The Ravens needed one more first down to beat Kansas City.
They turned to their little man – running back
Rice carried the ball three straight times, including on third-and-1, to run the clock out in a 9-6 victory.
In doing so, Rice said he and the offense showed they can put games away when needed and convert in short-yardage situations.
“I think it gave us a new identity,” he said.
“When you’re able to run the ball to end the game, it says something. I want to thank the offensive line and [Offensive Coordinator Cam] Cameron for trusting us to get it done. We always knew we had it in our back pocket, but to get it done in a clutch situation really felt good.”
Rice and the Ravens were in a similar situation against Philadelphia in Week 2. With Baltimore needing a little more than 2 yards to gain a first down and keep its potential game-winning drive moving, it went to the air twice in a row.
Both passes fell incomplete and the Ravens lost, 24-23.
This Sunday in Kansas City, again on the road, the Ravens put the ball in the hands of their Pro Bowl running back with three run plays that were almost identical.
“A different twist on the play, but the same play,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “Ray did a great job of staying behind his lineman, staying behind his fullback or lead tight end. He ran really hard and really well.”
The Ravens started their final drive on their own 20-yard line with four minutes, 24 seconds remaining. They handed it off to Rice up the middle on the first play and he was stuffed for no gain by linebacker Derrick Johnson.
First Rice cut through the right side for a gain of 6 yards. Then he went to the right again for three more yards. Baltimore needed one more yard, and Kansas City stacked the box knowing there was a high probability of a run.
The Ravens brought everybody in to block and pushed ahead. It originally looked as if Rice was stopped, but he barely extended past the marker on a diving second effort. The spot was upheld after an automatic challenge and the Ravens knew they had won.
Rice finished the day with 17 carries for 102 yards. The final yard or two were the biggest he had all game.
Baltimore’s offense didn’t have a sterling day, putting up just 298 total yards and failing to score a touchdown. But when it needed to move the chains one final time, it got the job done.
Rice saw it as perhaps a sign of things to come.
“You’ve got two Pro Bowl guys, me and Vonta,” Rice said. “You put the ball in our hands in that situation, it shows the level of trust they have in us. By us doing that, it really set the tone for what kind of team we’ll be. When it’s clutch situations, we’re going to run it and it’s going to be your job to stop us.”