Will Rice's streak of 1,000-yard seasons end?

Will Rice's streak of 1,000-yard seasons end?
September 30, 2013, 7:00 am
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Rice: It's hard to run the ball when you're trailing early

EARLY BIRD: Waking up with the Ravens, the morning after a disappointing loss to the Bills.

Two-minute topic: Is Ray Rice doomed to being held under 1,000 yards this season?

Four games into the season, Rice has 25 carries for 72 yards. Yes, he missed the Texans game with a hip flexor. But 72 yards on 25 carries? Heading into October, those paltry numbers are foreign to Rice. This is a back that has rushed for at least 1,100 yards in each of the last four seasons.

Rice’s numbers show how far the Ravens’ running game has fallen off. He has not forgotten how to run. Neither has Bernard Pierce. But when they try to run, the holes are not there. In the second half Sunday, the Ravens went air Flacco, failing to call a single running play in the third quarter.

The best news for Rice on Sunday was that he played without aggravating his hip flexor.

“I came out of the game healthy, and looking forward to next week,” Rice said.

Rice may be healthy, but the Ravens’ running game is not. The Ravens may have abandoned the running game too soon Sunday, but Rice said falling behind 20-7 by halftime changed the game plan.

“You get behind, you can’t pound the rock,” Rice said. “We needed to find a way to score quick. When you get behind, it’s just hard to run the ball. “We would’ve liked to have run the ball better. We would’ve liked to execute a lot better. We will get better. We’re 2-2 now, with a whole lot of football left. Still not hitting the panic button yet. The Ravens have to play better. And we have to play better on the road.”

If the Ravens do not run the ball much better, Rice’s streak of 1,000-yard seasons will end.

Morning thought: “We want to be a team that can run and throw the ball, be very balanced. That’s our goal. We have the ability. We just have to go out there and do it.”

Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith