Steve Smith lives up to his promise
Steve Smith had more than a few choice words for his old team, the Carolina Panthers, when he found them on the Ravens schedule. He vowed to make them pay for not coming to terms with him before free agency earlier in the year, and boy did he ever.
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Smith set the tone for the game right off the bat when he made his first catch, and physically stiff armed DB Antoine Cason to the ground end route to a first down.
As luck would have it, Smith scored the first TD of the game on a tipped ball just out of reach of TE Owen Daniels. The ball fell right at the spot Smith was running his route to and caught it in stride. Then again, maybe Joe Flacco was going for Smith the whole time and Daniels just got in the way.
Smith finished the day with seven catches for 139 yards and two scores.
Give credit to Joe Flacco with his best performance in the young season. He was 22 of 31 for 327 yards, three TDs, zero INTs. You know you’re having a good day when you can fumble a snap, and still heave a touchdown pass, like he did on Steve Smith’s second score.
This was Joe Flacco’s 100th game of his career.
With a day like that from your quarterback, it’s safe to assume that everyone on the offense got involved. Flacco spread the ball around to seven different receivers despite his first action of the season without best friend, Dennis Pitta.
The only guy who it seemed didn’t get involved was Bernard Pierce who did not see the field, and was activated one week after missing the Browns game with a thigh issue. Pierce wasn’t contributing prior to the injury. Looking at how the coaches dispersed the rushing attempts (14 for Forsett, 15 for Taliaferro) it gives you a pretty good idea where Pierce stands on the pecking order.
Both Forsett and Taliaferro had broken off runs of over 20 yards today; something that was missing most of last season. But last season was a different offensive line then the one the Ravens are sporting. One that we had questions about as undrafted rookie, James Hurst, was tasked with protecting Joe Flacco’s blind side. The best compliment a lineman can get is to not have his name called at all, and that’s what Hurst did. He helped keep Joe Flacco off the turf for the third straight game. Flacco is on pace to fall well short of the 48 times he was sacked in 2013.
The offense racked up 454 total yards on the Carolina defense.
The Ravens defense did their part to hold Carolina to just 10 points. The secondary was exposed early on as a blown assignment between Jimmy Smith and Darian Stewart led to a Kelvin Benjamin touchdown grab. But the run defense was tough to beat yet again, holding the Panthers to 2.6 YPC. The defense is good, but they also got the chance to defend against the fourth team RB, Darrin Reaves, who entered the game when DeAngelo Williams left with an ankle injury. Johnathan Stewart was inactive battling a knee issue, and Mike Tolbert was placed on IR.
The blowout led to Derek Anderson coming in as relief for Cam Newton for the second straight week as Newton still nurses sore ribs.
We would be remised if we didn’t mention that on this day, Todd Heap was inducted into the Ravens Ring of Honor, and deservedly so. One of those players that will be left out of Canton, but deserves a spot in Ravens lore for years to come, leaving Baltimore as the team’s all-time leader in many receiving categories. The emcee was a fellow tight end, Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome. The fans reigned down “HEEEEAAAPPP” one more time.
Newton: 14/25, 197 yds, 1 TD
Williams: 11 attempts, 34 yds
Benjamin: 5 rec. 76 yds, 1 TD
Ravens stats w/ gRBZ (0.0 is average, 1.0+ is good)
Flacco: 22/31, 70.97%, 327 yds, 10.55 Y/A, 3 TD, 0 turnovers, gRBZ: 1.806. This is by this metric, the second best game of Joe Flacco’s career.
Forsett: 14 attempts, 66 yds, 3 rec., 31 yds, 1 TD
Taliaferro: 15 attempts, 58 yds, 1 TD
S. Smith: 7 rec., 139 yds, 2 TDs, gRBZ: 1.947. This is Smiths seventh best game of his career, thanks to the two scores.
T. Smith: 2 rec. 53 yds, 1 TD, gRBZ: 0.063
Mike was born on the Eastern Shore, raised in Finksburg, and currently resides in Parkville. In 2009, Mike graduated from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland. Mike became a Baltimore City Fire Fighter in late 2010. Mike has appeared as a guest on Q1370, and FOX45. Now a Sr. Ravens Analyst for BSL, he can be reached at [email protected]