ST. LOUIS -- With his first three carries, Bernard Pierce had 27 yards.
On his next five, he netted zero.
Getting his first start in the final game of the preseason, that was the extent of his contribution Thursday vs. the St. Louis Rams.
"You're supposed to prepare like starter even though you're not a starter," Pierce said. "Same mentality. Same everything. Nothing changed.
"I played alright. I could've (done) better."
Limited by a hamstring injury during training camp, Pierce is rounding into form as the runner that coach John Harbaugh evnvisioned when the Ravens moved up in the draft to select him in the third round. He'll likely be the No. 2 back behind Ray Rice.
"The hamstring is getting healthier. We're starting to see a little more of what he's capable of doing," Harbaugh said.
After getting out to a fast start, the Rams' first-string defense slowed down the run.
"They're more fundaentally sound than any second team I've played so far. It's definitely a good eye-opener," Pierce said. "But as far as my performance against them I think that I have room to up my level of play.
"They started changing the defense up. They started playing wider and they started trying to get the three technique up field. Once that happened they actually shut off the outside."
The Ravens were held to 82 yards on 22 carries.
Once Pierce is healthy, he's certain he'll have an even better explosion. Thursday represented progress.
"My hamstring has gotten a lot better," he said. "I'm able to run the way I like to run."