The defensive performance on display by the Baltimore Ravens Sunday against the Tennessee Titans in a 21-0 shutout win was flat out historic. So historic that it's earned linebacker Za'Darius Smith AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors.
A franchise-record 11 sacks were laid on quarterback Marcus Mariota during the Week 6 matchup, with Smith leading the way with three of them.
So far this season the 26-year-old has 20 combined tackles, 5.5 sacks, and one forced fumble. As someone who is in the final year of his rookie NFL contract, he's certainly proving he is worthy of getting paid this offseason.
"It feels great, man. It's big," Smith said of the honor during media availability Wednesday. "I know when I first found out I called my mom and she was already looking at it. But I called her and she was trying to congratulate me and was like 'who would've ever thought the guy that played one year of high school football would be where he at now and making so many goals.'"
But earning AFC Defensive Player of the Week isn't the only goal Smith has in mind. His performance through the first six weeks and assisting the No. 1 ranked scoring defense is just a stepping stone to the ultimate honor.
"I was telling her, 'Ma you know this is a good self-goal but my main goal is to get us to the Super Bowl.'"
The road to the Super Bowl for Smith and the Ravens continues this Sunday vs. Drew Brees and the Saints.
Congratulations to @TheRealZSmith, the AFC Defensive Player of the Week!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) October 17, 2018
Produced 5 tackles, a career-high 3 sacks and 1 FF for a defense that posted franchise records in sacks and passing yards allowed. pic.twitter.com/UAcflmzXJB
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