Smith’s monster game propels Ravens to win over Bengals

Written by on November 20, 2011 in Ravens, Sports - No comments

If it wasn’t for his grandmother, Torrey Smith would seek a barber.

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Smith’s dreadlocks may look good for the ladies — his grandmother among them. But they weren’t his best feature after catching a short pass he took for 28 yards late in the first quarter.

After taking the pass, Smith darted away from Cincinnati defenders as it looked like he would break free from the pack. But Bengals cornerback Adam Jones grabbed Smith by his hair and dragged him down.

Referees initially called a penalty for a horse-collar tackle, but conferred and picked up the flag. If hair is hanging out of the helmet, it is considered part of the uniform according to the NFL.

“That was the my first time having it happen,” Smith said. “I was in schock. I straightened up my back thinking he was going to try to grab my jersey. Next thing I know, I’m getting pulled by my dreads.”

The hair pull didn’t hurt and didn’t keep Smith from having a monster game in Baltimore’s 31-24 win over Cincinnati. Smith finished the game with six receptions for 165 yards and a touchdown.

His performance helped him set the Ravens rookie record for receiving yards in a single season with 590 yards, previously held by Mark Clayton. He’s poised to shatter his new record with six games remaining on the schedule.

On his touchdown, a 38-yarder early in the fourth quarter, Smith blew past two defensive backs who briefly bit on a play fake from quarterback Joe Flacco. Smith split the defenders and tip-toed his feet down for the score.

“The catch in the back of the end zone was fantastic,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

Smith has already posted some big games against St. Louis and Pittsburgh this season, so his performance against Cincinnati wasn’t too much of a surprise. His 165 yards was good enough to rank third best in single game receiving yardage in Ravens history, behind Qadry Ismail’s 258 and Derrick Alexander’s 165.

“Coming into the game, we knew he was a guy who could stretch the field,” Bengals cornerback Nate Clements said. “We just have to make plays and take away his strength and make him go elsewhere, and we didn’t do that today. He made us pay for that.”

Smith’s play this season has been big for the offense, which brought in veteran receiver Lee Evans to be the team’s deep threat. Evans sustained an ankle injury during the preseason and was ianctive the past seven games.

Evans was active against Cincinnati but eased himself back into the rotation. Evans came off the bench while Smith earned another start.

“It was good to get back out there,” Evans said. “A lot of plays were made downfield. Torrey made some great plays down the field.

Smith has gotten better each week with the offense and has become a dangerous deep threat.

While he may want to avoid being tackled by the dreadlocks again, his grandmother might have the final say.

“I honestly thought about (cutting them), but my grandma like a little too much,” Smith said. “I’m a momma and grandmomma’s boy, at least for now.”

By Jason Butt

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