Instead of essentially abandoning the running game as they did a week earlier during the second half of a 24-23 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Ravens made running back Ray Rice a vital part of the offense for most of the game Sunday night against the New England Patriots.
A 7-yard touchdown run by Rice briefly pushed the Ravens to a 21-20 advantage in the third quarter.
Giving the football to Rice continues to be an effective strategy for offensive coordinator Cam Cameron. Rice rushed for a game-high 101 yards on 20 carries, averaging 5.05 yards per carry. Rice also contributed three receptions but generated only 10 yards.
Cameron had drawn criticism for not calling Rice's number in any of the Ravens' short-yardage situations against the Eagles.
Just as the Ravens were building some momentum with Rice, though, rookie running back Bernard Pierce was brought into the game in the fourth quarter and was stuffed in the backfield short of the first down.
Belichick heckles the refs
Patriots coach Bill Belichick (Annapolis) apparently didn't get the memo from NFL senior vice president of football operations Ray Anderson warning coaches to not verbally bully the replacement officials.
Belichick was visibly irate after a questionable offensive pass interference call on Edelman JulianEdelmanthe first quarter where he was flagged for contact with Ravens cornerback Cary Williams. However, the contact appeared minimal . And it enraged Belichick, who was spotted yelling at the officials on at least one other occasion. The Patriots were forced to settle for a 49-yard field goal by Stephen Gostkowski. .
Welker gets deep
The reports of veteran wide receiver Wes Welker being phased out of the Patriots' offense appear to be premature.
When cornerback Lardarius Webb blitzed Tom Brady and free safety Ed Reed didn't hustle over in time, Brady launched a 59-yard pass to Welker.
There has been speculation that Welker, a franchise player, had fallen out of favor with the Patriots' organization due to his contract stalemate, a piece of business that played out far more publicly than the secretive AFC East franchise prefers.
A painful nerve impingement in his neck and shoulder has periodically affected EdReed for the past few seasons, occasionally hampering his tackling effectiveness.