Nobody likes losing to Buffalo. In the past four seasons, the Bills have finished 6-10 three times and 4-12 once. Even in their best years, two decades ago, they're remembered for epic failure, losing four consectuive Super Bowls. Okay, they look better this year than last. We get that. They nearly upset New England and now they're 2-2 after holding on to beat the Ravens. Still, the loss Sunday was disconcerting. The Ravens couldn't run the ball. Flacco, and we'll put this kindly, appears to be out of sync with his entire receiving corps. Except this guy—our Ravens Stud of the Week—who kept the Ravens in the contest.
Week Four stud:
Smith hauled in five passes for 166 yards and a touchdown. The deep threat leads the Ravens with 21 catches on the year and has gained more than twice the receiving yards as the next closest Raven.
It would be easy to pick the touchdown, but Smith's 74-yard grab—with the Ravens deep in their own end and trailing—got the Ravens back into the game. The Ravens ultimately settled for a field goal, but now trailed by just one score, 23-17, with seven minutes left.
Smith's first touchdown of the season, a 28-yard grab in third quarter, also cut an earlier Bills lead to six points. Basically, Smith's big plays kept the Ravens hopes alive the entire second quarter. We've always really liked Smith—who doesn't?—from his game-changing ability to the way he carries himself off the field, including dealing with the tragic loss of his brother last year. We like him so much, in fact, he's featured in our October issue's annual top "40 Under 40."
We also like that when his alma mater, the University of Maryland, broke out new Under Armour uniforms last week, the 24-year-old returned to College Park for an event showing off the new duds. The Terps, by the way, are 4-0 and suddenly ranked in the AP top 25. Nice to have some good football to look forward on Saturdays, right? Cushions the blow from games like yesterday.
Photo courtesy of BaltimoreRavens.com