When Torrey Smith came to the Ravens one season ago, whether or not he could blossom into a true No. 1 receiver wasn’t certain.
After what he did in Sunday’s 25-15 win vs. the Cleveland Browns, he may have solidified his place.
Smith caught a pass from Joe Flacco, stopped on a dime, pivoted around Browns cornerback Joe Haden and ran 19 yards to bring the Ravens from behind in the fourth quarter to retake a lead they’d never relinquish.
“Torrey is way ahead of where most people thought he’d be. To me, he’s right on schedule. I was a Torrey Smith guy. I’ll take full credit,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh to a room of laughter. “I was a ‘glass half-full’ guy on Torrey. He’s becoming a route-runner, and that’s the one thing that people said he wouldn’t become.”
The receiving corps has been inconsistent at best this season. Smith began with a 52-yard catch on the Ravens’ first play from scrimmage in the season-opening blowout of the Cincinnati Bengals.
In Smith's best game of the season, a 31-30 come-from-behind win vs. the New England Patriots just a few days after his younger brother died, he had six catches for a season-high 127 yards and two touchdowns.
Smith is fourth on the team with 29 catches but second with 481 receiving yards. Anquan Boldin leads the Ravens in both categories (36 for 510), but Smith has a team-high five touchdowns.
Boldin has been Flacco’s go-to guy during key stretches of games to move the chains. It was a 21-yard catch to Boldin that jump-started Baltimore that allowed it to get in position for Smith to make a play.
“He’s becoming a guy that can make spectacular catches, and that’s another thing that some of the naysayers said he couldn’t do,” Harbaugh said. “But Torrey is a special guy.”
Harbaugh would like to get receivers Jacoby Jones and Tandon Doss involved in the offense, which tends to become stale, much like rookie Bernard Pierce took a greater role in the running game. Pierce had his first TD as a pro against Cleveland.
Jones and Doss went without catches in that game.
“Anquan and Torrey are doing a great job, but let’s get Jacoby out there a little more, let’s get Tandon out there a little more,” Harbaugh said. “Torrey and Anquan … they’ll play every play. They’ll go until they can’t, so we keep mixing in. We’ve got some play-makers, and we can mix them in a little more.”