Steve Smith put the Ravens on his back Sunday afternoon.
He did all he could to will the Ravens to a victory, sparking a stagnant offense and awaking the home crowd with two second-half touchdowns. The 36-year-old receiver left everything he had on the field, and even needed an IV on the bench to get through the game.
"I just go out there and make plays and do my best," Smith said. "Ultimately it's up to wins and losses. That's what we consume ourselves with. That's what [the media] reports, if we win or lose. We lost. We lost as a team.
"Losing is not frustrating. Losing pisses me off. I don't like losing."
Smith had an individual performance to remember. He hauled in 13 catches for 186 yards and two touchdowns. He fought for extra yards every time he got the ball in his hands, including a 50-yard touchdown on fourth down where he broke multiple tackles to give the Ravens their first score of the day.
His 186 receiving yards where the third-most in Ravens history and his 13 catches tied for the most.
"Obviously we put him in situations to make some plays, and he did a great job," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "I think he's always in position to have a good amount of catches and do some things, and he's just so good with the ball after the catch."
Flacco said he didn't try to force the ball to Smith, but the quarterback looked for every opportunity to throw his in direction. Smith had 17 targets on the day, 10 more than any other Raven.
On a day when the offense struggled to get into any kind of rhythm in the first half, Smith provided exactly the kind of jump-start they needed in the third quarter. The more Flacco threw in Smith's direction, the more good things happened.
"We were moving at a slow, snail's pace in the first half. We finally woke up in the second half," Smith said. "Offensively, we didn't do anything to help our defense. We put them in crucial situations. We made key mistakes."
Smith has clearly been Baltimore's biggest playmaker through the first three games. The running game has been stagnant and no other receiver has come close to matching Smith's production.
"Steve had a lot of opportunities to make plays, and he has done that throughout his career," Flacco said. "We need to get some other guys similar amounts of opportunities and see what they can do and get their confidence going and make them believe that they can make plays down the stretch, because they can."
The Ravens will to continue to seek out additional playmakers, but Smith is clearly the team's top option right now. The 15-year veteran, who is in the final year of his career, said he's playing as well as he ever has.
But the losses sting, and the wideout's top priority is helping the Ravens get on track.
"People pay to see you play, perform and win," Smith said. "And we didn't do that."