Rookie Bernard Pierce has all the characteristics of a very good every-down back in the NFL. I try not to overreact to one game, especially when that game is contested mainly with one team's second or third-stringers on the field. However, I feel comfortable in looking at Bernard Pierce's entire body of work during his rookie season and conclude that the Ravens did quite well getting the running back out of Temple in the third round. It wasn't quite the heist the Washington Redskins pulled off when they got Alfred Morris in the sixth round, but it was commendable nonetheless. Pierce finished a solid regular season yesterday by rushing a career-high 22 times for 89 yards. By game's end, he was walking with a limp and his white uniform had turned green in several places, yet he kept running hard, kept hitting holes and kept finishing off runs. With three-time Pro Bowl selection Ray Rice entrenched as the every-down back, the Ravens don't need Pierce to be a 20-to-25-carry-a-game guy. But some day they might and he looks plenty capable of handling it. I read all the scouting reports after the Ravens drafted Pierce and he's more explosive, more powerful and more durable than the guy I read about. It's easy to suggest that the Ravens utilize him even more, but you can say that about a handful of their offensive players and the reality is it's hard to get and keep everybody involved. But after watching Pierce run through, around and by defenders the past two weeks, I'm sure the Ravens will keep making him a significant part of the game plan going forward.
Baltimore Sun photo by Gene Sweeney Jr.