Smith drew a tough assignment in Brandon Marshall, one of the most productive, physical wide receivers in the NFL. And the Ravens' third-year cornerback handled it well, largely neutralizing Chicago's biggest offensive weapon. With Smith all over him, Marshall had to make superb plays just to reel in four catches on 10 targets. Smith faced a moment of truth early in the game, when his holding penalty gave the Bears a new set of downs in the red zone. Chicago targeted him immediately after the penalty, and Smith showed how far he has come by making two great pass defenses in the end zone. It was a meaningful sequence for a player who had often disappointed the Ravens with his reactions to adversity. In the season opener against Denver, for example, Smith seemed to lose his way as the momentum of the game changed and Peyton Manning went after him. But over the last five weeks, Smith has settled in as a solid NFL starter. He produced his best game of the season against the Cincinnati Bengals, though his effort was overshadowed by flashier performances from teammates Lardarius Webb and James Ihedigbo. He consolidated that effort by using his size and footwork to frustrate an elite player in Marshall. If the 2013 season ends up being an exercise in deciding which pieces fit the Ravens' long-term puzzle, we might finally have the hoped-for answer on Smith.
Rob Grabowski, USA TODAY Sports