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Ravens need to get Rice cooking

FOXBOROUGH, Mass - The Ravens have to do a better job of establishing Ray Rice as an offensive presence than they did last week against Houston.

Baltimore’s leading rusher and receiver, Rice ran 21 times for 60 yards – an average of 2.9 yards a carry – with a long of just nine yards against and four receptions for 60 yards. To keep New England’s potent offense off the field, Rice has to be more of a factor in the run game.

“That’s who we are, that’s what we do,’’ Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. “Our offense is still evolving to some degree, but it’s built for this division. We’ve tried to build this offense to win a division championship first, and then a conference championship second, and then on from there. A big part of that in this division is being able to run the football.’’

The running game is an underrated element of the Ravens, who ranked 10th in the NFL with 1,996 yards and an average of 4.3 yards a carry. Rice rushed for a career high 1,364 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Rice has enjoyed success before against New England in the postseason when he ran for 159 yards and scored twice in a 33-14 Ravens win. Rice set the tone with an 83-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage.

“He obviously has the speed to go outside and the speed to go the distance,’’ New England coach Bill Belichick said. “He reads blocks well, he’s got good vision, excellent receiver and they use him on screens and check downs and things like that. …He’s a good all-around player.’’

---Rodney McKissic

(www.twitter.com/rodneyjmckissic)

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