard games than Harris in 2020.  

There's a lot to like about Harris' skill set. He runs with great power, he has good vision, his first step is decisive and he's able to break tackles. His speed isn't amazing, but it's good enough to make big plays when the hole is there.

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Harris has rushed for 292 yards on 52 carries over the last three weeks, and the Patriots won twice in that span. It's no secret the team's offense is at its best when the running game is firing on all cylinders. New England has a top-tier offensive line and tremendous depth at running back. Starting quarterback Cam Newton also punishes defenses on the ground and ranks second among all players in rushing touchdowns with nine.

Sunday's game was the first time Harris has received 20-plus carries in one game. He should be matching or exceeding that total in each of the seven remaining regular season matchups for the Patriots offense to give this team a real chance of making the playoffs.