For much of his career,
He had 1,527 regular season touches coming into this season, and had lost just six fumbles.
But lately, he has coughed up the football more than usual. Rice lost his second fumble of the season in Sunday’s game against Miami, adding to the three fumbles he had in the playoffs last year.
The Pro Bowl running back addressed the issue when he met with the media Wednesday.
“My confidence is not shaken,” Rice said. “I looked back at it, and that [defender] is a big strong guy and he just made a good play.”
The fumble Sunday was forced by Dolphins defensive tackle Paul Soliai, who put his helmet right on the football as Rice was coming through the hole.
“That guy wrapped me up, bear hugged me,” Rice said. “I actually thought he was going to be cut blocked, and I was going to make a move right there. When he got a hold of me, I didn’t have a chance to put the second hand on the ball. You just have to be aware of the situation and those guys get paid as well. But it’s something obviously that I pay attention to.”
Rice has five fumbles in the last eight games, and Head Coach John Harbaugh wants to see his starting running back cut back on the miscues.
“I really don’t think the ball should ever be fumbled, personally,” Harbaugh said. “Those should be so rare those almost never happen.”
Harbaugh regularly talks about the importance of ball security on offense, and he said that they work on those drills in practice to help the backs avoid fumbles in the games.
“It’s always a main concern,” Harbaugh said. “That’s always going to be the No. 1 priority on offense, is to protect the football. We use the term, ‘aggressive ball security.’ We want to run the ball north and south, we want the ball high and tight, and sure, it’s a big priority.”
Despite the first-half fumble, Rice still finished with his best game of the season against Miami. He had a season-high 27 carries for 74 yards and two touchdowns.
After a strong showing from the running game Sunday, Rice is focused on building off that and avoiding the fumbles in the future.
“It’s something obviously that I pay attention to,” Rice said. “When you’re out there, you have to be aware of the situation. I was making a cut and I just have to give my hats off to that guy who made the play.”