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Bernard Pierce, running back
GS: 0| GP: 16 | Snaps: 238
Season in review: Pierce impressed in his rookie season as the primary backup to Pro Bowler Ray Rice. Pierce, who always seemed to be dealing with some kind of injury but never missed a game, saw his snaps increase in the second half of the season. He rushed for 123 yards in a key Week 16 win over the New York Giants and was productive in playoff wins over the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots.
Signature moment: With the Ravens leading the Colts by eight points in the fourth quarter of the AFC wild-card round, Pierce took a handoff around right end 43 yards to the Indianapolis 18-yard line. The Ravens scored a touchdown on the next play to put the game away.
Stat that stands out: 497 -- yards after contact last season for Pierce according to Pro Football Focus.
Pro Football Focus grade: +9.6 overall | +11.2 as a runner | -0.9 as a receiver | -1.0 as a blocker.
Outlook for 2013 and beyond: Make no mistake, despite a strong rookie season by Pierce, Rice is still the starter in Baltimore. But Pierce, a 2012 third-round pick, should see his snaps increase next season. He has said that he dropped weight a year ago to prepare for pre-draft workouts and testing. If he bulks up, he might become more difficult to bring down -- and more durable -- but hopefully he can keep his surprising quickness.
January 20, 2013