Reed's `quick' sting stymies Cincinnati

Safety's 2 interceptions halt Bengals' momentum, put Ravens in good spot

Ravens Gameday

Ravens 23, Bengals 9

September 27, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

CINCINNATI -- As linebacker Terrell Suggs commented on Ed Reed's two-interception day in the Ravens' 23-9 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, he focused on a word to describe Reed's reactions yesterday.

Suggs called Reed "quick," an adjective that could have referred to the Pro Bowl safety's breaks on the ball or the moves he made with the ball in his hands afterward.

"When he's playing like that, we're very hard to beat," Suggs said. "As you can see, they didn't get in the end zone."

Neither did Reed on his returns, but he totaled a career-high 90 yards. Reed's second pick quashed the Bengals' momentum after they had marched to the Ravens' 29-yard line early in the fourth quarter.

Receiver Chad Johnson ran a post route right to Reed, who stepped in front of the receiver and intercepted the pass at the 3-yard line to preserve a 17-6 lead.

Though the Ravens jumped out to a 17-0 lead and looked in control throughout, minutes before that interception, the defense appeared on its heels.

"That was big," nickel back Ray Walls said. "Ed Reed is a big player making big plays. He's our leader in the secondary, doing his job.

"When you're in the huddle, he's always telling you something. Play the defense and he'll have your back."

Reed's first interception came in the second quarter after the Bengals crept into Ravens' territory.

Carson Palmer, scrambling around in the pocket, threw up a deep ball to Johnson, who was being defended by Chris McAlister. But Palmer was pressured so much on the throw, the ball hung up in the air like a punt, allowing Reed to go get it.

Reed deferred the credit on both interceptions to teammates.

"It was just a matter of me doing my job," Reed said. "I was doing my job, staying where I was supposed to be. All the guys were jamming and re-routing [the receivers]. They were really overthrows.

"Terrell Suggs had a great game. Those guys contained Palmer a good bit and allowed me to roam and make some plays."

On the Ravens' ensuing drive after the first interception, quarterback Kyle Boller found Randy Hymes for a 38-yard touchdown and a 17-0 lead.

"The defense gave and bent, but they didn't get in the end zone," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "They made big plays when they had to, and that was the nature of the game when we got to that point."

The real fun for Reed came after both picks. Each time, Reed weaved his way through traffic looking as though he was running an obstacle course.

Reed ducked and dodged, waited for blocks and never appeared to be running at top speed on either return. Yet, the first one netted 40 yards, the second 50.

On the second return, Reed was one player away from scoring, even though Johnson was the only player behind him at the start.

"It's a lot of chaos out there," Reed said. "You have to dodge a lot of people. You never know who is coming. They can get you from behind or from the side. It's just a matter of going north and south. That's what I try to do."

It was the third two-interception game of Reed's career.

"A safety's job is to protect the end zone," Reed said. "My coaches stay on me about that. I'm definitely looking to be that protector. We're the last line of defense, and if the ball gets over our head, then it's going to be a lot written about it. It's really about doing your job. That's what I was focusing on."

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