Steve Smith Sr. sure didn't look like the oldest player on the field coming off a torn Achilles during his 52-yard touchdown Sunday.
The 16-year veteran showed he still might be Baltimore's biggest playmaker on his fourth-quarter catch-and-run against Oakland. Smith caught the pass over the middle, used his patented stiff-arm to shrug off a tackle attempt by the cornerback, juked by the safety and then outran everyone in a race for the end zone.
In a game where the Ravens struggled for about three quarters offensively, Smith sparked the offense and demonstrated that he still has big-play ability despite being just 11 months removed from a major injury.
"A lot goes into it, and it's not really about if you have speed or not," Smith said after the 28-27 defeat. "You just have to make the plays that come to you, and that's what I'm trying to do."
Smith finished the game with a team-high eight catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. It's the second week in a row he's led the Ravens in catches and receiving yards.
After a grueling rehab process to return for another season, Smith is feeling like himself again.
"I'm just getting there," he said. "I think last game I showed a little burst, so I'm able to go longer. At the beginning of the season, in the first two games, I was on a pitch count. Now I'm able to play and not even think about it."
Smith also continues to pile up the career accolades in what will likely be his final season. He brought in the 985th catch of his career, which moved him past Randy Moss on the all-time list. Smith now ranks 14th in career receptions.
The 110-yard receiving game also gave him 51 in his career, which tied Andre Johnson and Terrell Owens for fourth-most all time.
"He's an impressive person," quarterback Joe Flacco said. "I'm not surprised with anything he does."
As much as Smith was the bright spot on a disappointing afternoon, he wasn't too interested in celebrating himself. He pointed out that he ran the wrong route in the first quarter and stressed that the offense has to be better if the Ravens are going to get on track.
"As a team, we can't let each other down," he said. "I think we've done that and we've made it very difficult, which puts a ton of pressure on the defense. Offensively, we just have to minimize our mistakes."