Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Typical Steve" -- with No.89, you never know what will happen

Jake Delhomme called Steve Smith's 65-yard, catch-and-run-and-pivot-and-stay-off-heel-and-survive-a-replay-challenge Sunday against Arizona "typical Steve." You know what? It was. How Smith tiptoed that sideline while avoiding two defenders in what amounted to a phone booth -- that was the most remarkable play of Sunday's 27-23 Carolina win.

I'd put it in my Top 10 among all-time Smith TDs, but I'm not sure it would make the Top 5 -- that's how ridiculously good Smith's all-time highlight tape would be.

My No.1? Still the playoff TD at St. Louis in 2003, because of the huge implications. Read on below for a chance to name your best Steve Smith moment in the comments section of this blog and win a Panther book.

The TD also highlighted one of the advantages of watching the Panthers over the past eight years, ever since Smith first touched the ball as a rookie against Minnesota in 2001 and returned the kickoff for a TD. Smith is something. Personal issues, talent, heart on his sleeve, chip on his shoulder -- all of that, coupled with an incredible drive and a knack for coming up big in big moments. It makes No.89 the most dazzling player the Panthers have ever had, and it's not close.

Smith has only played six games for Carolina this season because of his two-game suspension for breaking teammate Ken Lucas's nose. He's also one of only two NFL WRs to average more than 100 yards per game so far this season -- Houston's Andre Johnson is the other. Here's the full list.

So here's a question for you: Let's say Smith's best-ever TD catch was the St. Louis one in 2003. I think most Panther fans would agree to that.

What would be your second-favorite Steve Smith play ever and why? Or, if the playoff catch wasn't No.1 for you, what was and why?

Best comment below -- either gotta be funny or dramatic, but keep it honest and keep it clean -- wins a signed copy of my 2004 book "Tales from the Carolina Panthers Sideline." I'll post the winner with an update in this blog item on Tuesday, Oct.28 by 4 p.m. (TUESDAY AFTERNOON UPDATE: I've picked a winner for this contest -- this I've also noted in the "comments" section toward the end. The winner of the Panthers book is one of the early posts on the comment list from someone who calls themselves "blackmasksandgasoline." I liked the thoroughness and promptness of this list, which included a few I hadn't thought of myself. But all the posts were very good, and thanks for them. There was even a correct usage of the word "riposte" -- very impressive! Thanks, yall, for reading)


Anonymous said...

Definealty last year agianst the Texans when he went into a pile of about 8 defenders and some how came out of it and scored the touch down. Thats my favortie by far.

James Kimball said...

Perhaps my favorite is the playoff win against the Chicago Bears where Smith absolutely torched them. We were the talk of the league that week and everyone was a buzz about how Seattle could possibly defend him. I love'd his first TD of that game. Long pass, all out run, the defender falls down and Steve coasts into the end zone.

blackmasksandgasoline said...

1. X-Clown
2. Houston Houdini act
3. 2003, VS Buccs, juggling it at the end of the game for the gamewinning catch between 2 defenders
4. 05 vs Bears 1st td of playoffs when he broke the safety's ankles
5. the 02 game vs cincinatti (two punt returns for tds)
6. this last one, with his strong toes
7. last year vs houston again, when he popped it up to himself
8. the bucs monday night game when he threw up in a trashcan inbetween TD catches
9. 03 superbowl TD
10. when Smoot learned not to run his mouth to Smitty...

and the list goes on and on...
it wasn't a td,but in 05 vs the bears, when he onehanded wrestled the ball away from the hands of two different defenders for a deep reception...that was pretty special.

i remember after the playoff game, urlacher said something along the lines of "he's the best offensive player. period." wish i wasn't too lazy to get that word for word. but that's life homie.

Jacob said...

Although it wasn't spectacular or flash, I would say the punt return for a touchdown against Seattle just for what it represented.

Carolina was struggling in the game and had been carried by Smith all season. Smith demanded to return the punt and just like his first touch in the NFL he scored a touchdown. I'll never forget that play as it showed the resolve of Smith.

Anonymous said...

I agree, the St. Louis playoff game TD is tops. But yesterday's catch does make the cut. The rest of my top 5:

2) Week 1, 2001, opening kickoff return for TD. No one seems to appreciate the historical significance of that TD. Had he not made that TD, there is a very real chance we lose that game and go on to an 0-16 season, which has never happened (the '76-77 winless Bucs teams were playing in a 14-week season).
3) Week 8, 2008 sideline high-wire act. I was at the game, in section 203 which is in the west end zone basically looking right down that sideline. Everyone in the secition was sure that he was out. The fact that he wasn't made it an even more incredible play.
4) Super Bowl TD - Torching a great defense and showing the type of resiliancy we are talking about with the 2008 team.
5) Although it was a preseason game, his diving over the pylon in the blowout preseason win over the Redskins was fabulous. I have that TD as the desktop wallpaper on my home PC.

Anonymous said...

One of my most memorable Steve Smith touchdowns wasn't simply the way he scored, but what he did afterward. It came against Tampa Bay. And, upon reaching the endzone, Smith proceeds to fence an imaginary buccaneer with the football.

Classic. And quite possibly his best ever TD celebration before the NFL started cracking down on them.

To me, that celebration is a perfect representation of Smith. A quick, agile receiver serving up the perfect riposte and lightning-quick strike to take the heart out of opposing teams. That's why he drives defensive coordinators and DB's crazy. And I'm glad he plays for the Panthers. Otherwise, imagine how we'd feel if he was scoring such TDs against us?


gfunk846 said...

1. 2003 NFC Divisional
Unforgettable. Monumental.
2. 2005 NFC Championship
This has to be in the top 5 because of the story behind it; truly characteristic.
3. 2007 Week 2: Houston Texans
Again, a top 5 because it is a perfect reflection of his tenacity as a player
4. 2005 NFC Divisional.
5. 2001 Week 1
Smith's first touchdown of many. If only we knew what we were in store for then.

Writing in from Salamanca, Spain
-if that gives me any extra points.

Anonymous said...

how about the game against the texans last year where he tipped the ball to himself in the endzone

k to the s said...

Brian Urlacher said: "Steve Smith, that is what happened to us. He just kept making plays. He is the best offensive player in the league."

James said...

I'll tell you my 2nd favorite Steve Smith touchdown tomorrow...maybe

dondada said...

Mine has to be (well besides the ones you all mentioned) in 03 in the playoffs against Dallas right before the St. Louis game. Smith went up for the ball in the front corner of the end zone among two defenders and they hit him and he was basiclly flying in the air like a rag doll and caught the ball for the TD. That was truly a rediculous catch.

AppStatePantherFan said...

I have two different catches I'd put in the list for different reasons. First, the catch against Houston last year (I was in attendence in the upper level) where he appeared to be tackled. I turned away frustrated from the whole game and looked back to find Steve in the endzone somehow... It's beyond me how he got through all those defenders to this day; the only way I can think of is that he must have been covered in butter, motor oil, or some kind of substance to be that slick.

The other would be against Arizona LAST season in Arizona. This one didn't necessarily require much skill, but it just seemed hilarious (even now it still does) that he was catching this ball from Vinny Testaverde, coupled with the fact that the defender just stopped dead in his tracks before the ball even got there. He was pretty much just bowing out into submission to the greatest. Coach Fox said it's better to be ricochet than toast. Well, whoever tries to cover Steve Smith is always burnt toast.

Scott Fowler said...

Thanks to all of yall who wrote in for this. Sounds like the "Houston Houdini" act Smith pulled was the overall favorite at the No.2 spot. As also indicated in the updated post above, the winner of the free Panthers book is the poster called "black masks and gasoline." That person needs to get in touch with me at thank you all, as always, for reading "Scott Says" and The Charlotte Observer.