Ravens rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith knew something special was going to happen Sunday in his first career start in the NFL against the St. Louis Rams.
“On the way to the stadium…excited about my first start..I have a good feeling about today,” Smith tweeted before this past weekend’s 4:15PM start against St. Louis.
Starting opposite Anquan Boldin in place of the injured Lee Evans, Smith quickly made up for his disappearance in the first two weeks of the season-catching five passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns.
Each of this three scores came on his first three grabs of the game.
His first came on a 74-yarder from quarterback Joe Flacco on the second offensive play for the Ravens, and a 41-yarder and an 18-yarder followed later in the quarter to put his team up 21-0 at the end of one and help lead the Ravens to a 37-7 blowout of the Rams.
It turned out his intuition was right. He felt confident in his abilities, and so did the coaching staff in him-as he told Glenn Clark on “The Reality Check” Tuesday.
“I was fine,” Smith told Clark. “They put me in that position in order to excel. The coaches and my teammates believed in me.”
Smith said that there could not have been a more helped or more prepared player on the field than he was Sunday-even receiving help from the guy he was filling in for in Lee Evans.
“You know, coach Hoss [Jim Hostler]-he’s been tough on me ever since I’ve gotten there,” Smith said. “Just having Coach Hoss and Harbaugh, Cam, Anquan and Lee; those guys just having the confidence in me and have helped me prepare… I was fine.”
What he and quarterback Joe Flacco prepared for in advance was knowing that the Rams were going to be physical in man-to-man coverage up the field.
“Our offense as a whole had a great week of practice, and I probably had my best week of practice as a Raven,” Baltimore’s second-round pick said. “For me, I was just ready.”
Smith-using his blazing speed-exploited the Rams’ tendency to perfection, and his quarterback capitalized off Smith’s route-running.
“Their pass defense was one of the top in the league heading into it, and they put a lot of pressure on the quarterback so we knew we were going to have to win some of the matchups on the outside,” Smith said. “I’m comfortable playing against corners and expecting to win.”
“I knew the ball was coming my way, I was just focused on trying to win, and Joe threw a great ball.”
And it didn’t take long for Joe to find Smith.
Smith said there was no way he expected to get the opportunity that early after being invisible in his offense the first two games of the season.
“That one happened so fast even if I did have something planned, I wouldn’t have been ready for it,” Torrey joked. “It was quick.”
But he was as ready as ever to make his first NFL reception count, and he did.
And it’s a moment he’ll remember the rest of his life.
“You know I looked at the coverage, saw it coming, and I was like ‘the ball’s coming to me.’ My guy was pressed, and I was going to get on my horse and run,” said Torrey.
“Joe threw a great ball and I peeked up at the TV screen after I caught it and saw that the safety had a little angle, and I was able to outrun his angle.”
Now all he has to do?
Prove the same doubters who called him a bust before Sunday-and who are now saying that his performance was a fluke-wrong.
He told Clark that he’s ready for that challenge and anything he can do to help his team continue to win football games.
But at the same time, he knows that it is one game, and wants people to know that he is going to still have his growing pains once in awhile this season.
“I’m still growing…still learning,” Smith said. “I am still going to be making mistakes, and I’m not going to catch every ball. But I’m still going to try to be the best that I can day in and day out.”
Still, he’s enjoyed the last several days with the extra attention and hopes it helps him gear up for a big game against the Jets Sunday night.
“I’m excited to play against this team,” said Smith. “And we have a lot to learn, and our offense is going to have a touch challenge ahead of us. I think coach Cam will put together a great gameplan and it’ll be nice to go out there and get it done.”
WNST thanks Torrey Smith for joining us and hopes that we’re talking about three-TD performances from Smith every week! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!