Rookie Smith shines as Ravens rout Rams
St. Louis, MO – Rookie Torrey Smith didn't have a reception in his first two games. That changed in a huge way Sunday.
Smith caught all three of Joe Flacco's touchdown passes in the first quarter, and the Baltimore Ravens pounded the St. Louis Rams, 37-7, at the Edward Jones Dome.
Flacco completed 27-of-48 passes for 389 yards. Smith, who played college ball at Maryland and was a second-round draft pick, had five catches for 152 yards. His first three receptions went for scores.
"I had a good feeling going into this week," Smith said. "I haven't practice well the past two weeks, but this week I had my best practice as a Raven, no mistakes. I dropped one ball all week. Joe and I were clicking on all pages. They say practice as you play and it just translated for us."
Ray Rice rushed for 79 yards for the Ravens (2-1), who bounced back from a loss at Tennessee.
Sam Bradford connected on half of his 32 pass attempts for 166 yards with a TD and an interception for the Rams (0-3), who gave up 553 yards.
"We just weren't very effective throwing the ball," Bradford admitted. "It comes from a lot of things. I have to do a better job making reads, getting the ball out quicker."
The Ravens needed just two offensive plays to post their first score. Following a St. Louis punt, Flacco connected with fullback Vonta Leach on a four-yard gain. On the following play, Smith caught a bomb down the right sideline and cruised into the end zone.
Billy Cundiff was wide right on a 51-yard field goal try for the Ravens later in the opening quarter, but Flacco found Smith in the middle of the end zone for a 41-yard TD with 3:38 left in the first stanza.
Smith then beat cornerback Justin King in coverage to make an 18-yard grab on the left side of the end zone for a 21-0 cushion with 1:48 remaining in the quarter.
Cundiff missed another 51-yard kick early in the second, but the Rams couldn't capitalize as Bradford was picked off by Ladarius Webb at the three.
The turnover led to a nine-play, 94-yard march, which culminated in a 21-yard Cundiff field goal with 3:05 left until halftime. Rice keyed the march with a 53-yard run on 3rd-and-1, and the ball was advanced to the 11 thanks to a facemask penalty on cornerback Bradley Fletcher.
Cundiff was true from 31 yards out on the final play of the half, finishing a 49-yard march.
The 27-0 deficit was way too much to overcome and Cundiff added to the cushion with a 38-yard field goal to cap the opening possession of the third quarter.
Bradford finally broke the shutout with a 34-yard TD pass to Brandon Gibson with 5:14 left in the third.
Flacco was leading Baltimore in for another score, but was sacked and fumbled in the red zone. It didn't matter for the Ravens as they turned the tables on the Rams, sacking Bradford and forcing him to fumble. Haloti Ngata, who came to terms on a five-year contract earlier in the week, returned the ball 28 yards for a score with 4:58 to go.
Dating back to the 2006 season, Baltimore has posted a 15-6 record vs. the NFC...Under head coach John Harbaugh, the Ravens are 13-4 in games that immediately follow a loss...Cadillac Williams had 75 yards on 18 rushes for the Rams...Steven Jackson was limited to 23 yards on four carries...Harbaugh said safety Haruki Nakamura injured the posterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees, while linebacker Dannell Ellerbe suffered a hamstring injury.