With a team-leading 13 receptions and three touchdowns of 20 yards or more, Torrey Smith has solidified his reputation as the Ravens' most productive deep threat this season. The wide receiver ranks fifth in the NFL with 17.9 average yards per catch and leads the team in touchdown receptions with seven. Smith caught a career-best seven balls for 144 yards in last Sunday's 16-13 overtime win against the San Diego Chargers. This Sunday, Smith faces a Pittsburgh Steelers defense that has troubled him in the past. Aside from a five-catch, 71-yard, one-touchdown performance on Nov. 16, 2011, Smith has grabbed just one pass for 7 yards in two other meetings against the team's biggest AFC North rival. Smith talked about Pittsburgh's strategy against him on Nov. 18.
How did the Steelers limit you to season lows in both catches and yards in the first meeting?
"They made it a little hard with the looks that they were giving. It's kind of scary as a quarterback when you see someone buzzing underneath and it's hard for him in terms of throws. There was times when I was open, but he has to overthrow it rather than throw it underneath out of fear that it's going to be picked off. They did a great job. You have to give credit when it's due. For us, we just have to take advantage when the opportunities present themselves and do things a little differently and try to get on the same page."
Does that mean that the Steelers bracketed you with a defender underneath and another over the top?
"Yeah, it was a form of a double team. It was tough for Joe [Flacco]. There was times when I was open, but as a quarterback, those are some tough throws. It threw him off a little bit, but like I said, we just have to be on the same page and see things a little early. They did a great job with their defense. We're just going to have to change up things a little bit so that it's a lot easier."
You turned short passes on crossing routes into big gains against the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers. Can those types of routes become just as significant as the downfield ones you've run in the past?
"We run them all the time. Some days, you get them and some days, you don't. It's just all about the progression. It's not like they're doing anything differently like, 'We're going to run this crossing route so that we can get the ball to Torrey.' We run out the progression and sometimes it gets there and sometimes it doesn't. When I do get the ball, it's my job to try to take advantage of it and make a play."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun