By Edward Lee
8:00 AM EST, December 27, 2012
The last time the Ravens visited Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, they needed to beat the Bengals to clinch the AFC North title. And the Ravens did so courtesy of 191 rushing yards from running back Ray Rice.
So with the Ravens poised to return to Cincinnati again this Sunday, Rice relived the fond memories of that performance.
“I definitely remember it,” said Rice, who earned his third Pro Bowl invitation in the last four seasons. “It was a great way to finish the year. I think that’s when we clinched the AFC North, that game. I’m sure that’s something that they remember. They are going to go in saying, ‘We got the Ravens again. We can’t let them come in here running all wild like they did last year.’ They are a great football team. There’s a reason why they made the playoffs. I think they’re the most improved team in football, to be honest, because if you look at them from the time they played us [in Week 1] to the time we’re playing them now, that’s a totally different football team. They’ve figured it out on all ends, playing great defense. On offense, they are able to run the football. That’s what good teams do.”
Rice is coming off one of his more productive games of the season, combining 107 rushing yards and 51 receiving yards and posting two touchdowns in the Ravens’ 33-14 thumping of the New York Giants last Sunday. His total of 30 touches (24 carries and six catches) tied a season high when he recorded 22 rushes and eight receptions in the team’s 16-13 overtime win against the San Diego Chargers on Nov. 25.
The Ravens improved to 33-11 (a .750 winning percentage) when Rice gets 20 touches or more, and the tailback said he felt comfortable with the workload he got against the Giants.
“That was the magic number,” he said of his 30 touches. “It felt pretty good, and actually, coming into this week, I felt pretty good. The thing is with me, I was fresh going into that game. I give my head coach credit. Coach [John] Harbaugh took care of us. He took care of us during the week and let us guys go out there, practice smart, and when it came to the game, we came out there ready to play.”
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