Torrey Smith 'Motivated' by Missing First NFL Game

You'd have to go back to Torrey Smith's junior season at Stafford Senior High School in Falmouth, Va., to find the San Francisco 49ers wide receiver injured on the sideline during one of his football games.

Smith's broken leg kept him out of action for a brief period of time. He went on to be a dependable contributor at the University of Maryland, the Baltimore Ravens and now with the 49ers.

The streak of good health, however, changed in Week 11 when Smith's injured shoulder forced him to be inactive for the first time in his six-year NFL career. Smith's streak of 89 consecutive games played was snapped against the New England Patriots.

"It was very hard," the veteran receiver said on Tuesday. "I thought I was going to have a chance to go. It was just the best decision not to, to prevent something from getting worse."

"It feels way better than it did last week," Smith added. "That's a positive."

Smith's biggest takeaway from his pad-less gameday experience was appreciating the joy that comes along with Sundays in the NFL.

"To sit back and watch everything, it made me appreciate being out on the field," the wideout said. "To realize I've been lucky to play as many games I have in a row, to appreciate every moment, it was eye-opening for me. It kind of motivated me to get back right and try to get this thing on track."

After leading the NFL in yards per catch in his first season with the 49ers (20.1), Smith's statistics have dipped in his second season in the Bay Area. Smith has caught 17 passes for 243 yards with two touchdowns and has a long reception of 53 yards.

The numbers aren't lost on Smith, who said he's hopeful to play in Sunday's road game against the Miami Dolphins. The non-conference matchup has added meaning for the 49ers wideout. Smith has routinely trained in Miami during the offseason. He's also a few credits shy of earning a graduate business degree at, "The U."

A healthy Smith gives the 49ers offense an added weapon against a Dolphins team riding high on a five-game winning streak. Miami also boasts the league's eighth-best pass defense, allowing 224.5 yards per game.

The biggest key to San Francisco's hopes to end a nine-game slide, which includes four losses on the road in Chip Kelly's first season, is to score more second-half points.

The 49ers have 16 points in the third quarter this season. They were held to seven points in the second half of last week's defeat.

Smith took his turn answering the popular question inside the locker room, why has the second half been such an issue for the offense?

"We've had opportunities, and we've shot ourselves in the foot with penalties," the wideout said. "You can't win like that, and you're not going to win like that. If we put it all together, we'll win. That's how it's been all year.

"The good teams that win, they finish those halves. They close out. They finish games. That's the difference between being 1-9 and being in the playoff hunt."

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