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Baltimore will have to key in on Denver RB Phillip Lindsay

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The Ravens will have to key in on an unexpected cog in the Broncos offensive machine

NFL: Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore’s defense will have their hands full when prepping for Denver Broncos rookie running back Phillip Lindsay. He became the first undrafted rookie to have 100+ yards from scrimmage in each of his first two games as a pro.

Lindsay rushed for 71 yards on 15 carries and caught two passes for 31 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. In Week 2, Lindsay continued his hot start with 107 yards on 14 carries. Due to his play, Ravens head coach John Harbaugh has heaped praise onto the 24-year old rookie.

“Amazing, because we looked at him – we liked him,” Harbaugh said of Lindsay. “He’s a free agent guy, we had some pretty good free agent backs in here, too. It’s incredible, these free agent running backs around the league. He’s fast – that’s what stands out about him.”

Baltimore had three undrafted running backs of their own in camp with DeLance Turner, Gus Edwards and Mark Thompson. All three of them were initially cut from the 53-man roster, but Turner and Edwards were signed to the practice squad. When Kenneth Dixon hit injured reserve, Turner was made part of Baltimore’s active roster.

Denver has more than one rookie running back. They also have Royce Freeman, who was drafted in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. Freeman currently has 23 carries for 99 yards and one touchdown on the season. Stopping both running backs will be a key for Baltimore to be successful on Sunday — both in the passing game and on the ground.

“He’s quick, he’s kind of fearless. They put him in good situations, they get the ball to both rookie backs – [Royce] Freeman from Oregon, too. They get the ball outside quick on the edge couple different ways. They run a lot of draws really well, some screens, they get him in space. The offensive line has done a good job, but this kid is running and he’s making plays with his speed and his fearlessness. He’s doing it as a kick returner, [too]. He’s back there as a kick returner as well – pretty impressive.”

Though Lindsay is diminutive in stature — standing in at 5’8, 190 lbs., he has had a large impact on the Broncos 2-0 start. Denver began the season with a 27-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Then they followed up with a late 20-19 win over their division rival Oakland Raiders.