Wide Receivers Step Up When Steve Smith Goes Down


A hush fell over M&T Bank Stadium when wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. tore his Achilles and was carried off the field with a towel over his head. Losing an iconic player and the team's biggest playmaker was a jolt to the crowd and the Ravens' sideline.

But on the field, quarterback Joe Flacco didn't see any stunned faces from the wide receivers left in the huddle.

"Those guys don't blink," Flacco said. "They don't blink."

The players who had to step up with Smith's injury made the most of a bad situation. Wide receivers Kamar Aiken, Chris Givens and Jeremy Ross all came up with big catches late in Sunday's 29-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

They talked after the win about playing inspired in Smith's absence.

"He's always told us to keep pushing. That's what he's embedded in our heads," Aiken said. "Even though he wasn't around us at the end, we feel like he was with us. A little bit of him is in every one of us."

"That's our leader emotionally and everything," Givens added. "When you see something like that, you just want to go out and show him and show everybody that we're not going to slow down."

After Smith went down, Aiken caught five passes for 59 yards. He also drew a 21-yard pass interference penalty on the game's final drive that set up kicker Justin Tucker's game-winning field goal.

Givens reeled in an 18-yard catch on that last drive, and Ross caught a 12-yard pass to set up a subsequent touchdown.

"We did feel a sense of urgency," Aiken said. "We tried to step up a little more and to stay on point."

The receiving corps also knows that withstanding Smith's loss extends beyond Sunday's game. The group has huge production to try to match – Smith leads the Ravens with 46 catches for 670 yards and three touchdowns – and they will be without one of the best players for the rest of the year.

"They want the opportunity to go in there and get the job done," Flacco said. "You've got to be proud of the way they go up there. They're not afraid. They want the ball, and they want it to be on them. That's all you can ask for."

The receiving corps has been particularly snake bitten with injuries this year. Smith's injury is the most serious, but he's just the latest to go down this year. Rookie Breshad Perriman hasn't played yet because of a lingering knee injury, and reserves Darren Waller (hamstring) and Michael Campanaro (back) have both landed on injured reserve

Now the Ravens will rely on Aiken, Givens, Ross and Marlon Brown to carry the workload and build off what they did Sunday.

"Our job is to stay strong and get ready for anything that comes our way," Aiken said.

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