If you’ve ever found yourself questioning the legitimacy of the “Superbowl hangover,” take a look at the Baltimore Ravens 2013 season so far. At 4-6 and hardly in the race for a wildcard spot, the biggest wrench in their success (among a plethora of other downfalls) has been their inability to run the ball.
After a hip injury limited the workload of starting running back Ray Rice, backup Bernard Pierce attempted to shoulder some of Rice’s burden. Expectedly, Pierce began to hurt his team more than help it. Pierce has averaged 2.7 yards per carry and only scored twice in 2013. Many believe his extreme lack of production is due to unreported injuries, but it’s now all too apparent that he is no more than a situational running back.
In their Week 11 loss to the ranked 31st run-defending Chicago Bears this past Sunday, the Ravens anticipated to get their rushing game back on track. This hope only half-manifested itself as Rice ran for 131 yards on 25 attempts and a touchdown. Pierce, on the other hand, might as well have crawled for his 18 yards on 10 carries.
Pierce has ultimately proven it might be time for the Ravens to phase him out. If he can’t do better than a 1.8 average against the 2nd to last ranked run defense in the NFL, there’s not much room for growth. His fantasy-worth goes without saying now that Rice may have found his footing. But more importantly, his worth to the Ravens could be in question.