By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
11:20 PM EST, December 23, 2012
Ravens rookie backup running back Bernard Pierce bolted through a gaping hole created by fullback Vonta Leach and offensive guard Marshal Yanda, and he didn't stop until he reached the New York Giants' one-yard line.
It was a career-high 78 yard run as Pierce scooted away from pursuit until being caught from behind by cornerback Jayron Hosley in the fourth quarter of the Ravens' 33-14 victory over the defending Super Bowl champions on Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.
"I hit the hole and I saw the safety coming down and I thought to myself, 'Run away from him,' because he was coming down pretty fast," Pierce said. "I kind of took a little right turn, put my head down and started running."
The Ravens gained a season-high 226 rushing yards, topping the 186 yards they gained in a 31-28 overtime loss to the Washington Redskins.
"It seemed like they had 13 guys on the field, and then two would run off," Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn said. "The one long run at the end, we just can't give up."
And the third-round draft pick from Temple finished the game with a career-high 123 rushing yards on just 14 carries as he averaged 8.8 yards per rush.
Both Pierce and Pro Bowl running back Ray Rice, who gained 107 yards on 24 carries, eclipsed the century mark.
"It felt great," said Pierce, who returned one week after suffering a concussion. "I'm very excited for myself and I'm really excited because I feel like we're going to accomplish our goals this year."
Pierce was cleared for contact Saturday after passing his baseline neurological test.
"I've had a concussion before, so I know my body," Pierce said. "By Wednesday or Thursday, I was really starting to feel better."
For the season, Pierce has gained 443 yards and scored one touchdown as the replacement for Ricky Williams following his abrupt retirement.
"I joked with him," said Rice, who has rushed for 1,138 yards and nine touchdowns. "I said we've got one thing in common: We do get caught from behind. We've got two different running styles, but it was great to see him go over 100. He's definitely been a great complement to me. He's a student of the game, and he's only going to get better."