Ever since the
During that 34-17 loss, the Ravens were ineffective running the football and abandoned the run for the most part after falling behind by 28 points by the fourth quarter. The
In the following three games, though, including an
With a season-high 224 rushing yards on 45 carries in a win over the defending
"Throughout the course of the season, if you look at it as a whole, we’ve been pretty consistent with the run game, big-picture wise," Ravens coach
"They did a good job against us up front and we couldn't run the ball. So, you want to be able to run the ball. They would say that, most every team in the league would say that, and for us that's going to be a big part of our formula."
In particular, rookie running back
A third-round draft pick from Temple, Pierce has complemented
His style is different from Ray, but both guys are capable of making big plays," center
Rice rushed for 70 yards on 15 carries against the Colts, but uncharacteristicaly lost two fumbles. He rushed for 1,143 yards and nine touchdowns during the regular season.
"We're taking care of each other," Rice said. "That's the one thing that you're seeing out there. I spell myself; there are times where I just tell him to go. I have that trust in him now, where my career, you know I just signed a five-year deal. So, what am I going to do? Go out there and burn myself out in Year One? That's just not smart. I made a Pro Bowl, but that's not the goal. The goal here is to win a Super Bowl, so we're going to try to get our best guys out on the field, and Bernard is a key talent that we have.
"And there is only one ball to go around, but obviously you see that I never complain about my carries. There's one ball, and we all can share it. So, that weapon going forward is really going to be key for us. It's 1A and 1B; that's how we see it. Obviously, I told him, rookie year, a lot at stake, but when you're drafted that high the expectation is to perform, and he's been doing a great job."
Pierce rushed for 532 yards and one touchdown during the regular season as the replacement for
Pierce rushed for a career-high 123 yards against the Giants followed by 89 yards against the Bengals and the 103 yards on Sunday for a total of 315 yards and an average of 105 per contest
"It's a definite confidence booster, because I just want to be able to keep getting better," Pierce said. "And I've proven that to myself and everybody else. I'm just excited.
"As of right now we try to mix up series, mix up plays, and we just try to make sure each other is fresh for the second half, and it's been working out great so far."