The Baltimore Ravens kept their 2013 season and chances of defending the Lombardi trophy alive on Sunday with an overtime victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. It didn’t come easy and without drama, as the Ravens nearly blew the game on a bonehead defensive play during a hail mary throw as regulation ended. But in the end, Baltimore walked away with its fourth victory of the season, and we all know that’s what really matters.
So while there were plenty of things that went right for the Ravens on Sunday, some of the same problems that have plagued the team remained prevalent. The biggest of those problems was the lack of a reliable ground game. Ray Rice‘s struggles this season have been well documented, but the RB has maintained for a couple weeks now that he’s fully healthy. If he was fully healthy on Sunday, it’s not a good sign for the Ravens.
Rice struggled mightily once again in 2013, only amassing 30 yards on 18 carries. He was able to catch six passes for another 26 yards, but the Ravens need much more than 56 yards from scrimmage from their Pro Bowl running back if they’re going to have any chance at making the playoffs this season.
I still don’t think Rice is fully healthy, but regardless of what’s going on with him, it’s time to give more carries to Bernard Pierce. The second-year RB has also been battling a hamstring injury in 2013, but he maintains that he’s fully healthy now as well. If that’s the case, it’s time for John Harbaugh to make the call to give more carries to Pierce. He had eight rushing attempts on Sunday compared to Rice’s 18. I believe they should be closer to 50/50 moving forward.
Baltimore has to get more production from its backfield. It doesn’t matter what Rice has done in the past, because he’s not producing any more. If Pierce is healthy, he should get more carries moving forward.