Smith glad for chance at rematch vs. Pats

Ravens receiver Torrey Smith, who had two touchdowns and 98 yards receiving in Sunday’s upset victory over the Broncos that earned his team a rematch against the Patriots in the AFC title game, was on ESPN Radio on Monday to talk about his chance at avenging last season’s loss.

“I just remember that feeling of being that close,” Smith said of the Ravens’ 23-20 loss in last season’s AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. “We worked hard to get to that point and it’s not a guarantee we would ever be in this position again. There have been guys who have been playing in the league 10-12 years who have never been to the playoffs.

"When you get the opportunity, you want to take advantage of it. To be here for a second time, obviously you want to win. We’re going against a tough team in the same environment as last year. They’ve been here before. They’re experienced, they’ve been here before they know how to win. We’re trying to get to their level.”

Smith also had nothing but praise for Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco, whose regular season inconsistencies make him a target for critics but who has been great (5 TDs, 0 INTs, 120 rating) in two playoff games this season.

“I think Joe’s one of those quarterbacks who’s going to have to win a ring before people really give him respect,” Smith said. “We’re not an offense that throws the ball a million times a game. If we throw the ball too much people complain that (Ray Rice) isn’t touching the ball.”

The receiver concluded his interview by talking about Ray Lewis’ last stand:

“It’s a blessing to be part of it,” Smith said. “A legend of this game, his reign is coming to an end. We know this is his last ride and we want to send him out the right way.”