In his first three NFL appearances, Antonio Gibson made incremental improvements. Whether it was the major uptick in snaps he saw in his second time out compared to his debut or the increased comfort he displayed on his runs, the signs were there that he was getting it, even if he hadn't broken out all the way.
Then Sunday happened, and so did his all-the-way breakout.
While the Ravens had no trouble taking out Washington in Week 4, they did experience a lot of struggles when trying to stop Gibson in what was Gibson's most involved and most impressive pro performance to date. In the loss, the third-rounder went off for 128 total yards on 17 touches and a score.
Those numbers are obviously encouraging on their own, but perhaps more promising is how Gibson was used.
Because of his wide receiver background at Memphis and how often he was targeted in training camp, it wasn't outlandish to envision Gibson as one of the leading pass-catchers in Scott Turner's offense. Yet that piece of his game was mostly absent in Weeks 1-3; he caught just six balls for 16 yards.
Against Baltimore, however, Gibson really showed off his versatility, and Turner showed a real interest in taking advantage of that quality as well.
On the home side's second possession of the matchup, Gibson lined up as a slot receiver, was targeted on a short crosser and ended up gaining 17 yards thanks to his speed after the grab.
Then, on a third-and-11 in the second quarter, Dwayne Haskins hit Gibson on an immediate screen on the edge. No. 24 let some nice blocking develop in front of him and then exploded into the open field, eventually picking up 40 yards in a tough down-and-distance spot.
He would later cap off that possession with this touchdown rush, meaning he's found the end zone in three consecutive games:
Most of what occurred at FedEx Field for the Burgundy and Gold was negative. Haskins was up-and-down, with more downs than ups, and the defense didn't do much to disrupt Lamar Jackson and Co.
Gibson's play, though, is something that fans can legitimately get excited about. He's been touted as the ideal modern running back for today's league, which is a label he wore quite well Sunday.
Overall, the contest acted as his first splashy outing. Expect others to come, and come in bunches, too.