Ravens running back Ray Rice one game away from fumble-free year

December 30, 2010|By Jamison Hensley, The Baltimore Sun

Ray Rice is zeroing in on a remarkable feat for a running back.

He has yet to fumble this year with one game left in the regular season. He has yet to put the ball on the ground despite touching the ball 350 times this season (287 carries and 63 receptions).

When asked about the streak, Rice said, "Where is the wood at? I'm going to go find me some wood to knock on."

Rice's run is more unbelievable when looking around the league. There are 13 running backs who have carried the ball more than 220 times this season, and Rice is the only one who hasn't fumbled.

Ten of the NFL's top 15 rushers this season have coughed up the ball at least twice. New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw, Cleveland's Peyton Hillis and Cincinnati's Cedric Benson have each lost the ball at least five times.

New England's BenJarvus Green-Ellis also hasn't fumbled this year, but he has 130 fewer touches than Rice.

"I said at the beginning of the year, that I wasn't a fumbler," Rice said. "I'm used to carrying the ball. You've got to be courteous and conscious of situations that you're in. If you know you don't have to fight for that extra yard, or if you need to go down, put two hands on it."

Rice fumbled only once in his rookie season and none in the first 11 games of 2009.

But his ball security came into question at the end of last season. He fumbled in three of the last five regular-season games and lost it in the red zone in the divisional playoff game at Indianapolis.

When Rice fumbled in the second preseason game this year, he said the key to correcting his troubles was carrying the right mindset and carrying the ball close to his body.

"We all know you don't want to be stiff running the ball," Rice said. "If you're making a cut, sometimes it'll get loose. But in traffic, you will find it tight to my body. It's sort of like putting the ball in a headlock."

Rice's streak has set a tone for the Ravens, who are nearing a record of their own. The Ravens have turned the ball over 18 times this season (nine interceptions and nine fumbles), which is three shy of the team mark set in 2008.

"We've all made an effort to protect the football," Rice said. "I wouldn't say it's a goal; it's my job to protect the ball."


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The Ravens are on pace for their fewest turnovers in a season:

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