MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. — When backup running back Bernard Pierce broke off a 28-yard run during the third quarter of the Ravens' 26-23 victory over the Miami Dolphins, it set the tone for an impressive 11-play, 94-yard drive capped by running back Ray Rice's three-yard touchdown run.
The rush was the team's longest of the season.
"It was an outside play, I just stayed with the fullback and I was able to pop it through," said Pierce, who finished with 46 yards on 11 carries.
The Ravens were decisive that they wouldn't abandon the run, determination that eventually paid off with 133 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries. The Ravens had just 33 rushing yards on 15 carries at halftime, but Rice finished the game with a season-high 74 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
"We just stuck with it," fullback Vonta Leach said. "We got a lot of positive things. I think our run game is moving in the right direction. We did enough to win the game. We got a lot of things we have to get corrected. The running game is still a work in progress."
The Ravens' 3.3 yards per carry wasn't an impressive statistic, but it represents improvement from their 2.6 average entering the game. They doubled their average of 64 yards per game on the ground heading into Sunday, which had them ranked 28th in the league.
"You got to stick with it," Pierce said. "It's a whole mentality. If you straight abort the run, then all they're going to do is drop for the rest of the game and then you're just one-dimensional.
"We had to be stubborn with the run and it opened up what was downfield. It all worked out. It was a pretty physical game, but, hey, that's football."