Will Ray Rice Run On The Bengals?


Running back Ray Rice started and ended the Ravens' division-clinching win in Cincinnati last year.

On the fourth play of the game, he romped 70 yards to the end zone. In the fourth quarter, he scored the game winner with a 51-yard touchdown gallop.

Earlier in the year, when Cincinnati visited M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens Pro Bowler ran for 104 yards and two touchdowns.

So if there was one team last year that Rice smoked, it was the Bengals.

But much has changed in the Ravens offense this preseason. It led the AFC in pass attempts and passing yards while Rice saw just 10 carries in the four games.

So will the Ravens hand the ball off to Rice this week in hopes of a sequel? Or will they continue with their pass-heavy preseason ways on Monday Night Football?

"I go into every game expecting a lot of carries," Rice said. "That's just me, the feeling as a running back. … But everything's all about the game plan.

"Against a great defense like that, you pick and choose when you run the ball. You can't just say, 'Every play we're going to pound at them.' That's not smart. I think we have a great plan to where we will run the ball, but obviously it'll all start with just executing what we have at hand."

This preseason, Rice saw less than half the preseason carries he got last year. Rice didn't feel that was a problem. He said he got plenty of live reps in the Ravens' demanding practices.

Rice has been totally on-board with the Ravens' shifting offense that airs the ball out and moves quickly in an effort to tire opponents instead of grounding and pounding them.

"I always felt that as a running back, you'll evolve with the change," Rice said. "And being that I've caught the ball really well, and I think I fit well with this offense, whatever it is – whether it's running the ball [or] passing."

Rice didn't amass a ton of production as a receiver last year against the Bengals. He had five catches for 53 yards in their first meeting, then just two snags for 8 yards the second time around.

Conventional wisdom would say he shouldn't have had lot of success on the ground either. Cincinnati had one of the top run defenses last year, despite how Rice's performances dented its stats. The Bengals finished 10th in the NFL, allowing only 12 more rushing yards per game than the Ravens.

So how was Rice able to have two huge days against them?

"You don't just run at a group like that; you scheme-up runs like that," Rice said.

Offensive Coordinator Cam Cameron gave Rice and the offensive linemen credit.

"I'd like to say it was a great scheme, it was a great game plan," Cameron said. "[But] it really was discipline. If you go back and look at those plays, it was discipline on Ray's part of running his track and his course, reading his key and then every guy getting their guy blocked."

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