It was an uncharacteristically quiet game from Ravens Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers' top-ranked defense
Everywhere Rice tried to run, inside or outside, he was met by a proverbial brick wall of defenders as he rushed for only 40 yards on 20 carries. He found his most success catching the football out of the backfield on five receptions for 53 yards.
He gained only 13 yards on 10 carries in the first half, his least in a first half since an Oct. 24, 2011 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars where he was limited to 9 yards on four carries.
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The task doesn't get much easier this week against the San Diego Chargers, who have the eighth-ranked defense overall and the third-ranked run defense. They've given up just 87.9 yards on the ground per contest.
"We’ve got to reinvent ourselves a week later, but obviously Pittsburgh’s front, it’s always been tough-sledding against them," said Rice, who has rushed for 697 yards and seven touchdowns with 40 receptions for 337 yards and is on pace to finish the season with 1,115 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns and 64 receptions for 539 yards. "I can’t remember the few games that I’ve had really breakout ones besides the one last year, and then I had a run called back. You can’t just run at the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"And with this week, it’s the same kind of deal. Those are big, heavy guys up front. You’ve got to get them moving, and we’ve got to try to execute in the run game. But people look at the run game and that’s not from a lack of blocking or a lack of execution; it’s more a numbers game up there. So, you get those big guys moving, and hopefully you get a crease.”