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Torrey Smith comes up with a big catch at critical time

FootballBaltimore RavensJoe FlaccoTorrey SmithSan Diego ChargersJustin Tucker

— Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith was initially in disbelief, surprised that quarterback Joe Flacco had discarded caution and lobbed the football high and deep in his direction.

During the game-winning drive of the Ravens' 16-13 overtime victory over the San Diego Chargers, Flacco delivered a spiral up the right sideline while Smith sprinted downfield with veteran cornerback Quentin Jammer shadowing him.

The placement from Flacco was accurate, but Smith still needed all of his body control to spin around to secure an acrobatic 31-yard reception to convert a critical third-and-10 situation with 2:27 remaining in overtime.

After review, the catch was upheld. Three plays later, rookie kicker Justin Tucker converted the game-winning 38-yard field goal.

"That's what I'm supposed to do: make plays," said Smith, a former University of Maryland standout. "You have to make adjustments, and that's the play that we needed at that time. When your number is called, make the play.

"Joe threw a great ball. He threw it where only I could get it. I turned around and I made the play."

Flacco said he has significant faith in Smith, who has emerged as more of a complete wide receiver in his second NFL season. That's why he went to him instead of his first read on the play: tight end Dennis Pitta.

"Even Torrey said I can't believe you took a shot on me," Flacco said. "He's exactly who I'm going to take a shot on, especially when they press him like that. I figure I just had to give him a chance and that's what I did. I threw the ball at the back of the defender's head and let him go for it. He's done that a million times and did that there."

The overtime catch was far from Smith's only contribution Sunday.

He was a factor throughout the contest, catching a game-high seven passes for 144 yards for an average of 20.6 yards per reception.

The overtime catch from Smith was huge, as the Ravens were hoping to avoid losing to a struggling AFC West team that has now lost six of its past seven games.

"For us, that's something we pride ourselves on," wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. "That was a clutch catch by Torrey. He came through. We needed that type of performance from him. He made some great catches. He came up big at the end."

And during the Ravens' opening drive of the second half, the speedster provided the longest offensive play so far of the season for the Ravens.

Smith displayed his ability to separate from defenders on a 54-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter. Smith ran a crossing pattern where he ran away from the Chargers' pursuit before finally being tackled at the San Diego 27-yard line by defensive back Marcus Gilchrist.

That catch, spurred forward by wide receiver Jacoby Jones' key block downfield, led to a 43-yard Tucker field goal that got the Ravens on the scoreboard after falling behind 10-0 by halftime.

"Joe threw a great ball," Smith said. "I just turned around and made the play. There wasn't any science behind it. It was just man-to-man. I was able to break the tackle and get up the field.

"Jacoby had a great block out on the left and I just tried to make my way to the middle of the field and got tripped up. It was a big play for us and led to some points."

awilson@baltsun.com

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FootballBaltimore RavensJoe FlaccoTorrey SmithSan Diego ChargersJustin Tucker
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