Mike Preston: Where was Ray Rice on crucial 4th down play?

September 24, 2012|By Mike Preston | The Baltimore Sun

Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron called a good game, and the Ravens were balanced in the 31-30 win over the New England Patriots. To come from 13 points down against a Bill Belichick-coached team is impressive. But the Ravens call on a 4th-and-1 at New England's 33-yard-line with 10:56 left in the game was strange.

The Ravens loaded up and went heavy by bringing an extra offensive tackle, Bryant McKinnie, into the game. Good move. But then the Ravens gave the ball to rookie running back Bernard Pierce, who was tackled for a 1-yard loss.

Where was star running back Ray Rice? He was on the sideline.

I understand that Pierce might be heavier than Rice, and maybe a little fresher at that point in the game. But Rice is the Ravens' top offensive player, and they gave him big money during the offseason to be the feature back.

Well, can they please start featuring him in crucial situations?

Rice finished the game with 20 carries for 108 yards rushing and had five catches for 49 yards. When he touches the ball, he makes things happen. In crunch time, Rice has to be on the field. Even if he isn't getting the ball, he is one great decoy.

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