There are now reports that Ray Rice will play today.
Last second change with the Ravens. Ravens running back Ray Rice is active and is going to play a series or two.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 30, 2012
With essentially nothing to play for today, the Baltimore Ravens aren’t taking any chances with getting their best player injured, and will reportedly rest All-Pro RB Ray Rice today. Rice has been a Bengals-killer through his career. In his last four games vs. Bengals, all of which were Ravens wins, he totaled 74 carries for 440 yards (5.9 avg) and 7 touchdowns.
Perhaps the Ravens are making this move in order to get rookie backup Bernard Pierce more carries. He had the best game of his career last week vs. the New York Giants. He gashed the G-Men to the tune of 123 yards rushing on just 14 carries. The third-round draft pick from Temple has emerged as a valuable backup to Rice, rushing for 443 yards and a touchdown with an average of 5.2 yards per carry during the 2012 season. By no means does the Ravens not having rice today mean they will not be playing to win.
During the fourth quarter, Pierce buried the Giants with a career-high 78-yard run that led to the game-sealing touchdown. He has the same game-breaking play potential that Rice has and has burned the Bengals with frequently through his career. The only rookie running backs drafted this year that have gain more yards than Pierce are Alfred Morris (1,413 yards), Doug Martin (1,312 yards) and Trent Richardson (950 yards), all of which are their respective teams’ #1 tailback.
And in case you were wondering, Anthony Allen is expected to be his backup today. Allen is a seldom used back who accounted for 3,036 yards during his collegiate career at Louisville and Georgia Tech. In his NFL career, he has just 9 carries for 28 yards (3.1 avg.).