Can Rice have breakout game against Bears?

Can Rice have breakout game against Bears?
November 13, 2013, 5:00 pm
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Harbaugh on Bears offense: 'They've got weapons'

Before his Wednesday interview session, Ray Rice hopped down from a table he was sitting on.

“That should answer any questions about my hip,” Rice said.

Not really. Rice knows people will continue to ask what’s wrong until he starts gaining yards like he used to. The season is more than half over, and the decline in Rice’s production has been staggering. He is averaging just 2.5 yards per carry, and with just 289 yards, he looks doomed to finish with fewer than 1000 yards for the first time since his rookie season in 2008.

Wednesday’s interview session featured another segment of “What’s wrong with Ray?” Is the hip injury from Week 2 still bothering him? Does he still have the same burst at age 26? Can most of his struggles be blamed on the Ravens’ offensive line? Rice’s insistence that he feels fine physically makes his decline more mysterious.

“I feel pretty good,” Rice said. “I’ve been answering that question for the last couple of weeks. Honestly, I just haven’t had a chance to show it. But we’re working, we’re working very hard. The running game, we know where it’s at. We’re just going to continue to keep battering at it, and just try to keep chopping, keep chipping away at it. I’m sure once we get a little bit of space, you’ll see that I’m clear of the injury. But it’s an ongoing battle.

“This is something different for me, something different for my offensive line, something different for all of us, it’s something that we’re not used to.”

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco said he felt Rice was taking too much blame for the struggles of the Ravens’ running game.

“It’s never one guy,” Flacco said. “As a quarterback, you know that. We’re working on this thing as a team. Its not one thing, or one guy, that’s holding us back. If we were doing some other things better, then Ray would have more room, and be able to get in one-on-one situations and make guys miss. We’re not playing well enough right now in order to create a lot of space.”

Rice expressed confidence his numbers would get better.

“If I doubted myself, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Rice said. “I’m at full strength. The Ravens are going to need me at full strength late in the year. “I know I’m able to make plays. I leave the doubt and the naysayers out there.”

The Bears have the worst rushing defense in the NFC, giving up 129.4 yards per game. Will this be the weekend Rice breaks out? If not, the naysayers will grow.