Right now, the Baltimore Ravens are 8-4 and right in the middle of the AFC Playoff Hunt. They are being led by the play of rookie quarterback Joe Flacco. He is 202-for-331 with 2,276 yards, 12 touchdown passes and nine interceptions. A guy you don't hear about is rookie tailback Ray Rice. Right now, Rice is a close third on the team in rushing, with 453 yards on 104 carries. In a week nine 37-27 win over Cleveland, Rice ran for 154 yards on just 21 carries, which is just over seven yards per run.
Rice has also done well in the passing game. He has 31 catches for 264 yards, averaging 8.5 yards per catch, which is phenomenal considering most passes thrown to him are screens.
In his debut, Rice ran for 64 yards on 22 carries. He did fumble once, which led to a 65-yard touchdown by corner back Jonathan Joseph. Since then, he has not fumbled. It's been eleven games! When given the chance, Rice has come through. In an embarrassing win over the Bengals last week, Rice put up a very respectable line with 41 yards on 11 carries. He also caught four passes.
Since Willis McGahee's playing time and productivity has gone down, Rice's playing time has gone up. Despite being healthy, McGahee is for now the backup running back and Rice is starting. The Ravens are currently relying on Rice and Le'Ron McClain at running back, a good duo to have.
McGahee hasn't been fazed by the loss of playing time.
"I support my team and Coach Harbaugh," he said. "I love playing in Baltimore. I am working hard and look forward to helping our Team win another Championship. Recently, LeRon, Ray and myself had the opportunity to give back to 700 families for Thanksgiving. It has been great working together with such good teammates on and off the field."
Coach Harbaugh has also been impressed.
"Really, we think we’ve got three good players," he said. "And if you’ve got three really good players, why would you want to put two of them on the bench?"
"So we use them where we can, when we can according to health, according to who’s most effective, according to the game plan. We have 53 guys on the roster, and we can put 45 guys up. We want to use all 45 if we can. That makes us stronger as a group, as a team. That’s really the whole idea."
The three headed monster has worked very well for the Ravens and Rice is a huge part of it. Last year with Rutgers, Rice carried the offense, with 2012 rushing yards and 24 touchdown runs. Though it's doubtful he'll ever do that in the NFL, he could have one heck of career and is off to a great start.
Ray Rice is getting no credit as a rookie, but has totaled over 700 yards of offense and is a huge contribution to the Ravens offensively.