Torrey Smith proves his mental toughness

TAMPA, Fla. -- Last week, Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith said he hadn't lost any confidence. On Sunday, he proved it -- in a matter of six minutes.

A week after dropping the Ravens' last pass to end a potential comeback, Smith sparked his team's fast start by scoring touchdowns on the first two drives of the game.

"I expect to play that way every week, it just doesn't happen," Smith said. "It's important to build some positive momentum for myself to get going for our team because the better I play, the better situations our team can be put in. I understand that I have a major role on this team, which I love and embrace. It's important for me to play at a high level all the time."

Smith didn't look like a picture of self-assurance last Sunday. He walked out of the locker room with his hood on and declined to talk to reporters. He later tweeted that he was "sick" about the drop and acknowledged that these are "very trying times."

Fast-forward to Raymond James Stadium, where he bounced back by taking advantage of curious coverage. On each of Smith's two touchdowns, Buccaneers cornerback Brandon Dixon played off the line by 4 yards and allowed Smith to get a free release. And, each time, Smith ran an inside slant and caught the ball before being touched.

After Smith scored his touchdowns, he took a knee in the end zone and bowed his head.

"I just think that the understanding of perseverance pays off," coach John Harbaugh said. "You can't get down on yourself. You can't mope around. You've got to go for it. You just have to find a way to turn it around and come out on the other end. Eventually, it's going to happen if you keep your faith. He's too good a player not to be making plays like that. We knew it was just a matter of time."

This marked Smith's first multiple-touchdown game since January 2013, when he burned cornerback Champ Bailey twice in an AFC divisional playoff game in Denver.