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Ravens 2-Headed Monster in the Backfield Tough to Stop

Pierce has been a pleasant surprise for Baltimore
Pierce has been a pleasant surprise for BaltimorePatrick Smith/Getty Images
Nick LantzCorrespondent IIJanuary 3, 2013

The 2012 season has been a difficult one for the Baltimore Ravens. Numerous injuries have hampered the Ravens season, yet they still managed to make the playoffs as AFC North Champions. The key to Baltimore's success has been partly due to the running back duo of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce.

At this point Rice is a household name, yet many may not know as much about Pierce. Chosen as the 21st pick in the 3rd Round of the 2012 draft, Pierce was a standout in college at Temple. He has spelled Rice in the backfield all season as the primary backup.

With the division title already locked up, Baltimore used Sunday's 17-23 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals as a week to rest starters such as Joe Flacco and Rice. With Rice mostly staying on the sidelines, Pierce was given the bulk of carries.

Pierce ran for 89 yards on 22 carries in the game, averaging about four yards per carry. This coming off an explosive 123 rush yards on just 14 attempts in a 33-14 thrashing of the defending champion New York Giants in Week 17.

While at Temple, Pierce ran for 3,570 yards and a school-record 53 rushing touchdowns in just three seasons. This season he has rushed for 532 yards, 4.9 per attempt, and a touchdown. He has been a great fit for Baltimore, putting up a solid rookie season.

Then there is the dynamic Ray Rice. 2012 was yet again another outstanding season for the running back out of Rutgers. He compiled 1,143 yards on the ground and 9 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 61 passes for 478 yards and a touchdown.

These two young backs could provide excitement in Baltimore for years to come. The Ravens' 17 rushing touchdowns is good for sixth in the NFL.

This Sunday the Ravens will host the red-hot Indianapolis Colts in the Wild Card round. Baltimore may want to continue feeding these two speedy running backs to make a playoff push.

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