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The decline of Ravens running back Bernard Pierce

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The third-year running back had big expectations entering the season, but has fallen short since.

Mitchell Layton

Bernard Pierce had some big expectations entering 2014. He drew comparisons to Arian Foster, who's been one of the best running backs in the NFL in Gary Kubiak's system. The expectations grew as Ray Rice was released after Week One.

Unfortunately, he hasn't lived up to those expectations this season.

In Week 1, he fumbled on his sixth carry and was unofficially benched. He did have a good game in Week 2, rushing 22 times for 96 yards. He would miss Week 3 with a thigh injury and, although he was healthy and active for Week 4, he didn't play at all.

In Week 5, he would carry the ball four times for 30 yards. Week 6 would have him carry the ball 15 times for 32 yards and a touchdown. Week 7 would see Pierce carry the ball eight times for 21 yards and a touchdown. In both those games he averaged less than three yards a carry ,and while he did score in those games, they both came after victory was firmly in the Ravens' grasp. In Week 8, Pierce was a healthy scratch.

In three out of eight games Pierce was an inactive. In one game he was unofficially benched. In two out of the three he missed he was completely healthy during those games. In three out of the four games he played in, he either got very little carries or carries when the game was decided. He's had one good game this season.

Unfortunately for Pierce he's been outperformed by Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro. Forsett is currently one of the best running backs in the NFL and Taliaferro has scored four touchdowns this year, which is one less than Pierce has scored his whole career.

The decline of Bernard Pierce is an unfortunate turn of events for him. But that's the way it goes in the NFL sometimes.