Torrey Smith becomes an emotional hero for the Baltimore Ravens

Torrey Smith's performance for the Ravens in their victory over the Patriots last night will go down in history.

Last season in Torrey Smith's rookie season he was highly impressive, receiving a memorable touchdown catch in the final seconds on the road at rivals Pittsburgh to take the win.

The 2011 first round draft-pick continued in rich form through the play-offs, and picked up where he left off this season catching Baltimore's first play of the new season against the Bengals.

Last night, was something else, it was more than sport.

At 2am before the Ravens big re-match with New England, Smith received some tragic news. His younger brother had been killed in a motorcycle accident.

Somehow, he held himself together, not only to play, but to put on an inspiring performance against the Patriots.

Tom Brady came out of the blocks firing, and the Ravens were chasing all game. Torrey Smith made two touchdown catches in the first and fourth quarter to keep the home team in the game and set them up for a 31-30 win.

Kicker Justin Tucker narrowly made a last second field goal to win the game, erasing memories of Billy Cundiff's heartbreaking missed kick in the AFC Championship game last season.

Coach John Harbaugh praised Torrey Smith, for not only playing but stealing the show: "Torrey is a great, great young man. We dedicate that victory to (Smith's brother) Tevin and the whole family,

"When Torrey said he wanted to play, then the decision was finished. He was going to get the opportunity to play, he deserved that. If it didn't work out, then we'd have known and he'd have known. Obviously, he's a pretty special guy."

Smith himself added he was unsure at one stage whether he was in the right frame of mind to play but said it has helped him attempt to cope with the loss, "I didn't want to hurt my team. I came here, the more I was running, the more comfortable I started to feel. I'm glad I came back up here. I think it helped me out a lot."

Playing was a victory in itself, the fact the Ravens went onto win the game, made it an unforgettable night in Baltimore, and Smith earned the respect of pretty much every NFL fan around the world. 

image: © Keith Allison