Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith played against the New England Patriots with a heavy heart on Sunday night. This was after the death of his 19-year-old brother, Tevin Chris Jones, but you wouldn't know it by looking at his final stat line.
Jones was killed in a motorcycle accident on Route 672 in northeast Virginia early Sunday morning. Smith, who was given the choice to play or tend to his family, took the field shortly before kickoff to warm up with his teammates.
Smith took to the field to heal his aching heart, and did his late brother proud by racking up 127 yards and two touchdowns on six catches.
The 23-year-old Maryland graduate was instrumental in the Ravens' victory over the Patriots. He got his team on the board with a 25-yard touchdown catch in the back corner of the end zone and added another score with just over four minutes left to pull the Ravens within two. He then drew a penalty and caught a 16-yard pass on the game-winning drive.
Losing a loved one at the ripe age of 19 is an unimaginable thing to cope with. But tragedies are often unavoidable in life, and Smith honored his brother as best he could.
This was a performance eerily reminiscent to Brett Favre's December 2009 ransacking of the Oakland Raiders on Monday Night Football—one day after his father's passing. Favre threw for 399 yards and four touchdowns in the Green Bay Packers' 41-7 trouncing.
Smith's night wasn't quite as jaw-dropping as Favre's, but he played with a special intensity that he hadn't yet shown this season.
After accumulating just 108 yards in the team's first two games, Smith more than doubled that output on Sunday night against one of the best teams in the league.
Everybody likes to peg sports as more dramatic than they really are, but this truly was a storybook moment and a fitting ending for Smith's trying weekend.
Nobody would have blamed Smith if he was unable to accompany his teammates in Baltimore on Sunday night, but his motivation to push on is a testament to his will and character.
Unless you live in New England, Smith had to be the guy you were pulling for.
That's what makes this game so great—sometimes it seems like players literally will things to happen in times of great adversity.