New England coach Bill Belichick knows firsthand how explosive Torrey Smith can be. In the weeks leading to the 2011 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots brought in the former University of Maryland wideout for a workout before opting for RB Shane Vereen at the end of Round 2.
Smith, who was selected by the Baltimore Ravens two picks later, may be one of the top vertical threats remaining in the NFL playoffs. In last week's 38-35 double overtime win over the Broncos, Smith had two touchdowns of 32 yards or longer, including a 59-yard score. With the Ravens trailing 21-14 in the final minute of the first half, Smith made a sprawling grab over Broncos CB Champ Bailey for a game-tying touchdown.
Despite Smith's proclivity for stretching the field, Belichick indicated that the second-year receiver is dangerous on other routes, as well. The Patriots tied for 14th in the NFL this season in allowing completions of 40 yards or longer, with eight, and led the league in surrendering passes of 20 yards or more, with 74.
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“He can run after the catch on the shorter and intermediate routes,” Belichick said. “If you give him a big cushion, that's a problem, too. He's made a lot of big plays down the field on deep balls and that's opened up things for him underneath.”
In Week 3, Smith had six catches for 127 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-30 win over the Patriots. The performance came fewer than 24 hours after Smith's younger brother died in a motorcycle accident. Smith had three catches for 82 yards in the 2011 AFC Championship against New England, including a 42-yard touchdown.
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