T. Smith Has Huge Day, Breaks Records

John Harbaugh says the rookie is showing signs of being a ‘complete receiver.’

Posted by Garrett Downing on Sunday, November 20th, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Categories: 2011 Season Gameday, Garrett Downing, Week 11 vs Bengals

Torrey Smith continues to find ways to make big plays.

The Ravens rookie wide receiver etched his name in the Ravens record books and had one of the best days of his young career on Sunday, catching six passes for 165 yards and one touchdown.

“He is a real difference for this offense against that team,” quarterback Joe Flacco said after the game.

Smith’s performance moved him into first place for receiving yards in a season (590) by a Ravens rookie, and he became the first receiver in team history to record two games in a season with at least 150 receiving yards.

“To me now, it’s just football, understanding the game plan, understanding my role, and basically understanding that every little thing you do is important,” Smith said.

Smith’s role was once again vital on Sunday, as he caught the game-winning touchdown pass in Sunday’s 31-24 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, moving the Ravens into first place in the AFC North.

His touchdown reception came early in the fourth quarter, when he put his breakaway speed on display and blew by the Bengals secondary to catch the ball in the back of the end zone. The touchdown was scored one play after an interception by Ladarius Webb, and it gave the Ravens a 31-14 lead, which Baltimore would barely hold onto for the victory.

“We all knew it was time for us to get seven,” Smith said. “It was great timing on our part, great protection by the offensive line and a great throw by Joe.”

The Ravens drafted Smith in the second round of the NFL draft because they liked his deep-threat potential and ability to stretch opposing defenses. He has shown that speed in games this year, but on Sunday he demonstrated additional wrinkles in his game by catching underneath routes and out patterns.

“He’s making more and more catches when he has opportunities to make them,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “I like all the other things too – the out route, the inside breaking routes he’s making some plays on. That’s part of becoming a complete receiver.”

Through his first 11 games, Smith has enjoyed a memorable rookie season.

He burst onto the scene with touchdown receptions on the first three catches of his career in the Ravens’ win over St. Louis in Week 3.

Then he caught a game-winning pass with eight seconds remaining to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.

Sunday’s game was just the most recent impressive performance.

“He came up with big plays.” Harbaugh said.

Smith’s record day could have been even bigger if it weren’t for an unfortunate play in the second quarter when he was tackled in one of the most uncomfortable ways possible – by his hair. Cincinnati defender Adam Jones grabbed Smith’s dreadlocks from behind and used them to pull him to the ground, which is a legal play because the hair is considered part of the jersey.

“I thought I was going to score, and the next thing I know, I was getting dragged down by my dreads,” Smith said. “It didn’t hurt at all. I was surprised by it.”

Even after the play, Smith isn’t planning to cut off the dreads anytime soon.

“I honestly thought about it,” Smith said. “But my grandma likes it a little too much. I’m a momma and grandmamma’s boy, at least for now.”

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