The Baltimore Ravens 37-7 romping of the St. Louis Rams was much needed considering what happened just a week ago, when the Ravens had an emotional letdown in Tennesse against the Titans, losing 26-13.
From start to finish, the Ravens over matched the St. Louis Rams in all three facets of the game. Joe Flacco and rookie second-round draft choice Torrey Smith hooked up for not one, not two, but three first-quarter touchdowns to give the Ravens a 21-0 lead.
Smith, 22, became just the 12th player in NFL history–and the first rookie–to catch three td’s in the first quarter. Before yesterday, he hadn’t even had a reception as a pro. Then, with just over a minute left in the first quarter Smith had three catches, all for touchdowns.
Flacco and Smith hooked up on 74, 41, and 18 yard touchdowns, all against Rams cornerback Justin King who was pressed into action due to injuries in the Rams secondary. Smith finished his most productive day as a pro, hauling in five receptions for 152 yards, and three scores, and even added one rush for 10 yards.
Meanwhile, all fourth-year quarterback Joe Flacco did was throw for the most yards in his career in a single game (389), while racking up three touchdown passes. The 389 yards are second all-time in franchise history, trailing just Vinny Testaverde who threw for 429 yards in the Ravens inaugural season of 1996.
The defense of the Ravens set the tone from the start. They quickly forced second-year quarterback Sam Bradford and the Rams out of their no-huddle offense. As a result, Bradford struggled going just 16-for-32, with one touchdown and one interception, and was sacked five times by the Ravens relentless pass rush.
Through the first half of play, Bradford had just six passing yards and didn’t get the Rams on the scoreboard until about halfway through the third quarter when lofted a 34-yard pass over the outstretched arm of cornerback Cary Williams and into the hands of Brandon Gibson in the back of the end zone.
The Ravens five sacks against the Rams combined with the four from week one against Pittsburgh now give them nine for the season. The defense also caused two turnovers in the form of a Lardarius Webb interception and a fumble recovery by Haloti Ngata for a touchdown. Ngata, who just signed a five-year $61 million dollar contract last week ($40 million guaranteed,) showed why he’s one of the Ravens cornerstone pieces after rumbling down the field for a touchdown to put the icing on the cake.
The Ravens certainly answered the bell after last week’s disappointing letdown in Tennessee. With the New York Jets set to come to town this Sunday night, the Ravens staged the ideal tuneup for the much-anticipated prime-time showdown.