Ray Rice and Ravens thrive after the bye

October, 28, 2013
10/28/13
10:30
AM ET
The Baltimore Ravens have been confident in saying they'll use the extra time during the bye week to improve. Their track record says they will, or at least immediately following an extended break.

Since 2002, Baltimore is 10-1 after byes, which is the best mark in the NFL. The Ravens are a perfect 5-0 after byes under coach John Harbaugh and have been impressive in doing so.

Baltimore has won all five of those games by double digits, including a 25-15 win at Cleveland last season. Under Harbaugh, the Ravens' average margin of victory following the week-long break has been 16.4 points.

A common theme in the Ravens' success after byes has been running back Ray Rice. Since being named the team's featured back in 2009, Rice has produced 91.5 yards rushing in the game following the bye. He has scored two touchdowns in those four games. In last season's win at Cleveland, Rice ran for 98 yards and a touchdown.

Rice has been among the Ravens' biggest disappointments this season. He is averaging 2.8 yards per carry and is on pace to finish with 553 yards rushing.

A hip injury in Week 2 slowed Rice earlier this season, but the three-time Pro Bowl runner believes he's now at full strength. The bye week certainly gave him more time to rest up for the second half of the season.

"I got my step back," Rice said after he gained 45 yards in an Oct. 20 loss at the Steelers, the last time he spoke to reporters before the bye. "That’s exciting for me going into the second half of the year. I get a bye week, came out with no injuries, and my legs are feeling a lot better. I’m looking forward to doing some damage.”

Rice and the Ravens look to continue their strong run after byes with a trip to Cleveland on Sunday. The Browns allowed 136 yards rushing Sunday at Kansas City.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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