In last week's game against the Philadelphia Eagles, safety
Reed wasn’t going to let that happen again this week.
He used that play as motivation and came into Sunday’s game focused on playing more physical, which showed with a number of big hits in the 31-30 victory over New England.
"Coach harped on [physicality] all week,” Reed said. "I know it starts with me when it comes to the secondary. I’m the guy that kind of sets the tone, whether it’s in the passing game or running game. I’m the leader. Those guys look up to me, so if I’m out there missing tackles or messing up plays, it’s going to happen on both sides.”
Reed finished the game with nine total tackles and one pass defended. But it was his hard-hitting approach that brought the fans at M&T Bank Stadium to their feet.
On the Patriots second drive of the game, Reed delivered a big hit on wide receiver Julian Edelman in the end zone. Edelman had the ball for a split second before Reed came over the middle and delivered a crushing blow to separate Edelman from the ball.
The hit – which prevented a touchdown and forced the Patriots to kick a field goal – wasn’t flagged because Reed led with his shoulder, not his head.
Later in the game, Reed laid a big hit on Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch over the middle of the field. Reed separated Branch from the football on a critical third-down play, but Reed was penalized for hitting a defenseless receiver.
"Ed, there was no helmet-to-helmet,” Lewis said. "He turned his head to the side and clearly hit him with his shoulder pad. Those things cannot affect the way this game is played.”
Regardless of whether it was the right call, the play from Reed showed a renewed emphasis on being a hard-hitting safety. His tackling was suspect at times last year, especially at the end of the season when he admitted that recent neck and shoulder injuries impacted his tackling and the way he played the game.
Reed has heard from media pundits in recent years that the neck, shoulder and hip injuries have forced him to play less physical, but the future Hall of Famer said that he isn’t worried about that talk.
"I dealt with that in the offseason,” Reed said. "I’ve been dealing with that all of my career. I let the naysayers and everybody else talk about it and let me know what that means."