Reed TD `could be a turning point'

Safety won't admit play may jump-start season

Ravens Gameday

Ravens 17, Redskins 10

October 11, 2004|By Brent Jones | Brent Jones,SUN STAFF

LANDOVER -- The easy answer would have been yes.

Ed Reed could have acknowledged that his game-changing play in last night's 17-10 Ravens win over the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field was the most special, the most important and the most satisfying of a three-year career that has been filled with those types of plays, but he chose not to.

Instead, Reed took the play for what it was worth -- a 12-yard sack of Redskins quarterback Mark Brunell in which he knocked the ball loose, scooped it up, then rambled 22 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Redskins' lead to 10-7 in the third quarter and redirecting an outcome that appeared certain at halftime.

"That was the biggest play I made [last night]," Reed said.

That is as far as Reed would go.

"I never really put plays on a measuring stick," Reed said. "They're just game-breakers. They are momentum changers. It is what the team expects out of me, and it's what I plan to give to the team always. It's just an all-out effort."

A loss would have sent the Ravens staggering into their bye week with a losing record, a different attitude and perhaps the label of Super Bowl pretenders. Instead, Reed's touchdown sparked an emotional outburst in the Ravens, igniting a big play on special teams for another touchdown, revving up a bruising ground game that wore the Redskins down in the fourth quarter and stabilizing a defense that shut out Washington in the second half.

Although Reed is hesitant to rate what his trifecta (sack, forced fumble, recovered fumble) means for his career, cornerback Chris McAlister spoke to the importance of what a play like that could mean for the rest of the season.

"By him scoring, that really shifted the momentum, to the point where we picked up our intensity even more," McAlister said.

"That could be a turning point to this season."

It was the third touchdown of Reed's career, his first off a sack. The play, coming in a national spotlight, also likely has him in line for another Pro Bowl appearance. It would be hard to deny him after his performance last night.

Besides the touchdown, Reed nearly intercepted a deep pass in the end zone intended for Laveranues Coles, but Deion Sanders beat him to it.

That was the only play Reed did not finish off. He was the best player on the field, frustrating Redskins running back Clinton Portis with three tackles behind the line of scrimmage on blitzes, while finishing with six overall tackles.

"Ed is a big-play person," Sanders said. "I think he is the best safety in the league. He makes plays, that is what he does. Ed is really a cornerback playing safety."

And, apparently, a pretty good blocker, too.

Reed landed one of the final blocks that helped spring B.J. Sams for a 78-yard punt return for a touchdown, taking out a Redskins defender close to the sideline. The block set up a one-on-one situation with Sams and punter Tom Tupa, one Sams won as Tupa failed to knock him out of bounds, and the Ravens led 14-10 late in the third quarter.

"I was kind of tired, so I was just trying to time it as best I could," Reed said. "B.J. is a fast guy to catch up with, so I really just wanted to get in [the defender's] way and stop his progression."

Reed's touchdown, though, will be remembered in this area for a while, because it gives the Ravens bragging rights over the rival Redskins for four years.

"You've seen Ed do that so many times," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "That is what makes him special."

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