Steve Smith Sr. is a grown ass man.
The electrifying veteran wideout is one of those NFL players that Ravens fans are all too familiar with, the one that you hate when he lines up against you but the one you cheer for when he joins you.
Rewind to October 2006 at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore when Smith Sr. was named simply Smith and was a member of the visiting Carolina Panthers.
On that crisp fall day, Smith enjoyed a career day against the Ravens secondary, recording eight receptions for 189 yards and a touchdown, leaving many of us bewildered at his playmaking ability as the Ravens suffered a 23-21 defeat.
Fast forward to yesterday’s thrashing of the Panthers, and while his name and jersey have changed, Smith Sr. showed that he can still be just as much of a force. From stiff-arming the first guy to try to tackle him on his first catch, to being in the right place at the right time for his first touchdown, there was no doubt that the day belonged to Smith Sr.
With his 139 receiving yards yesterday, the Ravens wideout now ranks second among active wide receivers with 46 career 100-yard receiving games (tied for 9th in NFL history).
“The most important thing is that he can catch footballs and score touchdowns and keep us on the field,” Joe Flacco said on Sunday. “It’s really simple. He’s a good football player. Anytime you bring in someone else who can play football, your team gets better.”
Gets better indeed.The Ravens set a franchise record on Sunday, converting 76.9 percent of their third down attempts (10/13) and Flacco set a team record with a 137.4 passer rating (both stats per Ravens PR).
The veteran receiver took part in 47 total plays(30 pass, 17 run block) yesterday against the Panthers per Pro Football Focus. Grading out with a team high overall grade of +2.9, Smith Sr. showed he still has plenty left in the tank in 2014.
“That film was a coaching session,” Smith Sr. proclaimed after the game. “They’re going to be coaching. I’m 35 years old, and I ran around them boys like they were school-yard kids.”
Just four games into the 2014 season, Smith Sr. has as many multi-touchdown games with Joe Flacco as he had in three years with Cam Newton – perhaps one of the reasons he’s glad to be playing here in Baltimore.
“Yes, [the Ravens] have two [Super Bowls], Carolina has zero. I know I went to public school, but two plus zero, I’ll take that,” the fiesty receiver stated about one difference between the Ravens and Panthers.
“They understand. They know, and they have the recipe. It says a lot without even saying anything, and that’s one of the reasons I wanted to come here.”
For the fans, we are certainly grateful that Smith chose Baltimore as opposed to anywhere else in the AFC, or worse yet, the AFC North.
Per @EliasSports, Steve Smith Sr. is the oldest player (35) in NFL history to post 400 rec. yards in the first 4 games of a season
— Patrick Gleason (@PMGleason) September 28, 2014
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GIFs c/o Gordon Dixon