Rice was Nice but Torrey was the Story

November 22, 2011 | Thyrl Nelson

You could say that Torrey Smith had his coming out party in St. Louis in week 3, and if he were simply the field stretching, one-trick pony that many thought him to be, that would be the case. Likewise, you could say that Sunday’s win by the Ravens over the surprising Cincinnati Bengals was born out of a commitment to Ray Rice and the running game (and to some degree it was), but as the Ravens slugged out a hard fought victory against those Bengals no one was more impactful than the Ravens’ rookie wide receiver.

It wasn’t all positive, the impact of Smith, but mostly it was, and save a 2-yard TD drive that was set up by fellow rookie Jimmy Smith’s interception and subsequent fumble to the 2-yard line, Torrey Smith was integral in each of the Ravens scoring drives on Sunday, and had a far greater impact than even his gaudy stat line (165 yards and a TD) would suggest.


Either the Bengals did a good job of stifling Smith for the Ravens first 3 series, or the Ravens simply failed to involve him, but coincidentally or not, the Ravens came up empty on their first three possessions against the Bengals and Smith had no impact on any of those drives despite being on the field for 10 of the Ravens 12 plays in those series.


By the time the Ravens got the ball for their 4th possession of the game, they were trailing the Bengals 7-0 and feeling the ire of the capacity crowd at M&T Bank stadium. After picking up a first down to keep the drive alive through Ed Dickson, Joe Flacco found Anquan Boldin heading up the right seam for the Ravens first TD and a 7-7 tie.


On the TD play, Boldin started on the left side of the offensive formation with Smith on the right. As Smith went deep to the back right corner of the end zone, taking a defender with him, Boldin dragged across the zone and found a soft spot on the right hash mark. As Flacco broke the pocket to his right and appeared to look for Smith in the end zone, the safety in the middle of the field bolted toward the corner, even the 2 defenders nearest to Boldin appeared to lean toward Smith (as if they could do anything about a potential throw from Flacco at that point) giving Boldin all of the space he’d need to dart straight toward the end zone, veering ever so slightly to the left and away from the crowd headed toward Smith in the back right corner.


On the next Ravens offensive series, their 5th of the game, the Ravens began their drive with Smith dragging right to left and catching a 13-yard 1st down on their first play. It was a nice throw by Flacco to put it where only Smith could get it, and a nice pick up by Smith on a ball low and away. On the next play, Flacco found Smith on their “bread and butter”, a deep shot down the right sideline with Smith catching and going out of bounds at the 4-yard line and setting up a Ray Rice dive for the Ravens second TD and a 14-7 lead.