With every Ravens fan and his Bronco analyzing how the big names will affect the Baltimore Ravens game against the Denver Broncos on Saturday, here’s my insight into two Ravens who, whilst not marquee names within the Ravens roster, will need big games this weekend to give Baltimore the boost they need on the road.
Bernard Pierce and Bernard Pollard are two names that every Ravens fan should have become familiar with over the season; their styles of play have also seen each player create a niche for themselves on their own side of the ball that has complemented the pieces around them quite well. The brothers B will need to have their respective A-games with them come Saturday against the Broncos as I believe the Ravens need them more than many fans know. Let us start with the most senior of the two on my favorite side of the ball, Mr. Pollard.
Coming out of Purdue, Pollard had a reputation for the big hit and this has continued to be the case throughout his NFL career where he has logged 13 forced fumbles to go alongside his 585 tackles during a seven year career. Pollard is your classic enforcer at safety who makes recievers look both ways before crossing the middle and this perfectly compliments Ed Reed, who is better known for his ball-hawking ability and plays over the top of the defense. Pollard didn’t suit up last time these two teams met and whilst James Ihedigbo filled in as best he could on that occasion, he is no direct replacement for Pollard. So what I’m looking for out of #31 this week is to make an early impact on the game with some bone crunching on Eric Decker, Demaryius Thomas and whichever running back decides to come his way. If he makes his presence felt early you never know what kind of psychological effect it can have on the receivers, and when you’re up against all-pro Peyton Manning you need every little advantage you can get.
Making a quick hop to the offensive side of the ball we have rookie speedster Bernard Pierce, whose role within the offense has grown considerably since having a breakout performance against the New York Giants in week sixteen with 123 yards rushing. In his last three games, Pierce has accounted for 315 yards of off 49 carries, which is an astonishing 6.4 yards per carry. It was pretty clear to me that both Jim Caldwell and John Harbaugh are looking to get Pierce more involved in the run game, and this was prevalent last Saturday as Ray Rice had a shaky game with his ball security and saw the rookie rip of 103 yards off of 13 carries. Whilst many Ravens fans don’t agree with taking carries away from Rice, Pierce has shown he can trusted with the ball and spell Rice, leaving him fresher for when it comes down to business in the fourth quarter.
If these two guys step up on Saturday then they have the potential to be big momentum changers for the Ravens, be it with Pollards big hits or Pierces long runs they each need to find a way to make a couple of plays on Saturday to enable the Ravens to take a seemingly unlikely victory on the road.
If you have an opinion on how you think these two can be game changers come Saturday, feel free to comment or tweet me @rosswatson20