Baltimore Ravens

Rice willing to lead offense

The Ravens have leaned on Ray Rice this season as the running back led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage (2,068) and set a franchise record with 15 combined touchdowns.

It’s a trend that has been ongoing over the past two years. According to ESPN’s AFC North blog, the team is 20-1 (.952) when Rice gets at least 20 touches. But the Ravens are just 5-8 (.385) when the two-time Pro Bowl selection doesn't.

Conventional wisdom seems to suggest that the offense will continue to rely on Rice, who said he doesn’t feel the weight of the unit on his shoulders.

“I don’t feel the pressure of obviously carrying the team, but I feel like whenever there’s a play that needs to be made, if [offensive coordinator] Cam [Cameron] is going to put the ball in my hand, I’m ready for it,” Rice said Wednesday. “I’ve been in these playoff situations. I’ve been spoiled. This is my fourth year straight in the playoffs, and my first home playoff game to play in Baltimore. So I’ve been spoiled. … For [wide receiver] Lee Evans, it’s his first playoff game, and he’s been in the league eight years. So I’ve been spoiled, and I have the experience now. So if there’s something that needs to be made, a play that needs to be made, I have no problem taking that load or putting the weight on my shoulders and making that play. And one thing, I’m not afraid of the opportunity anymore. As a rookie, I can’t tell you that I was ready for that kind of opportunity. But right now, I feel like I am.”