The Ravens played without running back Ray Rice because of a hip injury in Week Three and they pretty much played without him again in Week Four even though he was healthy.
Rice carried the ball five times in the entire game and didn’t catch a pass, something that hasn’t happened in a game that Rice played from start to finish since the 2010 season. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw Rice’s way just once and the Ravens offense flailed around until Flacco’s fifth interception pretty much iced things for the Bills.
Part of the reason why Rice wasn’t a factor in the passing game was the needed him as a blocker to keep Flacco upright, something the Ravens hope will be less necessary with Eugene Monroe joining the club to be their new left tackle. Whether or not Monroe can have that impact, coach John Harbaugh knows that the team needs to make better use of a talented player.
“We need to get Ray out. We had some five-man protections where he was releasing, but we just weren’t able to get him the ball. They were covering him and had a guy on him pretty tight,” Harbaugh said, via Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun. “But we need to get Ray involved, in every single way — the pass game, run game, every single way. It’s definitely going to be important for us. We want to do it every week and obviously we didn’t do a good job of that last Sunday.”
The Ravens haven’t adequately replaced what Dennis Pitta and Anquan Boldin brought to the table as chain-moving targets in the passing game, which makes it even odder that Rice wasn’t used more last weekend. Rice should be able to replace some of what’s missing as either a runner or a receiver and he should get a chance to prove it against the Dolphins this weekend.