Ray Rice might have single-handedly ended the Norv Turner era in San Diego Sunday with one of the most unbelievable fourth-down conversions in NFL history. OK, Turner still has a job, but if or when he gets fired for what’s happened to the Chargers this season, Rice’s fourth-and-29 play on the game-tying drive will be played over and over again in Turner’s memory.
Ray Rice joined Boomer and Carton (with Jay Mohr sitting in) on WFAN in New York to discuss his miraculous 29-yard gain on a fourth-and-29 against San Diego, the questionable block from Anquan Boldin on that play and what he thought of the controversial spot. He also talked about how this season feels different than others and the impending return of Ray Lewis.
On his fourth-and-29 conversion on a game-tying drive in the fourth quarter in San Diego:
“First thing I was thinking about No. 1 was obviously catching the ball. I saw the pocket collapsing on Joe, and it was just a routine checkdown, actually, that we just run. It was no miracle play that you can call in that kind of situation. So we called the checkdown, and once I got the ball, I knew the defense was gonna try to [get] me to the sideline. So when I got their hips to turn, all I saw was I had to make one guy miss, step on him and then I saw Eric Weddle coming. I saw Weddle coming but I knew if I kept going towards the sideline that he was going to have an angle to tackle me. But I also saw Anquan Boldin lining him up. So that’s when I just tried to get my foot in the ground and go north to set up Anquan Boldin’s block. And then I knew I had two defenders right there that I had to try to take on and at least get the first down. It was pretty interesting, but I’m glad to know that I got the first down, and whatever was questionable, it’s out of my hands now. It was a great play.”
On a controversial block from Boldin on Weddle:
“If you look closely, he actually did not lead with his head, and he got across his rib I think. Eric Weddle’s head actually hit my shoulder pad, and that’s what caused the whole thing that was going on. And I didn’t realize how hard he hit my shoulder pad because, obviously, adrenaline and everything else that’s going — you don’t realize the impact of a hit until the game’s over. But when I sat up — and me and Eric’s good buddies and he’s a great player, so I just shook his hand and asked him was he OK? I knew he was a little bit dazed down there. But it was a great effort on both ends. I’m glad he’s gonna be all right. But Anquan Boldin definitely got the best of that hit.”
On how that block/hit impacted the play:
“I actually felt it. That was the hit that actually almost knocked me over. And that’s what stumbled me. If I would have got through clean, I don’t think it would have been any question whether I would have got the first down or not because I was running with a full head of steam towards them two guys. That’s the hit that stumbled me up, but that was the hit that also got me free.”
On what he was thinking when they spotted the ball:
“I actually said a quick prayer. May the lord be on our side this time.”
On this year feeling different than past seasons:
“We’re sitting here at 9-2 and we’re one of the most pissed off 9-2 teams there is, because we always feel like we can get better. And that’s the difference between this year and any other year. But to know that we control our own destiny really feels good right now. And this is the first time I’ve ever been 9-2 in a season since I’ve been a professional, so it feels good. But at the same time, I know we’ve got some work to do. … Pittsburgh this week. I’ll be honest. It doesn’t matter who they have at quarterback, that rivalry’s never gonna change.”
On the feeling knowing Ray Lewis is going to come back this season:
“With that kind of injury, he could have clearly said, ‘I’m done.’ He could have made up his mind and said, ‘You know what? I’m done.’ But for him to work as hard as he is right now to come back and strap it up with us, it’s amazing. And that’s what leaves a guy like me like no choice. I’m in Year 5 and I play one of the most brutal positions in the game, but you got a guy that’s strapping it up for you with a torn tricep and trying to come back as fast as he can to help this team, that leaves a guy like me no choice to go out there and give it all I’ve got.”