Much of the media criticism after that game focused on the Ravens needing to do a better job of getting Rice the ball, and Head Coach John Harbaugh said last week that the Ravens could have stayed more patient with the running game.
Rice acknowledged that the ideal number of touches for him is about 20-25 per game, but the consummate team player didn’t campaign for a re-structuring of the offense to get the ball in his hands more.
“I always try to factor myself in, whether it’s running or receiving, and I know where I’m most effective and that 20-25 touch range is usually where I’m pretty good,” Rice said.
“But we know there is only one football to go around. With the talent we have on our offense, the more and more capable we are of using everyone, the better we’ll be.”
Part of the reason the Ravens went away from Rice against the Texans was that the offense sputtered overall and fell into a 29-3 first-half hole, forcing them to become one-dimensional.
That loss was the latest example of the offense struggling to find success on the road. Baltimore has averaged 32.3 points per game at home, compared to 15 on the road. The uptempto no-huddle offense has gone stagnant at times, and quarterback
Despite the woes, Rice still thinks that Flacco is the driver of the offense and believes the Ravens can have success on the road.
“I think the second half of the year, the best thing we have to do is all be on the same page, and let Joe drive this thing, let the coaches call the plays and we’ll go out there and execute at a high level,” Rice said. “As professionals and a growing offense, it’s our job to go out and execute on the road at a high level. We owe that No. 1 to ourselves, but to the organization and our fans to go out there and not lay an egg on the road."
The Ravens will get a chance to do that this week.
With Sunday’s upcoming matchup in a cold Cleveland Browns Stadium, the Ravens may opt to go with more of a ground-and-pound approach.
The Ravens have done that in recent games against the Browns, rushing for an average of 193 yards per game in their last four matchups in Cleveland, which have all come in November and December. They have averaged 104.1 rushing yards per game so far this season, which ranks 19th in the NFL.
Rice had the best game of his career last season in Cleveland, where he rushed for 204 yards on 29 carries during a rain-soaked afternoon. Rice said that part of the reason for his success is that he loves playing on natural grass surfaces like the one he will play on Sunday.
“I love playing on grass,” he said. “It’s a little different surface. Obviously, when you’re cutting, you get better traction on the turf. Any running back will tell you on grass you can’t over pursue as much, because the cutting is different on that grass, and obviously, on a wet field it’s really a lot different.”
Overall, Rice has played some of the best games of his career against the Browns. He has averaged 112.1 total yards from scrimmage in nine matchups.
With time to rest and get away from the game during last week’s bye, Rice is entering this game refreshed.
“This is the healthiest I’ve felt in a while, coming off the bye and doing the right things to take care of my body,” Rice said. "I'm looking forward to a nice workload the second half of the season."