When the Ravens' offensive line and fullback Kyle Juszczyk stepped in unison to their right Thursday night, the Pittsburgh Steelers defense was convinced that a trademark outside-zone run was headed in that direction.
Displaying a determined running style and an extremely tight grip on the football, Ravens running back Bernard Pierce engineered a turnaround Thursday night following his shaky performance in the season-opener.
The Ravens broke the trend of close games against their biggest rival by delivering a 26-6 beatdown to the Pittsburgh Steelers in front of an announced 71,181 at M&T Bank Stadium and a prime-time television audience.
A day after running back Ray Rice's contract was terminated, Ravens coach John Harbaugh reaffirmed his belief in Bernard Pierce, who didn't touch the ball after fumbling on his sixth carry in Sunday's season opener.
Emotional about the firing of star running back Ray Rice after a graphic video surfaced of him punching Janay Palmer in a casino elevator and stinging from a season-opening defeat, the Ravens play the AFC North rival Pittsburgh Steelers in two days.
The Ravens are standing by Ray Rice no longer. The team announced Monday afternoon that it has terminated the contract of the 27-year-old running back on the same day a new video surfaced showing him striking his then-fiancee.
The Ravens terminated the contract of star running back Ray Rice on Monday afternoon, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him indefinitely, hours after TMZ Sports released the video of him knocking his then fiancee, Janay Palmer, unconscious in an Atlantic City, N.J., casino elevator.
After a big comeback, an exhilarating victory turned into a frustrating loss for the Ravens. Andy Dalton hit A.J. Green for a 77-yard touchdown pass, the decisive points in the Cincinnati Bengals' 23-16 victory over the Ravens in front of an announced 70,925 at M&T Bank Stadium.
However, those who have observed the Ravens' running back for the past several months see it differently. From the first day of training camp, his teammates and coaches have noticed his increased focus and intensity. Matt Rhule, one of Pierce's former coaches at Temple, saw how hard the running back attacked the offseason rehab on his surgically-repaired right shoulder.
The Ravens pared their roster down to the NFL's required 53-player limit Saturday, choosing to keep two quarterbacks and seven wide receivers and leaving themselves thin at cornerback and along the offensive and defensive lines.
Ravens safety Matt Elam and running back Bernard Pierce missed a second straight practice for the Ravens Tuesday, while tight end Owen Daniels, who missed two weeks with leg fatigue, practiced for the second consecutive day.
The five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver is also providing confidence, predicting that the Ravens will be difficult for opposing defenses to game-plan against considering the amount of options offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak has to choose from