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Kenneth Dixon emerging as the Ravens X-Factor

The former fourth-round pick is finally proving his worth at a crucial time.

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Since being drafted in 2016, Kenneth Dixon has never truly lived up to his potential. His talent and ability have never been called into question, but multiple injuries and suspensions over the past few years have kept him shelved.

This season felt like Dixon’s last chance to make an impact in Baltimore. When he was placed on injured reserve in September with a knee injury, many speculated that Dixon’s time with the Ravens had run its course. However, that outlook has drastically changed.

Since returning from injury in Week 13 against the Falcons, Dixon has hit the ground running, literally, and made a huge impact on the Ravens offense. Lamar Jackson and Gus Edwards have led the rushing attack, but Dixon has shined in a complementary role and played a key part in Baltimore’s second-half success this season.

Over the past five weeks, Dixon has made the most of his 47 attempts on the ground, rushing for 289 yards and a touchdown. While he’s known for being a hard-nosed, tough runner, Dixon has flashed elusiveness and quickness in recent games.

During the stretch run, his 6.14 yards per carry average is higher than both Edwards’ and Jackson’s. He’s broken off a run of at least 13 yards or more in each of the past five games, and his big-play ability was on full display in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns.

Dixon’s 37-yard run was the longest of his career and just a small sample of a career-best performance from the former Louisiana Tech phenom. Dixon totaled 117 yards on the ground and recorded an eye-opening 9.8 YPC. He ran like a man possessed all afternoon.

In addition to the highlight rush above, Dixon also broke off several other chunk plays, including rushes of 13, 15, and 20 yards. In what was the biggest game of the season, Dixon shined and led a dominant rushing attack.

Dixon’s previous career-high in rushing was 59 yards. Not only did he double that on Sunday, he did so on just 12 carries. While Gus Edwards is more of a north-to-south runner, Dixon adds a more east-to-west, elusive style to the rushing attack.

He has complemented Edwards and Jackson tremendously. When Dixon is ripping off big runs like we saw against the Browns, the Ravens rushing attack is all but unstoppable. Very rarely do teams possess three dynamic rushing threats.

After missing the entire 2017 season and most of the first half of the year, nobody could have foreseen Dixon entering the lineup and being as productive as he has been. However, his performance over the home stretch of the season has been a surprising development and aided the Ravens historic rushing success.

At just 24 years old, it’s fair to assume Dixon has yet to reach his full potential. If he can stay healthy and on the field, Dixon certainly has a chance to play a significant role in the Ravens backfield of the present and future.

For now, Baltimore can only hope he has another big performance in store for the Chargers this Sunday.