Ravens WR Torrey Smith close to receiving record

December 06, 2013|By Aaron Wilson, The Baltimore Sun

Former Maryland standout wide receiver Torrey Smith has already established career-highs with 54 receptions and 952 receiving yards this season.

Now, he's 250 yards shy of becoming the franchise single-season record holder for receiving yards. That would surpass Michael Jackson's 1,201 yards during the Ravens' inaugural season in 1996.

Smith could pile up yards against a suspect Vikings pass defense that is ranked 30th in the NFL and has surrendered 3,444 passing yards and a league-high 26 touchdowns this season.

"I should have already had [the record], so I'm not satisfied," Smith said. "I've got to play better. Just like last game, there are three plays still in my mind that I should have made. That's what I really focus on, being the best player that I can be for our team. If it comes with putting up numbers and our franchise's records, that's cool. But at the end of the day, it's all about winning."

Smith ranks fourth in the NFL with 17.4 yards per catch and has caught four touchdowns. He needs one catch of 25 yards or more to pass Derrick Mason for the franchise record of 35 catches of 25 yards or more.

"I should have had that already, but I'm not really satisfied with it," Smith said. "Would it be cool? Yes, but the playoffs are way bigger than that. I'm just focused on that, really. If it comes with it, fine. But if not, I'm just going to do whatever I can to help us win."

Blocking the Vikings

There's little that stands out about the Vikings' 30th-ranked defense except for bookend defensive ends Jared Allen and Brian Robison.

The two pass rushers are capable of harassing quarterbacks with their moves, speed and relentless approach. They've combined for a dozen sacks this season.

"They pose a big challenge, particularly the two guys who lead their team in sacks with the bookends Robison and Jared Allen, who's been a real formidable force in this league for a long time," offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "He's still very, very active and very capable. Both of those guys, you have to block them and block them well. [Allen] is one of those guys that, he may not show up in the stat sheet a lot in terms of stats, but he disrupts things.

"He's quick; he's explosive. All three guys get off the ball extremely well. Not only that, they have a variety of moves to get to the passer. They're going to present quite a challenge for us."

End zone

No players were fined from the Ravens-Steelers game, according to a league spokesman. The lone fine was the $100,000 levied against Steelers coach Mike Tomlin for his sideline incident. … The Vikings officially ruled out quarterback Christian Ponder (concussion), cornerback Josh Robinson (chest) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot). … The Ravens hosted Shaquan Baxter and his family at practice Friday through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with Baxter taking part in a play at the end of practice. "It's an awesome moment," Harbaugh said. "He's definitely got a future as a linebacker someday in the NFL." … With the team huddled around him at the end of practice, Caldwell paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela by passionately reciting the "Invictus" poem.

awilson@baltsun.com

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