On Sunday, Torrey Smith flashed the fleet feet and natural ability that made him a 2011 second-round draft pick, scoring touchdowns on his first three NFL catches and finishing with five catches for 152 yards.
Two games into his NFL career, one that started three months later than originally scheduled because of the lockout, the rookie out of Maryland was being scrutinized by fans and a few media members.
After his eye-opening performance in the Ravens’ 37-7 victory over the Rams, Smith will probably be under more pressure to make this kind of difference every week -- a totally unrealistic expectation. Hopefully we remember Week 3 if Smith goes three games without a catch or has a critical drop late in the season. He showed us what he is capable of Sunday. Let’s be patient as the 22-year-old continues to develop.
Veteran speedster Lee Evans should be back in the lineup soon, if not Sunday night against the Jets then after the team’s bye week. When that happens, Smith’s role will likely diminish. But even if he is third on the depth chart, he can play a key role for the Ravens offense, one that might not show up on the stat sheet.
Let’s be honest: The Rams looked foolish for not adjusting their gameplan after Smith blew by cornerback Justin King for a 74-yard touchdown on the Ravens’ first drive of the game. Moments later, the Rams got beat deep again after Joe Flacco made a beautiful play fake and threw another bomb down the field to Smith for six points. Defenses must respect Smith’s speed -- and they now will.
Anquan Boldin, Ray Rice and the team’s young tight ends will benefit from the extra running room. Of course Smith plans on being on the receiving end of a few more big plays, too.
"I never doubted myself for a minute," Smith said after becoming the first rookie in NFL history with three TD catches in a quarter. "I've been playing football forever. I've been making plays forever."
Your turn: Predict Torrey Smith's 2011 stat line.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times