"He's a stronger man than I am," Rice said. "If I had to face death within hours of playing the game, that would be a tough decision. He's got two families, and he knows we have his back."
Upon arriving at the stadium, the familiar surroundings helped Smith get ready to go.
"When I came here, the more I was grounded. The more comfortable I began to feel," he said. "I'm glad I came back up here. It helped me out a lot."
Coach John Harbaugh said: "If you're around athletics, I guess you feel like it's an escape, an opportunity to do what he does. He's being doing it his whole life; he knows what to do. When Torrey said he wanted to play, the decision was finished. He was going to get the opportunity to play. He deserved that."
A moment of silence was observed before the game for Smith's brother.
"That touched me right there," Smith said. "That the organization would honor my brother, one of my family members who had absolutely nothing to do with this program besides me."
When the teams met in January, the Patriots squeezed out a three-point win at home to advance to the Super Bowl. The stakes weren't nearly as high in this one, yet the game was eerily similar.
In the previous meeting, Billy Cundiff missed a 32-yard field goal in the closing seconds. In the encore, rookie Justin Tucker — who took the job away from Cundiff in training camp — drove his 27-yard kick just inside the right upright.