Well, overpaid and overrated are very big stretches here considering he is already over 1,000 yards for the season once again. Let's not go here, because it's selling Rice short.
That said, he did frustrate me a couple times last night with those inside cuts into traffic. There were two specific runs I can remember that if he just stayed to the outside or if he kept on his line he was heading on, he would have picked up multiple extra yards and even a 1st down or two. But on those two runs he cut back in and was met by someone that wouldn't have gotten to him otherwise. He ran right into defenders and it cost us yards.
I don't know why Rice doesn't run to the outside much, but it's something he needs to start doing more of.
Rice is a very capable back. The problem is he seems to be the only source of offense a lot of the time. So teams key on him, shut him down. Then Cam has to break out the crayons on the sideline and figure something else out besides hand the ball to Rice or throw the ball to Rice. It isn't as bad this year as it has been in the past. The Ravens are finally looking to get the ball into the hands of someone other than Rice at least some of the time. But when that Rice well runs dry it seems to affect the entire game plan.
The point that the OP is trying to make is that, excuses are more often made for Rice after a bad game, than for Flacco following a bad game. I agree with the OP. He threw in some over the top frustration, but I agree with the sentiment.
When Rice struggled in the playoffs the past two years, it was the offensive line's fault for not opening holes. Joe Flacco can have one bad game passing and, 'this passing offense hasn't proven that it can be a consistent threat, so let's get back to giving Rice the ball'. That's the mentality around here and around the city, and I think it's been this way for a few years.
When some posters try to show that Rice is one of those home run backs who will more consistently gain 2 yards over and over, before striking one for fifteen, other posters have decided to lean on the YPC average as the backbone to their argument.
When the passing offense gets into a rut, yes, there will be mention of dropped passes or poor protection, but there is no doubt that Flacco will shoulder the blame in the eyes of most Ravens fans. It does get frustrating after a while, because it's like nobody has jack to say when Rice has one of his 18 carry 45 yard games where they try to force feed him.
Rice's numbers have not been great as of late. Meanwhile, Pierce hasn't had nearly as much trouble gaining yardage with the touches he has received. Why is that? Is the offensive line suddenly blocking better for him? We know how Rice is, but just as much as some posters claim we try to make Flacco out to be more than what he is, the same is done to Rice. Rice is a back who will consistently give you short runs, before breaking the big one. We all know how he gets when he gets frustrated. He stops following Leach/the play in general. Harbaugh's got on him about it. Leach has got on him about it. Wilbert Montgomery has got on him about it and even Ray Lewis has talked to him about it.
Surprise, surprise, Leachisabeast, Benard Pierce needs more carries.
That said, Rice has left more yards on the field this year than last thusfar, imo. And Pierce is more dynamic and younger than our past back-ups (so should get more carries than they did, not less) I agree on those points.