After an offseason in which he suggested that he might be ready to quit playing football, Ed Reed has returned to the Ravens and shown he has plenty of good football left in him — while also showing that he’s the greatest interception returner the game has ever seen.
Reed intercepted an Andy Dalton pass and returned it 34 yards late in the third quarter of the Ravens’ 44-13 win over the Bengals, a play that both put the game away for Baltimore and also gave Reed a new NFL record of 1,497 career interception return yards. Reed has averaged 25.8 yards a return on his 58 career interceptions, and he also owns the NFL record for the highest interception return average for players with at least 30 career interceptions. Reed later left the game with a hamstring injury; it’s not clear whether the injury was serious or whether the Ravens just took Reed out because the game was in the bag.
Although Cincinnati made things interesting with a big touchdown before halftime, Baltimore was the better team from start to finish. Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was throwing beautiful deep balls all night, and he completed 21 of 29 passes for 299 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions before leaving midway through the fourth quarter.
The Bengals got a good game from running back Benjarvus Green-Ellis and a good game from unheralded receiver Andrew Hawkins, but this game made clear that the Bengals are not on the Ravens’ level. Baltimore starts this season where it ended last season, on top of the AFC North.