One of the most prominent criticisms of the Ravens in the wake of their blowout loss to the Texans in Week Seven was that the team did not use running back Ray Rice often enough when the outcome of the game was still in some doubt.
Rice averaged nine carries per game in Baltimore’s four regular season losses last season and he had nine carries last Sunday as the Ravens slumped to a 43-13 loss, prompting another round of razzing for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron’s game plan. Coach John Harbaugh admitted this week that the team wasn’t as patient as it could have been when it came to the running game.
“We could have stayed with the run a little more patiently,” Harbaugh said, via Matt Vensel of the Baltimore Sun. “Once they got the tip-ball interception, we felt like we needed to try to get back in that thing a little bit more quickly because of the type of team they are. We probably all say we could have been a little bit more patient with the run – whether it’s Ray Rice or Bernard Pierce or whoever it is.”
Rice is averaging just over 19 touches per game this season, down about four a game from his 2011 workload. It’s right in line with what Rice did in the first seven games, though, and the Ravens began riding him more heavily in the second half. Given all of the focus on Joe Flacco and a faster-paced offense this offseason, it’s not surprising to see Rice back on the lower end of the spectrum.
With seven weeks of results to look at during the bye week, it would be just as unsurprising to see Rice’s workload shoot up again in the second half of this season.