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Torrey Smith's 3 TDs vs. Rams
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Smith was the early star of the show, scoring an impressive three touchdowns on his first three receptions.
Getting his first-career start for an injured Lee Evans (ankle), Smith's second snap saw him lined up one-on-one with cornerback Justin King.
The Maryland speedster jab-stepped to the inside and took off up the right sideline, where Flacco hit him in-stride for a 74-yard touchdown pass.
St. Louis tried another tactic on Smith by shadowing him with a deep safety. The strategy didn't work as Smith ran past the coverage and caught a 41-yard touchdown bomb. He followed that up with another 18-yard score, giving the Ravens an early 21-0 lead in the first quarter.
Smith's performance was so breathtaking, that a routine 11-yard grab in the second quarter seemed blasphemous.
"The first [attempt to Smith] was there too, I just wish I had thrown it more on a line, threw a missile in there," said Flacco. "On the second one [the safety] hesitated a little bit, and I just laid it up for him."
It wasn't just the Flacco-to-Torrey show, however. The Ravens got a 28-yard rush by running back Ricky Williams that helped set up Flacco's last touchdown to the second-round draft pick.
Ray Rice helped set up a 21-yard field goal by breaking off a 53-yard cut-and-dash up the middle.
And if Flacco had connected with tight end Ed Dickson when he had a step on the defense deep down the middle of the field, the record-setting half would have been extended even more.
By the time the final whistle blew, Flacco set a new career mark with 389 passing yards, completing 27 of 48 attempts and Smith's five catches for 152 yards (30.4-yard average) were a revelation.
Such an output helped the Ravens overcome Billy Cundiff's two missed 51-yard field goals in the first half and a late surge by the spunky Rams. Cundiff also contributed to the blowout with redeeming field goals of 21-, 31- and 38-yard field goals.
Flacco said he hopes the Ravens continue airing it out in the future.
"I always say to myself, 'look at the top teams in the league. What are they? They're passing teams,'" he said. "Do they run the ball? Yeah, but they really throw the ball well. They're not just the top offenses, they're the top teams. Is the goal getting to the playoffs for us? No, it's not getting to the playoffs for us. We know we can do that. The goal is to win a Super Bowl, and in order to be able do that, we have to have a good offense and a good defense.
"The way our defense has played for however long they've been in Baltimore, in my opinion, we shouldn't be grinding out games 14-7 every week."
Defensively, the Ravens were also dominant, even if it wasn't such an eye-popping outing as their offensive counterparts.
The Ravens logged five sacks, forcing quarterback Sam Bradford into a pedestrian 62.8 passer rating and an interception.
Heading into the matchup, much was made of St. Louis' effective no-huddle offense, but the Rams rarely used it as the game wore on.
"Credit [Defensive Coordinator] Chuck Pagano," Harbaugh said. "I think he put together a really good game plan to handle the no huddle and put a signal system together that our guys were able to learn and execute really well."
The pressure was important, as the Ravens were missing injured Jimmy Smith (ankle), deactivated cornerback Domonique Foxworth and lost safety Haruki Nakamura (knee) midway through the second quarter.
From a run perspective, the Rams had a modicum of success, but 22 of their 112 yards on the ground came on two Bradford scrambles in the first quarter.
The one punch Bradford landed was a 34-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Gibson with just over five minutes left in regulation that barely sailed over cornerback Cary Williams' outstretched hand. But even that was negated on the ensuing possession when defensive tackle Haloti Ngata took a Bradford fumble 28-yards to the end zone for the first time in his career, officially burying the Rams.
"It was a pressure, and Ray Lewis was able to get the ball out. I got a lucky bounce," said a smiling Ngata.
In all, the Ravens bounced back from the disappointing outcome in Tennessee. By lighting up the 0-3 Rams early and never letting up, it was a showing more reminiscent of their dominating Week 1 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Now, the Ravens will continue to shape their team as they prepare for the New York Jets.
Days after the passing of beloved Orlando "Zeus" Brown, the Ravens looked a lot like their relentless former offensive tackle.
It is a look that fits them well.