When Ray Rice set a season low with just eight carries in a 12-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Oct. 4 and then surpassed that with just five rushing attempts in a 22-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 13, much teeth-gnashing ensued.

Even the Ravens running back wasn’t happy with his involvement in the offense at those times, but with three more contests in the regular season and what appears to be at least one game in the postseason, Rice is beginning to think that the reduced workload is beginning to pay dividends now.

“I don’t want to say I saved my best for last, but I think the fact that I wasn’t getting the carries early on was a blessing in disguise for me right now,” he said Wednesday. “I’m going into December fresh and healthy. Me fresh and healthy in this time of year, when guys literally might be a little banged up … The season is long. I feel good going into December and January. It’s just one of those situations where I’m going to attack the game now, No. 1 taking care of my body and still studying film. And this is the time of year where we’ve got a lot of reps now. Coach [John Harbaugh] is going to be smart with us in practice. We’re not going to beat each other up. We have our one day in pads. Whether we’re in pads or not, we’ve got to take care of each other to be able to perform on Sunday. That’s my approach.”