The Baltimore Ravens have one of the best multi-talented players in the league in RB Ray Rice. Conversely, the San Francisco 49ers may have a multi-talented QB leading the way, but veteran RB Frank Gore is the bull that leads the charge for his team.
Ray Rice is in his 5th season in the NFL and the 5'8", 212 pound running back is elusive, yet still tough to bringdown based on his low center of gravity. Just ask the San Diego Chargers, who Rice burned for a 29.5 yard gain on the now-famous 4th and 29. Rice carried the ball 257 times, gaining 1,143 yards, a 4.4 yard/carry average. He scored nine rushing TD's and his long run was for 46 yards.
Frank Gore is in his 8th NFL season and stands an inch taller (5'9") and fiver pounds heavier (217 lbs.) than his Baltimore counterpart. Gore carried the ball one more time in the regular season than Rice (258 attempts) and gained 71 more yards (1,214 yards), for a 4.8 yard/carry average, scoring eight TDs, with a long run of 37 yards.
The difference between the two backs appears more evident when the ball is in the air. Rice caught 61 passes in the regular season compared to 28 for Gore, and for twice as many receiving yards.
49ers QB Colin Kaepernick is the team's second leading rusher (63 carries for 415 yards), but RB Kendall Hunter (72 carries for 371 yards) was Gore's backup. Hunter is out for the season and now LaMichael James (27 carries for 125 yards) is now the backup.
On the Ravens side, rookie Bernard Pierce spelled Rice more often as the season progressed (108 carries for 532 yards), but it has been the post season where Pierce has shined (27 carries for 169 yards), averaging over six yards a carry.
While it is obvious that both teams boast strong running games that can wear down opponents, it is obvious that a non-running back may be the biggest concern running the ball and that player's ability to run along wth the opponent's ability to stop him could end up being the deciding factor in deciding Super Bowl 47.
See the earlier post of the comparison of Ray Lewis vs. Patrick Willis.
See the earlier post of the comparison of Joe Flacco vs. Colin Kaepernick.
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