Tuesday, October 14, 2014, 12:46pm
There’s been chatter around Baltimore as to who the Ravens’ top running back is in their strong rushing game. On Sunday in Tampa Bay, Forsett took another step in proving he’s the guy.
Forsett and the now healthy Pierce split the carries – Forsett got 14 and Pierce had 15. But Forsett took his for 111 yards (7.9 yard average), and Pierce totaled 32 yards (2.1 average) and a touchdown on his attempts.
Forsett got his fourth straight start, and kick-started the Ravens offense with a 52-yard jaunt on their second play of the game.
Forsett, who still leads the NFL in average yards per carry (6.4), hadn’t logged a 100-yard game since 2009, his second year in the league when he was with the Seattle Seahawks. Forsett is fifth in the NFL with 408 rushing yards, trailing only Dallas' DeMarco Murray, Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell, Houston's Arian Foster and Philadelphia's LeSean McCoy. It didn't appear Forsett would step up to the lead role and keep it with the younger Pierce and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro as part of the running attack. For now, Forsett is taking advantage of his opportunities despite splitting carries with Pierce.
Justin Forsett remains the safest choice to play in the Ravens' running-back-by-committee approach. Forsett is averaging 83 total yards per game, and coach John Harbaugh said there are no plans to reduce Forsett's snaps. The Ravens like Forsett's ability to break tackles so much that he has become the primary red zone back.
Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh was asked Monday whether he was comfortable sticking with the hot hand at running back or if he preferred one back to step up to become the featured runner.
"I don't really care. It doesn't matter," Harbaugh said. "I just want yards. I want us to be averaging 4.5 to 5 yards per carry, and 5 yards a carry is what will lead the league. To do that, we have to rip off some long runs. And let's be good with three different guys. That's what we need to do."
The Ravens' running back by committee is working. The Ravens rank No. 9 in the NFL with an average of 4.7 yards per carry, and they're doing it by being the only team with three backs who have over 30 carries.
Justin Forsett, who has started the past three games, is the leading rusher with 297 yards. But Harbaugh made a point to say that he wants more carries for Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro. You get the sense that Harbaugh liked what he saw out of Pierce, whose four runs went for 13, 12, 3 and 3 yards, according to the story. Against the Panthers, Taliaferro was the closer and came on in the second half against a tired Panther defense, but didn't see much time when the Ravens trailed against the Colts Week 5. It very well could depend on how the game is going in terms of how each back is used. At least for now, Forsett is probably the safest among the three.
Monday, October 6, 2014, 10:50am
Ravens running back Bernard Pierce ran hard through the middle for a pair of first downs in the third quarter Sunday, displaying no effects of a quadriceps injury that had hampered him for the past few weeks.
Despite Pierce gaining 13 yards and 12 yards on his first two carries, the drive stalled and he would see limited playing time overall in his first game back. Pierce finished with 30 yards on four carries in the Ravens' 20-13 loss to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday at Lucas Oil Stadium. It was his first action since getting hurt prior to the Ravens’ win last month over the Cleveland Browns.
“I felt good, like I was able to contribute to the best of my ability,” Pierce said. “Hopefully, that’s a start of more to come. Once I got in the game, it was starting to get away from us a little bit. We had to switch it up and go back to the air game.”
The Ravens ran the ball a season-low 15 times for 90 yards, but averaged six yards per carry, led by Justin Forsett’s 42 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro carried just five times for 18 yards. Forsett did add seven catches for 55 yards, and with the return of Pierce, seems to be the go-to guy in this crowded backfield right now.
Friday, October 3, 2014, 6:19pm
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 5. Pierce was held out of Week 4 after practicing fully last week. He may have fallen behind Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro on the depth chart, but we won’t know for sure until we see what happens against the Colts.
Thursday, October 2, 2014, 6:31pm
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh) took full practice reps again Thursday. Pierce was held out of Week 4 after practicing fully last week. He may have fallen behind Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro on the depth chart.
"When you first saw him come out here, it’s like, 'Whoa, he’s good.' He’s better than his reputation," Harbaugh said. "He’s underrated. You could see that right away. [He] had such a great feel for the offense. But I don’t know if I really could have guessed that he’d break tackles like he does. He’s really doing a great job in yards after the hit. That has been a strength, and you wouldn’t assume that just looking at him."
Forsett not only is an unexpected starter for the 3-1 Ravens but also is leading all qualified NFL running backs in yards per carry (5.8). Last season, the Ravens' top two running backs, Ray Rice (3.1) and Bernard Pierce (2.9), ranked in the bottom four in the league in rushing average.
Wednesday, October 1, 2014, 6:31pm
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh) practiced fully Wednesday. Pierce was held out of Week 4 after practicing fully last week. He may have fallen behind Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro on the depth chart.
Justin Forsett was the lead back for most of the game, and excelled in the role, before rookie and Lorenzo Taliaferro came on. The Ravens RB situation should still be considered muddy at this point. Last time Pierce played he performed well against the Steelers and last week it was Taliferro who shined.
Friday, September 26, 2014, 6:33pm
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh, probable) took full practice reps all week and is probable for Week 4. Pierce will play, though his place in the pecking order is unclear after a nice game from rookie runner Lorenzo Taliaferro. Even the Baltimore running backs don’t know how the touches will be divvied up, as OC Gary Kubiak indicated that he was going to take a “hot hand” approach.
There's no word yet on which running back will start or see the most touches for the Ravens...
"They're all going to play," OC Gary Kubiak said. "We're going to keep a fresh guy on the field -- that's what we're going to do -- and if we feel like one guys has the hot hand so to speak, then obviously he's going to go back out. I want them all to prepare as if they're starting."
Thursday, September 25, 2014, 6:48pm
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh) took full practice reps again Thursday. Pierce is likely to play, though his place in the pecking order is unclear after a nice game from rookie runner Lorenzo Taliaferro.
Wednesday, September 24, 2014, 7:09pm
Friday, September 19, 2014, 7:09pm
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh, questionable) took full practice reps on Friday after being limited earlier in the week and is questionable for Week 3. Pierce’s questionable tag means that he’s no sure thing to play through the thigh injury. Justin Forsett would likely see a big workload, though Lorenzo Taliaferro might start to see some touches in a change-of-pace role.
Thursday, September 18, 2014, 6:30pm
Ravens RB Bernard Pierce (thigh) was added to the injury report Thursday after taking limited practice reps. Midweek downgrades are never a good sign. We’ll monitor his progress this week. Justin Forsett would be a Sneaky Start if Pierce can’t play.
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