Thin group of WRs come up big for Ravens

Thin group of WRs come up big for Ravens
October 6, 2013, 5:15 pm
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Harbaugh on the receivers stepping up against Miami

Jacoby Jones remained sidelined with a knee injury. Marlon Brown missed the game with a hamstring injury. Brandon Stokley wasn't even on the team anymore, released on Saturday. That left the Ravens with just three wide receivers at Miami -- Torrey Smith, Deonte Thompson and Tandon Doss -- and all three came up big to help the Ravens escape with a 26-23 win.

Smith was again the star of the Ravens receiving show, but Thompson and Doss also contributed, particularly during a 94-yard scoring drive that gave the Ravens a 23-13 lead early in the fourth quarter.

On that drive, the Ravens' longest of the season, the receivers totaled four catches for 47 yards. Smith caught passes of 12 and 22 yards, Doss had a 7-yard catch on third-and-2 that moved the chains, and Thompson caught a 6-yard pass that set up the Ravens with first-and-goal at the 3. Ray Rice scored on the next play.

Earlier in the second half, Smith and Thompson both drew pass interference penalties that set up Rice's first touchdown. Doss had a 40-yard catch after making a great adjustment to turn and look over his other shoulder, and that set up a field goal by Justin Tucker.

Smith, who came into the game ranked second in the league with an average catch of 20.7 yards, was right about at that average again, with six catches for 121 yards.

When the Ravens needed their No. 1 receiver to step up, he did, making key catches in virtually every big Ravens drive. On the Ravens' final possession, which ended with Tucker's game-winning 44-yard field goal, Smith hauled in a 14-yard pass to the Dolphins' 34, effectively putting the Ravens in field goal range.

Doss' story of redemption continued with three catches for 58 yards. After a disappointing training camp, Doss was among the final cuts but then was signed back after Jones was hurt and has played a big role on offense as well as on special teams. Thompson, who was playing in just his second game after missing most of camp with an ankle injury, had two catches for 11 yards. But the 38-yard pass interference penalty he drew also showed how his speed can create problems for a defense.

Smith was already a known quantity. But when they absolutely needed to do so, Doss and Thompson both showed they can be a factor in this offense.