The Baltimore Ravens were huge underdogs this past weekend against the Denver Broncos. Not too many people outside of the state of Maryland gave the team a chance. Denver was coming off a bye and they were one of the hottest teams in the NFL, but it was the Ravens who advanced to the AFC Championship game against New England for the second year in a row.
It wasn’t easy, though, and when Baltimore was down seven points with under one minute to go, on their own 30, without no timeouts remaining and facing third down, it looked bleak. However, that’s when Joe Flacco made the biggest throw of his career to this point. “The Bomb” to Jacoby Jones sent the game into overtime and it sent the Broncos into a state of shock. Denver never recovered, and in the second overtime the Ravens won the game and earned a shot to avenge last year’s heartbreaking loss in the AFC title game.
Torrey Smith joined ESPN Radio with Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo to talk about whether the Ravens’ game plan was to attack Champ Bailey as much as the team did, what the feeling was like when they had the ball down seven late in the game, what he saw on the touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones at the end of the fourth quarter, what the atmosphere was like on the trip back to Baltimore, the feelings heading into New England after what happened to the team last year and what the win against Denver and Peyton Manning means to Joe Flacco.
Whether the Ravens’ game plan was to attack Champ Bailey as much as the team did:
“No, it wasn’t a part of the game plan at all. We just kind of called the plays and it was just progressing. We didn’t change anything because he is as talented as he is; we just attacked him and played our offense.”
What the feeling was like when they had the ball, down seven, with little time left:
“You guys might think we’re lying, but no one doubted for a second. We have been in some crazy situations and this team is very resilient; that’s just who we are as Ravens and it showed all year long. We never doubted for a second that we didn’t have a chance at winning and we weren’t going to win.”
What kind of view he had on the touchdown pass to Jacoby Jones:
“I had a great view of it. I was on the other side of the field and I saw the safety flat-footed and I knew there was a shot at it. He kind of misjudged the ball a little bit, it crept right over his hands, and Coby made a great catch, brought it in and I couldn’t wait to meet him in the end zone.”
What the reaction was like on the return from trip from Denver:
“It was crazy. Everyone was having fun still, everyone was checking their Twitters, seeing pictures from Baltimore, and it was just crazy seeing the reaction from all of our folks back home. It was fun. Everyone stayed awake the whole trip even though it was pretty late. It was a great time. Even Harbaugh jumped in the picture we always take on the way back. It was pretty fun.”
On the feelings heading into this weekend’s game against New England after what happened last year:
“That feeling of being that close — you’re so close and guys work so hard. Everyone works so hard to get to that point and it’s not a guarantee that we would ever be in this position again. There are guys who have been playing in this league for 10 or 12 years who have never been to the playoffs, so when you get to it you want to take advantage of it and to be here a second time. Obviously you want to win — everyone wants to win — but we’re going against a tough team in the same environment we were in last year and they have been here before. Their experience, they know how to win and we’re trying to get to their level.”
What the win over Denver means to Joe Flacco:
“I think that win means we are one step closer to the Super Bowl. It’s not about pleasing everyone else on the outside; it’s all about winning. I think Joe is one of those quarterbacks who is going to have to win a ring before people really give him respect because we’re not the offense that throws the ball a million times per game. If we throw the ball too much, people complain because Ray (Rice) is not touching the ball. Joe can’t win. It’s on us to go out there and help him look good and it’s a team thing. When our offensive line plays well and our receivers play well, then we make it easier for Joe and that is our job.”