Although Steve Smith Sr. is no longer the Ravens’ leader in catches or receiving yards, the five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver is still considered their top threat in the passing game. But the other wideouts showed flashes of what they are capable of in Sunday’s 27-23 loss to the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.
Mike Wallace led the offense with 97 yards on four receptions including a 70-yard bomb in the third quarter. Kamar Aiken four catches for 64 yards and Breshad Perriman added three receptions for 48 yards.
Wallace and Perriman were targeted nine and eight times, respectively, by quarterback Joe Flacco, trailing only tight end Dennis Pitta (10 targets) in that department.
Aiken, the team’s leading receiver last season with 75 receptions for 944 yards and five touchdowns, said he was not surprised by the numbers.
“I feel like we’ve got enough guys in our room that I feel could start in the league,” he said. “It just so happens that Steve is our No. 1. He was down, so it was just next man up.”
Smith was sidelined by an ankle that he rolled in the first quarter of a 16-10 loss to the Washington Redskins on Oct. 9. He did not practice at all last week, which was the biggest hint that Aiken would make his first start of the season opposite Wallace. Perriman was be on the field for 56 snaps or 67 percent of the offensive plays – both of which are career highs for the second-year player.
“It’s just the nature of the game,” Aiken said of replacing Smith. “Unfortunately, we lost Steve, and everyone wanted him to be here. But he went down, and it’s a next-man-up type of deal. You’ve just got to kind of move with more of a sense of urgency and do your best.”
Wallace now leads the Ravens in reception yards (370), yards per catch (14.8) and touchdown receptions (three). Pitta leads with 34 catches.
It is unclear whether Smith, who has caught 27 passes for 310 yards and one score, will be ready to return for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium. Coach John Harbaugh did not shed much light on Smith’s status during his Monday new conference.
But Aiken said the receivers are prepared to fill the void once again.
“I think we did a pretty good job,” he said. “I’m pretty sure there’s some stuff we can correct and get better at. But at the same time, I feel like we made some strides and did some good things.”