The breakthrough season that Ravens running back Bernard Pierce was hoping for hasn't materialized.
Pierce was initially projected as the starter once Ray Rice was indefinitely suspended and his $35 million contract was terminated.
However, a lost fumble against the Cincinnati Bengals in the season opener, a subsequent quadriceps injury and the emergence of Justin Forsett as the Ravens' featured running back has affected Pierce's status.
During a 21-7 win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Pierce was more involved in the offense than usual when he rushed for 31 yards on eight carries. Pierce had just one carry for 2 yards in a 43-23 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers the previous week and was a healthy scratch against the Bengals the week before that.
Pierce hasn't complained about his status and said he's just trying to make the most out of his opportunities.
"It's definitely a confidence-booster," Pierce said after the win over the Titans. "I knew I still had it. Contributing to a win is definitely a good feeling."
Against Tennessee, Pierce had a long run of 10 yards. The Ravens wore down the Titans, rushing for 151 yards on 34 carries as Forsett led the way with 112 yards on 20 carries and two touchdowns.
"It's that physicality of football, throwing our bodies around fighting for the first down," Pierce said. "Everybody is behind you."
Pierce had more of a role Sunday than rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro, who had three carries for 10 yards one week after he lost a fumble against the Steelers.
For the season, Pierce has rushed for 229 yards and two touchdowns on 64 carries with a 3.6 yards per run average. He ranks third on the team in rushing behind Forsett (721 yards, five touchdowns) and Taliaferro (257 yards, four touchdowns).