With their defeat over the Cleveland Browns, the Baltimore Ravens are AFC North champions for the first time since 2012 and will return to the playoffs for the first time in four years.
There were several strong candidates for MVP against the Browns. Quarterback Lamar Jackson rushed for 90 yards and two touchdowns, and had another touchdown run called back for a questionable holding call on tight end Maxx Williams. A fumble at the goal line held him back, however.
Inside Linebacker C.J. Mosley made an extremely strong case as well. Mosley tipped the pass which was intercepted on the first drive. Most importantly, however, Mosley saved the entire season with a game-sealing interception on fourth down. There was one player who had an even bigger game though, and that was cornerback Jimmy Smith.
Smith snagged not one, but two interceptions off of Baker Mayfield. The first interception came on the very first drive. On 2nd-&-5, Mayfield’s pass was tipped at the line by Mosley and intercepted by Smith.
JIMMY SMITH PICK! pic.twitter.com/nA6sESaf5K— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 30, 2018
Smith’s second interception came with four minutes remaining in the first half and Baltimore leading 20-7. On 3rd-&-11, Mayfield’s pass to Rashard Higgins was broken up by Tavon Young and intercepted by Smith. Smith displayed excellent ball skills on the play.
.@NLtyoung breaks up the pass, Jimmy Smith gets the INT! pic.twitter.com/ng2V6D2cSB— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) December 30, 2018
According to Pro Football Focus, Smith allowed only one catch for one yard on seven targets. He also recorded a pass breakup to go with two interceptions.
An impressive play from Smith that did not show up on the stat sheet was when he ran stride for stride with the speedy Antonio Callaway down the sideline, forcing Mayfield to overthrow him. Callaway had given the Ravens corners fits all day, especially Marlon Humphrey. Smith was the only one to shut him down.
Seeing such a dominant performance from Smith is encouraging as Baltimore gears up to face the high-powered offense of the Los Angeles Chargers again in a playoff showdown.