Rice scored touchdowns of 70 and 51 yards – with the former occurring on the fourth play of the game.
“How many times have you seen Ray Rice do this in a must-win game for the Ravens?” the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen asked rhetorically on “NFL GameDay Final” Sunday night. “Just takes the pressure off right from the beginning with a big run.”
Rice, who earned his second Pro Bowl invitation in his last three seasons, captured the honor after his Week 13 outburst against the Cleveland Browns, who could not prevent him from compiling a career-best 204 yards on 29 carries. Rice, who also scored a touchdown, boasted the highest yards-per-carry average (7.0) among all tailbacks with more than 10 attempts that weekend.
Rice is vying for the award with the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Maurice Jones-Drew (169 yards in a 19-13 win against the Indianapolis Colts) and the Atlanta Falcons’ Michael Turner (172 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-24 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
Fans can vote at NFL.com/FedEx until the poll closes on Wednesday at 6 p.m. EST. The winner will be announced Friday during the NFL Network’s “Total Access” show.
CORRECTION: The kind folks at the NFL reminded me that this is Rice's fourth nomination of the season. He was also nominated in Week 1 after his combined 149-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers. My apologies to Rice, the Ravens and the NFL.