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Bernard Pierce Coming On Strong

Posted Dec 26, 2012

The rookie running back had the best day of his career in Sunday's win over the Giants.

Bernard Pierce came through a big hole created by the Ravens offensive line and saw nothing but open space as he got into the second level.

The rookie running back headed to the sidelines with his eyes set on the end zone. He raced toward it and looked to have a sure touchdown before getting dragged down by cornerback Jayron Hosley at the 1-yard line for a 78-yard run.

“I joked with [Pierce],” running back Ray Rice said with a laugh. “I said we’ve got one thing in common, we get caught from behind.”

Pierce wasn’t convinced that he was actually down before falling into the end zone.

“I thought I was in before I went down, but that was the call,” Pierce said.

Regardless of whether Pierce actually got that extra yard, it was still an impressive day for the rookie third-round pick. He finished with a career-high 123 rushing yards on 14 carries, averaging 8.8 yards per carry.

It was his first time topping the century mark in his career, and was the latest sign that he’s coming on strong as a complementary piece to Rice in the backfield.

“It felt great,” Pierce said. “It’s the first game that I have been over 60 yards. I’m very excited for myself and I’m really excited because I feel like we’re going to accomplish our goals this year.”

The Baltimore fans showed their appreciation for Pierce after he came up just short on the long run. Pierce initially went to the sidelines to catch his breath after the run, but the coaches sent him back onto the field one play later to try to punch it in for the touchdown.

As Pierce trotted back onto the field, the crowd came to their feet to give him a big cheer.

“I honestly didn’t even hear that,” Pierce said. “I was still surprised it wasn’t called a touchdown.”

The big day for Pierce came after he suffered a concussion last week and was limited in practice throughout the week. Pierce never questioned whether he would be able to play against the Giants.

“I’ve had a concussion before, so I know my body,” Pierce said. “By Wednesday or Thursday I was really starting to feel better.”

Pierce now has 443 yards and one touchdown on 86 carries this year, and he’s gotten stronger as the year has gone on. In the last seven games, Pierce has almost doubled his production from the first half of the year – 30 carries for 148 yards in the first eight games, compared to 56 carries for 295 yards in the last seven. 

Pierce’s development gives the Ravens a formidable one-two punch with he and Rice in the backfield heading into the postseason.

“We have to take care of each other,” Pierce said. “We have to make sure when we get to the fourth quarter we are both sharp.”

“He’s definitely been a great complement to me,” Rice added. “He’s a student of the game, and he’s only going to get better."

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