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Ravens rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro scores twice; Bernard Pierce a healthy scratch

Ravens rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro scores twice; Bernard Pierce a healthy scratch
Lorenzo Taliaferro celebrates a touchdown against the Bengals. (Aaron Doster, USA Today Sports)

Rookie running back Lorenzo Taliaferro provided the majority of the Ravens' big plays offensively during Sunday's 27-24 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, as he scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half.

If not for Taliaferro's contributions, the Ravens probably wouldn't have even had a shot at the end.

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The way that Taliaferro performed justified the Ravens' gamble when they deactivated backup running back Bernard Pierce as a healthy scratch and went into the game with just two active running backs in addition to fullback Kyle Juszczyk.

"We're just doing what we try to do as far as our personnel and getting guys up that we felt gave us the best chance to win the game," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We were jammed up. We did what we thought we had to do, and it worked out because our other backs stayed healthy."

Taliaferro rushed for 27 yards on seven carries, scoring touchdowns from 10 yards and 8 yards.  His last touchdown around the left side gave the Ravens a 21-20 lead in the fourth quarter. The fourth-round draft pick's touchdown run in the third quarter was set up by his career-long 29-yard reception.

"All of those are good things, but, at the end of the day, we didn't come out with a win, so those touchdowns didn't mean anything," Taliaferro said. "The offensive line is doing a great job, and Justin [Forsett] comes in week by week and performs well. No matter how many touchdowns we run for, we've got to come out with a win. That's what matters at the end of the day."

The Ravens rushed for 107 yards on 26 carries, led by Forsett's 68 yards on 17 carries. They played without Pierce for the third time this season.

Projected as the replacement for Ray Rice, Pierce was benched in the season-opening loss to the Bengals when he lost a fumble. Pierce rushed for a season-high 96 yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers the following game before missing the next two games with a strained quadriceps.

Although Pierce scored one touchdown per game over the previous two weeks, he rushed for only 53 yards on 23 carries during that span, an average of 2.35 per carry.

"I talked to Bernard, he was helping us on the sidelines,"Forsett said. "He was encouraging us, so that was positive. I'm sure it was disappointing to him [to be scratched], but he was a great teammate helping us along."

awilson@baltsun.com
twitter.com/RavensInsider

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