SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Wide receiver Steve Smith Sr. played with four micro fractures in his back, and all the five-time Pro Bowl player fixated on after the game was the pain of the Baltimore Ravens falling to 1-5.
Each difficult loss -- all five have been decided by six points or less -- has become a rerun of big plays allowed by the secondary, interceptions thrown by Joe Flacco, dropped touchdown passes as well as interceptions and untimely penalties.
“It’s tough, it’s agonizing, we feel like we’re just running our heads into a brick wall,” Smith said. “But nobody’s going to come save us. We can’t make any excuses. Nobody cares, why, or what happened. All they want us to do, our fans, is fix it and win games. And that’s what we have to do.”
After missing last week's game, Smith acknowledged that he "manipulated" reporters Friday by saying he had "low expectations" of playing against the 49ers. He proved to be the only spark on offense in the 25-20 loss to San Francisco, catching seven passes for 137 yards and holding onto a 34-yard touchdown after landing on his injured back.
“He’s a tough guy and I wouldn’t expect anything less from him," Flacco said.
There were chances for Smith to make an even bigger splash in his return. He failed to catch two of Flacco's passes in the end zone in the second quarter.
“The one I dropped, I wish I had a very valid reason that I dropped it, but I just dropped it,” Smith said. “The second one, it looked easier than what it was. It may have hit my hands, but my face was in the grass. That's football, though.”
Smith wasn't the only one who dropped the ball. Being one of five teams with one victory this season has been a collective effort and has put the Ravens on unfamiliar ground.
In coach John Harbaugh's previous seven seasons, the Ravens never had a losing record after the first six games. The last time Baltimore was under .500 this far into a season was 2005, when the Ravens started 2-4 with Kyle Boller at quarterback.
As Smith put it, there's a lot of work to be done to turn around the season.
“If you’re 1-5, it's not an easy fix. Maybe 1-2, 1-3," Smith said. "But when you're 1-5, it's going to require some people, including myself, to look in the mirror and to see what we can get better at."