On the first play of last year’s season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ray Rice raced 36 yards en route to a 107-yard, one-touchdown effort. And if not for a holding penalty on wide receiver Torrey Smith, the Ravens running back would have opened the second meeting between the AFC North rivals with a 76-yard sprint to the end zone.
Getting Rice into a similar groove Sunday night at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh would seem to be a priority for the Ravens. But offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said he can’t rely on past history to predict the future.
“No. 1, that seems like 100 years ago,” he said Thursday. “The old saying [is], ‘There’s nothing older than yesterday’s success.’ This team is this team. They’ve tweaked their defense. They’ve got some different faces in there. The scheme is the same, but the personnel is different. I think every year is different. Every game kind of takes on a life of its own. We have a confident group. No matter who we were playing this week, our bottom line was to get better and then play as well as we can play. Past success is a plus for us, but we’re not relying on anything we’ve done in the past to win this game for us. Good memories, but memories don’t get you real far in this business.”
Running against the Steelers is not an easy task. Their defense ranks sixth in the NFL with just 94.6 yards allowed per game this season. Seven of nine opponents have failed to crack the 100-yard barrier on the ground against Pittsburgh.
Rice ranks just 13th in rushing with 657 yards and seven touchdowns, and he rushed the ball 13 times for 35 yards and one score in a quiet outing in Sunday’s 55-20 rout of the Oakland Raiders.
But Jamaal Charles accumulated 100 yards and one touchdown on 23 carries in the Kansas City Chiefs’ 16-13 overtime loss to the Steelers Monday night – which might give Rice some optimism this weekend.
“They came in with a great plan. The Kansas City Chiefs really did come in with a great plan,” he said. “… We have to take what they are going to give us, but I think running the ball is something that we have to do well against them. I’ve always said it: You don’t pick up and say, ‘We are going to run the ball at the Pittsburgh Steelers.’ They take a lot of pride in that. We’ll be smart when we run it, but we will try to execute at a high level and get some great runs. I’m sure we will be passing the ball as well. We have some burners on the outside. It’s pretty amazing to be amongst this talent this year. When you win the way we won last week, people probably expected 300 yards rushing out of me, but we did it on the opposite way. It’s great to see our team coming together.”Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun