When you think of the Baltimore Ravens, you first think of Ray Lewis, and then you think of Ed Reed. I have been a passionate Ravens fan my entire life living in Texas. I have been lucky enough to go to one Ravens game in my 19 years of life. It was the 2012 AFC Divisional Playoff game vs. the Texans in Baltimore. It was one of the best experiences of my life thus far, and I will never forget one particular moment of that game, which leads us into Ed Reed‘s top five moments of his illustrious career.
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#5: Reed Sends Ravens to the 2012 AFC Championship Game
This is probably the moment I have the most sentiment with because I actually saw this happen live in M&T Bank Stadium. T.J. Yates and the Houston Texans were driving down the field down 20-13 with two minutes left. Ed had dropped two interception chances that day and looked to fall on his back and hurt himself early in the first half, and clearly was playing hurt most of the game. With two minutes to go, Yates threw a deep pass trying to connect with veteran Andre Johnson, but was intercepted by none other than Ed Reed. That’s when I heard and participated in the fans saying “REEEEEEEEED” for the first time live. One moment I will never forget.
#4: Reed Intercepts Andy Dalton to break INT Return Yards Record
Another one of my fondest memories as a Ravens fan was this dominating Week 1 performance of the Ravens 2013 season, beating the Bengals, 44-13, in the opening game of the season. The Ravens were leading, 27-13, with the Bengals on their own 24-yard-line. After a heartbreaking loss to the Patriots in the 2012 AFC Championship, the Ravens needed a huge start to their season. Enter Ed Reed. The Ravens had a comfortable lead with 20 seconds left in the third quarter, but this next play busted the game wide open and set a tone for the Ravens season. Andy Dalton attempted a pass down field, Reed intercepted it. He took it back to the house, putting the Ravens up 34-13, and more importantly, became the all-time interception returns leader. That play set a tone that led the Ravens to their second Lombardi Trophy in 14 years, but we’ll get to that later.
#3: Reed Gets Drafted by Ravens in the First Round
This also is a top five moment for the Ravens organization as a whole. Reed was easily one of their best draft selections they have made. He was selected in the 2002 NFL draft by the Ravens with their first-round pick. This was obviously one of the most important moments in his career as he convinced the Ravens he was the best player on the board. They took a chance on him and it paid dividends. Reed went on to be selected for nine Pro Bowls as well as being a eight time All-Pro selection.
#2: Reed’s Cconic 107-Yard Interception Return
There can be an argument made for this to be his number one moment in his career, but I believe there is one that soars above this one. In 2008 Ed Reed broke the record for longest interception return when he picked off Kevin Kolb and made a spectacular return, breaking four tackles on the way to the end zone. That is probably one of the most amazing and athletic plays I have ever witnessed. That was the day as a twelve years old Ravens fan that I knew how impressive and great of a player Ed Reed really was.
#1: Intercepting Colin Kaepernick to Propel Ravens to Win Super Bowl XLVII
This obviously is my favorite and best memory as a Ravens fan to this day. Late in the second quarter Colin Kaepernick overthrew Randy Moss and the ball hawk safety that Ed Reed is, was right there to make the interception to take it back to the Ravens 35 yard line. That play gave the Ravens a ton of momentum and confidence on defense to see one of their star veterans make a fantastic play in the biggest stage of them all. That was one of the plays that truly set the tone of that game. Of course, the rest of that game is history and the Ravens went on to win, 34-31, and take home their second Super Bowl of their young history in Baltimore.
Ed Reed truly embodied what it meant to play like a Raven. Thank you Ed for all the wonderful memories you brought to Ravens Nation.
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