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Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken makes a catch in the fourth quarter as he is brought down by the Chargers' Patrick Robinson.
Ravens wide receiver Kamar Aiken makes a catch in the fourth quarter as he is brought down by the Chargers' Patrick Robinson. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

When star wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. went down, Kamar Aiken had a single catch on his only target for three yards. In the ensuing 17 minutes of game time, Aiken played like the No. 1 receiver the Ravens will need him to be.

He finished with a team-high six catches for 62 yards, with five catches for 59 yards coming after Smith's injury. He also drew a pass interference penalty on a crucial third-down play that continued the Ravens' game-winning drive. His six catches were a career high.

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Aiken said the team carried Smith's mentality through the final quarter, even as Smith was in the locker room receiving bad news.

"He's always told us to keep pushing," Aiken said. "That's what he's embedded in our heads. Even though he wasn't around us at the end, we feel like we was with us. A little bit of him is in every one of us."

The Ravens' offense seemed to flow through Aiken, who had four catches for 78 yards when Smith sat out in Week 5 with microfractures in his back. He also had five catches for 77 yards and a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4, when Smith left with that injury.

"We did feel a sense of urgency," Aiken said of the feeling among receivers when Smith left Sunday. "We tried to step up a little more and to stay on point. Our job is to stay strong and get ready for anything that comes our way."

Aiken will take on an increased role in the offense with Smith finished for the season, and enters the bye week with 25 catches for 333 yards and two touchdowns.

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