Ravens swamp Rams 37-7

By R.B. Fallstrom

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, Sept. 25 2011 6:57 p.m. MDT

Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, right, scrambles for yardage as St. Louis Rams defensive end Eugene Sims, left, defends during the first quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2011, in St. Louis.

Tom Gannam, Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — This NFL thing, it's no big deal for Torrey Smith. In their dreams, the St. Louis Rams' secondary will be chasing the rookie wide receiver who registered barely a blip on the scouting report.

Smith caught long touchdown passes from Joe Flacco totaling 133 yards on his first three career receptions, a huge first half that sparked a franchise record-setting day on offense by the Baltimore Ravens in a 37-7 rout of the defenseless St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

"I've been playing football forever and I've been making plays forever," Smith said. "Having a game like this, it proves to other people that haven't seen me play, it lets them know I can play."

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.

"I'm proud of the way we attacked, really in all three phases," coach John Harbaugh. "I like the way Joe got after it. Torrey Smith, what can you say? You talk about a breakout performance in the first quarter, that's pretty historic right there."

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.

"I don't have an explanation," coach Steve Spagnuolo said. "I wish I did. If I had, I would have solved it at halftime, but I don't."

Flacco was 27 for 48 for a career-high 389 yards, 192 more than last week. This, he said, was more like it.

"Hey, we came out and attacked today," Flacco said. "Is the goal getting to the playoffs for us? No, we know we can do that. The goal is to win the Super Bowl."

Spagnuolo expected more of a conservative, pound-it-out approach from the Ravens.

"They came in with a little different approach than we thought," the coach said. "They were winging it downfield and they were successful doing it."

Bradford was 16 for 32 for 166 yards with one touchdown and an interception and agreed with running back Steven Jackson's assessment that the Rams got bullied. After the game he appeared dazed, slumped in a chair in front of his locker stall with legs askew.

"We knew that was kind of their M.O.," Bradford said. "We did what we didn't want to do, which is fall behind. It's like we weren't even playing in the first half."

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.

Cundiff hurt his right calf after getting hit on a roughing-the-kicker call following the final touchdown and didn't make the ensuing kickoff, but was fine after the game.

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 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.

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