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Ravens running back Ray Rice continued his assault on opposing defenses with a stellar performance in a 33-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
And all he needed was 20 touches.
Rice rushed 10 times for 77 yards. Rice also caught 10 passes for a team-high 117 yards. It was a career-high in receptions and receiving yardage, and also a career-high 194 total yards.
And when the Ravens needed it the most, behind six points well into the fourth quarter, Rice took a simple handoff from quarterback Joe Flacco and race 33 yards through multiple tackles to the end zone and a brief 31-30 Baltimore lead.
“It was just plugging away,” said Rice, who entered Week 6 second in the NFL by averaging 114.4 net yards a game. “We knew they were stout up front, but we put together some long drives and that’s when those big guys wear out. On the touchdown run, they were subbing in and out, and we could quick count them and make some things happen.”
The 5-foot-8, 210-pound Rice did it against the NFL’s 10th-rated run defense. Minnesota features one of the best front sevens in the league, with massive defensive tackles Kevin and Pat Williams anchoring the middle.
With the help of solid run blocking from the offensive line, Rice also notched a 22-yard touchdown run in the third quarter that chopped the Vikings margin to 17-10.
Rice went between clear-out blocks from left tackle Michael Oher and guard Ben Grubbs.
“Those guys did a great job of winning their battles,” Rice said. “We were going downhill and grinding out the tough yards.”
It wasn’t all game, however. Rice had 7 rushing yards in the first half. He also only boasted 32 yards through the air.
The Ravens simply continued to go to one of their most dynamic players.
“Ray did a great job of finding little creases,” Flacco noted. “We were finding some of those routes coming out of the backfield, and he did a great job of finding a crease and breaking a tackle here and there.”
Rice believes that is a reason the Ravens should not hang their heads after battling from behind all game until he crossed the goal line with 3:37 left in the game.
“We never thought it was over,” Rice said. “Looking into our guys’ eyes, there was no giving up. We’ve got the bye week now and we can get healthy. We have some things that we can work on. There weren’t too many things that we did bad.”