Every Tuesday, blogger Matt Vensel breaks down a critical play, sometimes with the help of
In the third round of April’s
But not only that, they thought Temple's Bernard Pierce had the talent and the one-cut-and-go running style to thrive in their zone-blocking scheme. So they dealt a fifth-round pick to move up eight spots and draft him.
The Ravens have brought Pierce along slowly so far this season -- perhaps because of the time he missed with a hamstring injury during training camp -- but he got a career-high six carries in Thursday's 23-16 win over the Cleveland Browns. He averaged eight yards per carry en route to a career-high 48 yards. The 220-pound rookie nearly busted through the Browns for a touchdown on a couple of plays, including one 21-yard run in the third quarter.
"I saw the holes and hit the holes a little better," the rookie back said after Thursday's game. "It wasn't a pretty game, but the offensive line came through in the clutch and blocked their butts off. Everybody calmed down. After that, it started clicking."
On his memorable 21-yard gain, the Ravens lined up their "21" personnel with two receivers split wide and a tight end on each end of the line. Pierce was alone in the backfield behind quarterback Joe Flacco, who would take the snap from under center.
After the snap, the offensive line fired off to the left, with the right side of the line -- center
The play took advantage of the aggression of the Browns, who had some success disrupting plays by shooting into the gaps between the offensive linemen. This time they got caught when Pierce cut back and the Baltimore offensive line imploded on them.
Pierce ran for the longest gain of his young career, finishing off the run inside Cleveland territory by dropping his shoulder into Browns safety