Successful OWRT install, but no eth connection

I'll start off by saying I am nearly helpless when it comes to networking. I am attempting to follow this instruction set to install openwrt on a set of ubiquiti rocket m2's. confirmed that these are both XM boards

I can successfully install the openwrt-22.03.2-ath79-tiny-ubnt_rocket-m-squashfs-factory.bin file and get back to stock firmware on command. I have a serial connection to the board. When running and of the stock firmwares 5.6.x all the way up to 6.3.11 everything works as expected. I have access to the webUI and serial. I can enter TFTP mode with no problem and flash over the openwrt firmware everything works as expected, I can watch everything via the serial terminal. when the install/reboot finishes I have full access to the M2 via the openwrt software using the serial connection.

The problem Im running into is the M2 no longer recognizes the ethernet connection it is plugged into. Pinging from the PC or the M2 both get no response. the PC is set to a static IP of mask of to avoid interfering with (where the M2 should be) and (where it falls back to in TFTP mode).

We've looked at various hardware configurations, plugging straight from the PC to the POE box, using a switch in between, different combinations of ports on said switch, even tried using a completely separate computer. None of this makes a difference. Both M2 boards act the same. Looking at what configuration info i know how to look at on the M2 shows the address that I expect. But I cannot access it.

Im sure Im doing something simple wrong, but neither myself nor anyone I've asked for help can figure out what. Would really appreciate some guidance on what to dig into next.

Where did the openwrt file come from? Was it the downloads site or somewhere else?

It was the OpenWRT site. , I also grabbed the 22.03.5 just in case it was something weird with the .2 file they recommended

A few screenshots of what Im seeing, this is the serial terminal on boot

Static IP on PC

and what im seeing on router