Baltimore Ravens receiver Torrey Smith has had several impressive and memorable moments, but nothing could possibly match what he did in the Ravens' 31-30 Sunday night win over the New England Patriots. With 9:45 left in the first half, Smith beat Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington down the left side of the field, and quarterback Joe Flacco hit him with a 25-yard touchdown pass. Smith caught his second touchdown pass of the night with 4:01 left in the game, this time making a tough grab in the end zone with Devin McCourty covering.
Smith finished his impressive outing with six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns, making him the first receiver in team history with multiple games of 125 yards or more and at least two touchdowns (per ESPN's Stats & Info).
However, the stats were small potatoes in this case. Numbers did not make Smith's evening one of the more emotional and impressive in recent NFL history. In truth, it was amazing that Smith could put himself together enough to get on the field in the first place. Early Sunday morning, he received word that his younger brother Tevin was killed in a motorcycle accident.
Smith was, of course, excused from playing against the Patriots. The Ravens left the decision up to him, and the second-year star from Maryland made the only choice he could — he would play and do his best. His best turned out to be more than most people could manage.
"It means a lot," Smith told NBC's Michele Tafoya right after the game. "Not just for us, but for my family as well. I didn't know whether I was going to play today, but we came out, got a win, and played well. I loved my little brother ... we're just thankful for all the support from around the league .... my family really appreciates it.
"My teammates," Smith said when asked how he could put himself in the right mind-set to play. "My teammates and friends and coaches that were taking care of my mom. I'd probably be at home ... but just having a great supporting cast, and everyone has shown a lot of love."
"It's unbelievable." Flacco said of his friend. "I can't imagine what he's going through. I have a lot of brothers and sisters, and I can't imagine being him right now. Just to come out and show up and play is one thing. To come and play the way he did, and for all the guys to rally around him ... it was really unbelievable."
"This is devastatingly sad, sad news," Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said on Sunday morning. "Torrey and his family are a close, special family, and our hearts and thoughts reach out to all of them. Our hearts ache today. We pray for Tevin, his mother, Torrey and the rest of the family. God bless Tevin."
Smith was professional and emotional through the pregame ceremonies, including a moment of silence at Baltimore's M&T Bank Stadium for his brother. He did start to tear up on the sideline at one point just before kickoff, but he then put himself together and started up a game performance that would have no doubt made his brother very proud.
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