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Bernard Pierce played through pain to lead Ravens in rushing yards

Ravens rookie running back Bernard Pierce didn't run like a man dealing with a sore knee Sunday night at Gillette Stadium.

Despite a bone bruise in his right knee that hampered him a week ago against the Denver Broncos, Pierce was able to run hard and elude defenders during a 28-13 AFC championship game victory over the New England Patriots.

Although listed as questionable on the injury report heading into Sunday, Pierce had insisted all along that he would play. And he played well even though dealing with some pain, averaging 5.8 yards per carry.

"I think I played well," said Pierce, adding that he didn't aggravate the injury. "I had a couple nice runs, I had a couple nice blocks. I wanted to make sure I helped my team in any possible way I could.

"I was fine. I pushed through it, that's all that matters. And we're in the Super Bowl."

Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice rushed for 48 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

And Rice was impressed with Pierce's contribution as the Ravens grinded out 121 yards on 33 carries.

"He's the toughest man on earth," Rice said. "That's my man. We knew it would be tough sledding. They always do a great job against the run, but we just had to execute. Having a dual threat really helps out."

awilson@baltsun.com

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