|Ray Rice had only 13 touches in Monday's win over the Bengals, far below his average last season. (US Presswire)|
His 13 touches were far from his average of 23 from a season ago. Rice once was seen as the focal point of this Ravens' offense, though quarterback Joe Flacco stole the show in Baltimore's 44-13 win over Cincinnati.
With the change in philosophy from a run-first offense to a no-huddle passing attack, you could wonder whether Rice will see the ball as much as he has in the past. Coach John Harbaugh didn't seem concerned about the number of touches, especially considering the efficiency of Baltimore's offense.
“I don't think [Rice's] role is going to dwindle,” Harbaugh said. “But I think when you put more guys out there touching the ball ... then you like spreading those touches around. Hopefully, Ray's touches are that much more effective as a result of that. We're not really counting touches per se. I think he's going to get his touches, we all agree with that.”
With the weather warm, and Flacco executing at a high level, the Ravens could potentially win games without pounding Rice between the tackles 25 times a game. If they do so, that would prevent injury to the organization's $40-million running back. And once the weather gets cold, Rice would be fresh when the elements make it hard to throw the ball down field.
“I got smart touches [Monday night],” Rice said. “I'm feeling good, I'm feeling fresh – that's what [it] was, smart touches. Joe did a great job of reading the defense. All I wanted was my timing back with my teammates and I got that tonight. I was there in protection, and when we needed to run it, we ran it. It was great to see our young boys get some work at the end.”
When it comes to numbers, Harbaugh cares more about the value per touch. On Monday night, Rice finished with 7.2 yards per touch.
“I'm more concerned with him getting his production,” Harbaugh said. “That to me is the important thing, that he's a difference-maker on the field.”
Personal foul or bad call? Cornerback Lardarius Webb was flagged for a personal foul at the 13:04 mark in the fourth quarter. It looked like Webb, coming on a corner blitz, led with his shoulder and struck Bengals' quarterback Andy Dalton in the back (though his helmet did make contact with Dalton's back, too). The hit affected the pass, so it wasn't a late hit, nor was it of the helmet-to-helmet variety.
“Me, personally, I'm going to say it wasn't a great call,” Webb said. “But I'm going to leave it up to the NFL. They can see I left my feet before he threw it. It was just a hard-effort play ... I wasn't trying to be dirty. Not trying to kill him. Just trying to make a good play.”
Harbaugh declined to be specific but said the Ravens are inquiring with the league about some calls during the game.
“We are sending different plays to the league for further explanation,” Harbaugh said. “I don't know if I'm at liberty to comment on which plays they are.”
Ngata wants more: Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata tallied two sacks against Cincinnati on Monday, the third time he's done that in his career. Ngata's now focused on a new goal.
“I better hurry and try to get to three sacks in one game,” he said.
Rainey returns: In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the Ravens waived undrafted rookie running back Bobby Rainey before Monday's game against Cincinnati and re-signed Anthony Allen to the 53-man roster. Rainey cleared waivers Tuesday and signed with Baltimore's practice squad.
Rainey initially beat out Allen this training camp but Baltimore decided Allen had more special teams value.
Injury report: Harbaugh said the Ravens came out of Monday's game without any serious injuries. Safety Ed Reed strained his hamstring and cornerback Corey Graham injured his leg, though neither injury is considered serious.