Will Steve Smith Lead the Baltimore Ravens in Receiving?
By Brett Foote
Sep 11, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) gains yards against the Pittsburgh Steelers at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
Everybody said he was washed up. Past his prime. No longer capable of being a number one receiver. But Steve Smith had a different idea. He not only took the slights personally, he is proving everyone completely wrong. Even the Ravens likely thought there were getting a leader and a nice complement to Torrey Smith, at best, when they signed him. But through two games, the elder Smith has proven to be Joe Flacco’s best option in the passing game.
I expected him to post something similar to last year’s numbers – 745 yards, 4 touchdowns – as an absolute best case scenario. But as always, the fiery and mercurial Steve Smith has other ideas.
Anybody that doubts Steve Smith now just looks foolish, not that anyone is. The doubters have been silenced following a seven catch, 118 yard day against the Bengals in week one and a six catch, 71 yard day against the Steelers in week two. Some thought that his performance against the Bengals might be a fluke, as 80 yards came on one broken play that resulted in Smith being wide open for a touchdown. In week two, he proved it wasn’t.
So in his 14th season, and first with any team other than the Carolina Panthers, it appears that Steve Smith has found the fountain of youth. He is motivated and angry after the team he devoted his career to, the team he left blood on the field for, cut him loose before he decided he was done. And Smith is determined to make them pay. Not only in week 4 when the Ravens face the Panthers, but every week. By proving to the world that they were wrong, and he isn’t finished.
Not only is Smith using his tenacity and experience to get open, he still looks fast on the field. He is juking and cutting like he is 25, not 35. True, he was wide open against the Bengals on his 80 yard catch and run, but did anybody chase him down? The Steelers found out how hard Smith is to bring down in the open field, even resorting to two facemask penalties to keep him from breaking out for huge gains.
More from Ravens News
- Ravens’ Super Bowl odds stagnant amidst Lamar Jackson trade rumors
- 5 Georgia Bulldogs the Ravens might draft to follow Todd Monken
- Get ready, Baltimore, you’re going to love Todd Monken
- Ravens news: Bengals fall to Chiefs in AFC thriller, a new OC in the mix, and more
- Ravens news: Anthony Richardson buzz grows louder, an unsung hero, and more
Steve Smith conceded when he was signed by the Ravens that he was no longer a number one receiver, and that he was content being a complimentary piece. But after drawing a whopping ten targets against the Steelers on a night when no one else had more than five, it’s obvious that Smith has been the focal point of the offense so far. He has made Torrey Smith, ten years his junior and historically Joe Flacco’s favorite target, an afterthought.
So the natural question to ask is, will the trend continue? After two games, Steve Smith is on pace for 1,512 yards and 8 touchdowns. It’s a torrid pace that most likely will slow down a bit. Those numbers would be the second best (2005 – 1,563 yards) and tied for second best (2005 – 12 TD’s, 2006 – 8) of his long and impressive career. Plus, Torrey Smith is bound to have better games ahead. Even Joe Flacco conceded before Thursday’s game that T. Smith would catch over 100 balls this year, only to give him a mere 3 targets against the Steelers.
At this point, we are just going to say that it could very well happen. Before Thursday, I would never have believed that Steve Smith could lead the Ravens in receiving in 2014. I expected him to post something similar to last year’s numbers – 745 yards, 4 touchdowns – as an absolute best case scenario. But as always, the fiery and mercurial Steve Smith has other ideas. And this time, we aren’t going to make the mistake of doubting him.