Baltimore Ravens WR Torrey Smith received the tragic news that his 19-year-old brother, Tevin Chris Jones, was killed in a motorcycle accident 24 hours prior to Sunday's game against the New England Patriots. Smith quickly left to be with his family after being notified hours before kickoff at the team hotel in Baltimore. With a heavy heart he posted from his Twitter account: " I can't believe my little brother is gone…be thankful for your loved ones and tell them you love them…this is the hardest thing ever."
It was unclear if Smith would play after leaving to be with his family but by night's end he turned in an inspiring performance in a close 31-30 win against a team the Ravens lost a Super Bowl bid to in last year's AFC Championship game.
Smith started the game and ended up with six catches for 127 yards to go along with two huge touchdowns. "It means a lot not just for us but for my family" Smith said after the game. He added "That's for my little brother." Under the most tragic of circumstances Smith shined bright.
The game itself looked strangely similar to the infamous Billy Cundiff 32-yard disaster from January's AFC Championship. The man who took Cundiff's job in training camp, rookie Justin Tucker, proved to be the difference after ending Sunday night's shootout with a dramatic 27-yard field goal that at first glanced looked like a miss.
After two weeks of a pass heavy attack that saw a minimal amount of touches by fantasy football hot commodity Ray Rice, the Ravens offered a glimpse of how deadly balanced their offense can be. Rice ran the ball on 20 carries for 101 yards and one TD. Joe Flacco also delivered another impressive performance against Belichick's defense as he torched the secondary for three TD's to go along with his 382 yards. At the end, Flacco lead the team on a 70-yard drive that secured the win.
The offense has proved they have the necessary personnel to beat anybody in the NFL. Ray Rice is a stud. Joe Flacco is almost there. Boldin is big time especially when it's "that" time. Torrey Smith is the big play threat the Ravens have needed.
In a league dominated by the big pass play, the play action has always been the most dangerous and beautiful. The Ravens have the ultimate threat in the backfield and now, down the field. If this balance continues, look for the Ravens offense along with #82 to continue wreaking havoc on anyone's field.
The Baltimore Ravens host the Cleveland Browns on this week's Thursday Night Football.
Zachary Hutton is the boxing editor/NFL writer for CraveOnline Sports. You can see what he's up to at his band's website myunclethewolf.com or subscribe at Facebook.com/CraveOnlineSports.
Photo Credit: Getty