Running back Ray Rice signed a five-year contract extension with Baltimore this afternoon. The Baltimore Sun has the details.
Drafted by Baltimore in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft, Rice played little in his rookie season but has emerged over the past three years as an elite running back, probably among the top three in the AFC. And while he hasn't consistently tortured the Steelers, he clearly has that potential.
In seven-regular season games against Pittsburgh, Rice has 104 carries for 431 yards and 2 TDs, an average of 4.14 yards-per-carry and 61.6 yards-per-game; and 18 catches for 193 yards and a touchdown, an average of 10.72 yards-per-reception and 27.6 yards-per-game. However, that's slightly skewed downwards because of a one-carry for zero yards and no receptions game early in his rookie season.
During last year's season opener in Baltimore, Rice single-handedly made the Steelers defense look old, slow and over, slashing his way to 107 yards and a touchdown, plus 42 receiving yards and a touchdown. The Ravens went on to win 35-7. To that point the Steelers had only two 100+-yard rushers in 51 games and both times it was Rice. The other was a 141-yard output in a 23-20 Steelers win in late 2009.
Rice's other four games included rushing efforts of 88, 20, 32, and 43 yards.
The Ravens enjoy a 4-3 record over Pittsburgh in regular season games when Rice starts.
However, in two postseason games against the Steelers, Rice was held in check almost to be a non factor. In the 2008 AFC Championship -- his rookie season -- Rice had one carry for two yards and 3 receptions for 43 yards. In the 2010 AFC Divisional game, he had a paltry 32-yards on the ground, though he did score a touchdown.
For what it's worth, the Steelers had not one, but two chances to select Rice in 2008, instead taking Rashard Mendenhall in the first round and Limas Sweed in the second. That's not a jab at Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin. At the time, Mendenhall was very much the more highly rated back, and Sweed was seen as a steal in the second round, plus there were plenty of concerns over Rice's diminutive size.
Mendenhall, while having shown flashes of immense talent, is a bit more inconsistent, injury prone and occassionally flaky (see: Bin Laden tweets). Sweed is now out of football (though he'll always have that crucial and thunderous block on Corey Ivy the 2008 AFC Championship game).
Finally, there is still no movement on a contract for Ed Reed.