BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 20: Jimmy Smith #22 of the Baltimore Ravens returns an interception against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium on November 20, 2011 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Bengals 31-24. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Going into yesterday's game with the Baltimore Ravens, the Cincinnati Bengals knew their defense needed to stop Ravens' RB Ray Rice and their offense needed to worry about where safety Ed Reed was on every play. Perhaps they might also be concerned about WR Anquan Boldin on offense and Terrell Suggs on defense. However, it is doubtful that they thought the keys to a road victory over their AFC North rivals would end up being a couple of rookies named "Smith."
Rookie WR receiver Torrey Smith (Maryland) had his second huge game of his career, finishing the game with six catches for 165 yards and a 38-yard TD reception, averaging a whopping 27 yards per catch. He also hauled in a long 49-yard pass to set up a short Ray Rice TD catch in the second quarter to put the Ravens in a lead that they would never give up. Smith made a bit of NFL history as he joined two other rookie receivers (Ken Burrow/Randy Moss) to ever have multiple games with more than 150 receiving yards and at least one TD catch.
Rookie CB Jimmy Smith (Colorado) played on Special Teams and got a bunch of reps on defense, usually playing up on the line using press coverage to impress his physical size and strength on the Bengals receivers. He finished with three tackles and touched the ball only once in the game, but that one touch turned the tide of the game.
Late in the third quarter, Smith jumped the route in front of a Andy Dalton quick out for an interception deep in Bengals territory. Although he tried to make like Ed Reed by holding the ball like a loaf of bread and had it knocked from his arms, the Ravens recovered his fumble inside the five-yard line and Ray Rice scored on the next play to give the Ravens a bit of breathing room to lead 24-14.
Smith was later burned by Dalton on a 49-yard TD pass to WR Andre Caldwell, but Smith's pick as well as Lardarius Webb's later one gave the Ravens the cushion they needed to hold off the Bengals and take control of the AFC North.
For both Smith's, this is obviously a sign of things to come, as Jimmy and Torrey were introduced as a pair back in April as the team's #1 and #2 picks in the 2011 NFL Draft, and the Baltimore Ravens are only just beginning to reap the return on their investments.