Found January 16, 2013 on
The forgotten "Ray" on the Baltimore Ravens quickly ceded the podium to quarterback Joe Flacco during a news conference Wednesday.
Running back Ray Rice has been deferential when it comes to the spotlight as the imminent retirement of the face of the franchise, Ray Lewis, receives much of the media's glare leading into Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the New England Patriots.
Rice is just as accommodating on the field.
"Stats and all that other good stuff, we put that off to the side," Rice said at the Ravens' training facility. "One thing about our group is that we're very unselfish. Very unselfish. It doesn't matter who gets the job done."
That's not something always heard from a franchise running back, especially one who signed a five-year, $40 million contract last offseason. Rice saw fewer carries (and receptions) during the regular season than a year ago. The fewer touches are linked to an offense that struggled during stretches -- leading to the late-season firing of coordinator Cam Cameron -- and the emergence of rookie Bernard Pierce as another option in the backfield.
Rice still managed to rush for 1,143 yards in the regular season and was a Pro Bowl for the third time. He can be just as explosive when called upon. (He rushed for 131 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries Saturday in a double-overtime victory at Denver.)
"He's still making plays," Ravens receiver Jacoby Jones said. "That's all I can see."
In the final two regular-season games and against Indianapolis and Denver in the first two rounds of the playoffs, the Ravens have averaged 450.8 yards of total offense -- nearly 100 yards better than Baltimore's regular-season average. The Ravens' 459-yard average in the playoffs ranks second to only the San Francisco 49ers.
The difference could be in Jim Caldwell's stewardship as offensive coordinator, although Rice said there was something else to their recent success.
"We as players decided that we had to execute at a high level," Rice said. "It's our responsibility. One thing Coach Caldwell has done is that he let us go out there with a game plan. Regardless of the situation, we stick to it."
And a more cohesive offensive line that gives Flacco time to find deep threats such as Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin and Jones as well as opens holds for Rice and Pierce doesn't hurt.
"That's where it starts," Flacco said. "Those guys are playing well, and we're playing well as an offense. Those guys have really stepped up."
The Ravens are 6-0 in franchise history when they have a rusher reach the 100-yard mark in the playoffs. (Rice accounts for two of those.) Rice was held to 67 yards in last season's AFC title game against the Pats, a game the Ravens dropped 23-20.
It's pretty clear that while reaching the century mark in the past has assured a playoff victory, Rice cares little how a win and the franchise's second Super Bowl berth is attained.
"We have been through a lot of adversity this year," Rice said. "To overcome the things we had to overcome, to be counted out and then to be back in the AFC Championship Game -- you don't get here by accident. We believe in each other. We go out there and play for each other."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Baltimore’s Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Harbor East is honoring Ray Lewis’ final run by displaying a laser light show of the Baltimore Ravens linebacker's famous dance. Lewis, who is retiring at the end of the season, performs this dance to get the team and home crowd “fired up” before every home game. Check out the [...]
Ray Lewis sure doesn't look the part of an aging linebacker on the brink of retirement.
After being sidelined for 12 weeks with a torn right triceps, Lewis reclaimed his post in the middle of the Baltimore defense two weeks ago and led the Ravens with 13 tackles in a 24-9 playoff win over Indianapolis.
As an encore, Lewis had a team-high 17 tackles last week in a victory over...
Ravens LB Ray Lewis is known as the ultimate hype man. He’s been a big part of the Ravens success throughout his career, and he puts on an explosive entry to each home game.
He’s played his last home game as a Raven before hanging up the cleats so there won’t be another dance, but a Baltimore-area Marriott Hotel has supplied fans with a digital version of what he calls the...
The Patriots are familiar opponents to the Baltimore Ravens, these two teams having met on this exact stage last year and again in Week 3 of this season. Ravens nose tackle Haloti Ngata wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I think we personally kind of wanted to play the Patriots again,” Ngata said. “If we were to go to the Super Bowl, it would be great to go through Foxboro...
Lights, Camera, Action! As the 49ers, Falcons, Ravens and Patriots search for a title, we'll have some sun with a few movie titles.
“Anquan Boldin is confident in the Ravens heading into the AFC championship rematch with the...
The image is etched into my memory. Even after Alzheimer's sets in and I forget everything else, I will still remember it. Confetti raining down onto the field, my Broncos back to back World Champions, and John Elway hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. His last act as quarterback for the Denver Broncos. Super Bowl Champion. Super Bowl MVP. Legend. Hall of Famer. In...
I’ve gone back and forth on this one. On one hand, some of the reasons I didn’t like the Patriots last week are still true. They’re still a terrible post-season spread team, going 2-7 ATS in their last 9 post-season games and 4-8 ATS all-time as favorites of more than 4 in the post-season. Last year, they were favored by a similar amount in a similar situation here against...
The Baltimore Ravens have what they wanted - another shot at the New England Patriots.
The AFC championship will feature the same teams from the year before for the first time in 25 years when the Patriots play the Ravens on Sunday in Foxborough, where New England has never lost with the Super Bowl on the line.
New England (13-4) won 23-20 last year after some late dramatics. Lee...
3rd and 3, under 40 seconds to go with the clock ticking, and no timeouts left in a 35-28 game. Oh, and only 70 yards to go for the game-tying score. Joe Flacco needed a miracle to propel the Ravens into overtime on the road in Denver in a game that most people predicted a [...]
2012 was a great year to be a Bengals fan! They made the playoffs in back to back years for the first time in 30 years. That’s amazing. The Bengals are an up and coming team STILL and they play in a division where the rest of the players are turning into grumpy old men. Ed Reed, Troy Palamalu can’t play forver. Its guys like Ray Rice, Antonio Brown, Mike Wallace that scare me...