One of the lasting images from last season's two Ravens-Bengals games -- both won by the Ravens -- is Ray Rice running in the open field.
The Ravens back broke off three runs of 50-plus yards against Cincinnati last season, essentially ripping through a defense that ranked 10th in the league against the run.
Rice had 20 carries for 104 yards and two scores in the Ravens' 31-24 win over the Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium, including a 59-yard run early in the third quarter.
Then in the regular-season finale, a 24-16 Ravens win, Rice carried 24 times for 191 yards, including touchdown runs of 70 and 51 yards.
"Ray Rice has tremendous balance. He has great speed," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "With his lower center of gravity, hes a great cut-runner. He has ability to run through the arm tackles. When he gets a crack, hes got enough speed to make it a bigger play.
"You have to get in your gaps, stay on your feet and make the tackle," Lewis added. "Thats how you prevent any run from going the distance. ... You cant give up those explosive plays like that. That makes for a long day."
In the first meeting, at M&T Bank Stadium, the Ravens brought Torrey Smith in motion for what looked like a possible end around. The Ravens had run two straight end-arounds the week before in Seattle, so the Bengals were ready.
Except the ball never went to Smith. It went to Rice, who blasted up the middle for 59 yards.
Then in the regular-season finale at Cincinnati, Smith again came in motion on a possible end around. Instead, Rice shot through a gap off right tackle, thanks in part to a punishing block from Vonta Leach, and went 70 yards for a score.
"You don't just run at a group like that," Rice said. "You scheme up runs like that. ... They play the run really well, but the big runs we had it's usually one guy out of place, or it's a missed tackle or something that we schemed up."
Offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, though, gave credit to the players.
It was discipline on Rays part of running his track and his course, reading his key, and every guy getting a guy blocked, Cameron said at his weekly session with the media on Friday. We got people covered up, we got a hat on a hat, we got him to the point of attack where he can be aggressive, and then he did the rest once he broke free.