Ravens swamp Rams 37-7
Sunday, September 25, 2011
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Rookie Torrey Smith made his first three career receptions count.
Smith went for long touchdowns on passes from Joe Flacco totaling 133 yards in the first quarter, sparking a franchise record-setting day on offense by the Baltimore Ravens in a 37-7 rout of the defenseless St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
The Ravens (2-1) got back on their game and then some after stumbling in a loss at Tennessee last week. The 406-yard first half that fueled a 27-point cushion, and the game total of 553 yards, were both bests for the franchise that moved from Cleveland in 1996.
Baltimore also sacked Sam Bradford five times.
St. Louis (0-3) finally got on the scoreboard with Brandon Gibson's 34-yard catch late in the third quarter. Haloti Ngata wrapped up a thorough whipping with a 28-yard fumble return after Ray Lewis stripped Bradford on a sack late in the fourth quarter. By then, the Edward Jones Dome was virtually empty.
Flacco was 27 for 48 for a career-high 389 yards, 192 more than last week. Bradford was 16 for 32 for 166 yards with one touchdown and an interception. Baltimore totaled 553 yards, the Rams 244.
The Ravens punted for the first time with about 2½ minutes left in the third quarter. Their lone failure was long field goal kicking, with Billy Cundiff making three chances inside the 40 but missing twice from 51 yards.
Smith, a second-round pick who had 12 touchdown receptions last year at Maryland, got his first career start ahead of injured Lee Evans. Touchdown catches of 74, 41 and 18 yards capped three of the Ravens' first four possessions, and the rookie finished with five receptions for 152 yards.
Smith burned cornerback Justin King down the right sideline on Baltimore's second offensive play, catching Flacco's pass in stride and sprinting in the last 30 yards. King, a starter because Ron Bartell was lost for the season with a neck injury, was schooled again on the second score. Smith made the catch running full-out near the back of the end zone.
King and safety Darian Stewart couldn't cover Smith on a fade pattern into the left corner of the end zone that put Baltimore ahead 21-0 late in the first quarter.
Smith finished the half with four catches for 144 yards.
Flacco consistently got the ball out just in time to negate the Rams' frequent blitzes. He had the three touchdown passes and no interceptions, just like in the Ravens' impressive opening 35-7 victory over the Steelers. Against the Titans, he had one TD pass and threw two picks.
Steven Jackson started for St. Louis after being questionable with a right left injury that sidelined him in Monday night's loss to the New York Giants. He played sparingly and was no factor, finishing with 23 yards on four carries. Backup Cadillac Williams had 75 yards on 18 carries.
The Rams were expected to contend in the NFC West, but resembled the 2009 unit that dropped its first seven, got beaten four times by at least 19 points at home, and went 1-15 in coach Steve Spagnuolo's first season.
St. Louis had six punts and an interception in the first half, mustering 81 yards and six first downs. Players were serenaded with boos as they trotted off at halftime.
During the second quarter, Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk tweeted, "Has anyone seen the Rams that played the preseason?" St. Louis was 4-0 in the games that didn't count.