BALTIMORE - - Tragedy befell Ravens’ wide receiver, Torrey Smith, Sunday morning when he received the call no one wants to get – his younger brother, 19-year old Tevin Jones, had been killed in a motorcycle accident.
Coach John Harbaugh was understandably going to allow Smith to sit out of their showdown with the New England Patriots so his star wideout could deal with an emotionally trying time – but Smith declined. Instead, Torrey Smith decided he would not only suit up, he would dominate.
Justin Tucker just bent a 27-yard field goal inside (maybe) the left upright as the final seconds ticked off the clock to give the Ravens’ a 31-30 victory. But the controversy of the final kick does not overshadow the bigger story of Torrey Smith’s personal triumph.
The Patriots came out of the gates fast, as they jumped out early to a 13-0 first-quarter lead. After two three-and-outs and a Joe Flacco interception, it appeared as if the Patriots could break it open and never look back. That was, until Flacco connected with Torrey Smith on a 25-yard touchdown that brought the Ravens close. After pulling in the score, Smith immediately went to one knee and bowed his head in honor of his fallen family member.
The Patriots and Ravens went back and forth in a very chippy game marked by 24 total penalties for 218 worth in marked-off yardage. The Patriots would take a 30-21 lead deep into the 4th quarter, but then Torrey Smith emerged once again to make sure the Ravens never gave up. With 4:01 left in the game, Flacco found Smith for a 5-yard score to make it a 30-28 game. On a night no one would have blamed him for packing it in, Torrey Smith caught six passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns.
After the Ravens’ defense held strong once more, Joe Flacco and the offense would have one last chance to win the game. With only 1:55 left, Flacco led the Ravens on an eight play, 70-yard drive to set up for the game-winning field goal attempt. The snap was good, hold was good and Justin Tucker split the uprights perfectly…but that’s not the one that counted. The Patriots called a time out just before the snap, so Tucker would have to sweep the leg once more to earn the victory.
The second time around, the outcome was the same…or was it? Tucker’s kick kept drifting to the right, but was higher than the goal post. The referees called the kick good, much to the dismay of Patriots’ players and coaches.
After seeing the replay a dozen times, it could easily have been called no good, but the Ravens escaped and the Patriots fall once more on a questionable call from the replacement refs. Last week, Danny Woodhead ran in a game-winning touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals, but the play was called back on a phantom Rob Gronkowski holding penalty. Bill Belichick will undoubtedly be hearing from the league office after running down and making contact with one of the replacement refs after the controversial call was made.
The one lone bright spot for the Patriots in this game was the reemergence of Wes Welker in the Pats’ offensive scheme. After Julian Edelman started in place of the Patriots’ veteran, Wes Welker returned to his starting role and brought in eight passes for 142 yards receiving. But New England was hit by the injury bug again, as after losing Aaron Hernandez to injury last week; Julian Edelman had to leave the field with an injury to his hand.
The Ravens have a short week to prepare for their Thursday-night matchup with the Cleveland Browns, but for Torrey Smith and the rest of his teammates, Sunday’s victory means more than just another tally in the win column.
"It means a lot, not just for us but for my family. ... That's for my little brother," Smith said.