Maybe the Baltimore Ravens should just erase the playbook and draw up different dump-off passes to Ray Rice.
Rice, who made perhaps the signature play of the NFL season when he took a checkdown pass from Joe Flacco 29 yards on a fourth-and-29 against San Diego, made a similar play late in the first half of a quiet wild-card game against the Colts.
Indianapolis got a great play by receiver T.Y. Hilton late in the second quarter to set up a field goal on the last play of the half, but the Ravens had a 10-6 lead into halftime thanks to Rice on what started as a seemingly innocent screen pass to the right.
The play started with Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis engaging Rice, but Flacco making a nice play to buy enough time for the running back to wiggle free. Rice made a smart play to cut it inside, and once Rice gets in the open field he’s tough to get a handle on.
He outran Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman, and with a slight stiff-arm he got free. Then came the best part of the play. Rice gave a brilliant stutter step fake to safety Tom Zbikowski, leaving him flat-footed at about the 28-yard line. Rice blew past him and wasn’t caught until he was at the 2-yard line, after a gain of 47 yards.
That set up a 2-yard touchdown run by Vonta Leach on the next play for the first touchdown of the first half with 50 seconds left to go.
The play is a great reminder to new Ravens play-caller Jim Caldwell: Getting the ball to Ray Rice in space is never a bad thing.
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