Steve Smith a lone bright spot in Ravens lost season

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Oct 18, 2015; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) celebrates after a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter at Levi

There’s a lot of blame to spread around for the dreadful 1-5 start to the 2015 season for the Baltimore Ravens.  Questionable roster depth, a lack of talent, miscommunication, player error and lack of effort, you name it and the Ravens are guilty of it.

But there’s one guy out there leaving everything on the field, fighting on every snap, and playing some of the best football in his illustrious career at the age of 36.  That’s right – Steve Smith Sr., a guy who has declared 2015 as his last season, has easily been this team’s best player on offense through 6 games.

It’s not like Smith had a bad year in 2014, so this might not come as a huge surprise.  What is surprising is that he is having an even better year in 2015, despite the absence of another viable receiver on the field.  Smith is, quite simply, the Ravens entire passing offense.

Through the first 6 games in his 15th season, Smitty has already amassed 510 yards and 3 touchdowns. That accounts for a whopping 32% of Joe Flacco’s total yardage and 38% of his touchdown passes. Despite missing roughly a game and a half with micro fractures in his back, Smith is 9th in the NFL in targets with 57.

If he keeps up this torrid pace, Smith would finish the season with 1,360 yards and 8 touchdowns.  If you account for his missed game in week 5, the numbers get even better – 1,632 yards and 10 touchdowns. Those are All-Pro numbers that would place Smith among the NFL’s elite receivers.

Sep 27, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Steve Smith (89) runs after a reception during the fourth quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. Cincinnati Bengals defeated Baltimore Ravens 28-24. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

That’s simply astounding for a 36 year old who measures in at 5’9″ and 195 pounds, playing for a dysfunctional team that is struggling on offense.  A guy who is the only threat in the passing game, one who other teams are surely scheming against every week.

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But Steve Smith is on a mission in what he calls his final season.  Despite the Ravens’ failures and the fact that 2015 is shaping up as a lost season, he just keeps giving it his all on the field.  His effort makes this otherwise abysmal Ravens squad worth watching every week.

It’s fitting that Steve Smith’s final season might be his finest.  Over the span of his 15 year career, 89 has proven time and time again that he doesn’t believe in the generally accepted rules of the NFL, or of life itself.  That’s how a small, feisty guy shattered enough preconceived notions to become one of the best we’ve ever seen at his position.

Next: Ravens fans react: Week 6

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