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Lorenzo Taliaferro states case for being Ravens' top running back

Taliaferro ran for 91 yards and a touchdown.

Jason Miller

With Bernard Pierce ruled inactive, it was evident that rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro would get a chance to show what he's capable of.

He did that and then some. Granted, he was in a split-carries role on offense, Taliaferro was able to run for 91 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries in Baltimore's 23-21 win over the Cleveland Browns.

Taliaferro showed a great burst off the one cut and a knack for finding the right holes to run through. He got things started early on with a 31-yard run right up the middle. Taliaferro's presence early seemed to surprise the Browns. As the game got into the second half, the Browns loaded the box more to stop him.

But Taliaferro showed signs of being that short-yardage, goal-line back he was advertised as during the draft, which should be something the Ravens at least get him involved in more during the season. At times, he almost looked like a carbon copy of Jamal Lewis. Taliaferro ran for 91 yards and a touchdown.

But with this game — albeit against a team that hasn't stopped any team's rushing attack through three games — Taliaferro asserted himself as a quality option as being the Ravens' top running back. The one area keeping Taliaferro for assuming the role at this time is his role in the passing game. He's not a threat as a receiver and could still work on pass blocking assignments. If you noticed, Justin Forsett came into the game on most of Baltimore's passing downs.

Even so, in games where the running game is working, Taliaferro is certainly an option to trot out there as the lead back. There isn't a superstar or bell cow back there. But the trio of Taliaferro, Forsett and Pierce should be formidable each week this season.