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Ed Reed Sounds Off After Loss

Posted Dec 16, 2012

The Ravens defense started strong, but gave up big plays in the second half.

Safety Ed Reed took off his helmet and slammed it to the ground with both hands.

It was an uncharacteristic display of frustration from the Ravens’ generally cool-headed leader after allowing a 51-yard touchdown pass.

After the Ravens defense kept Baltimore in the game early, it faltered down the stretch in Sunday’s lopsided 34-17 loss at M&T Bank Stadium.

Outspoken linebacker Terrell Suggs did not speak with the media afterwards. But Reed sounded off, first saying he was "embarrassed" for the city of Baltimore by the performance.

“I felt like it was Christmas, and not for our side,” he said. “We were in a giving mood, honestly.

"I didn’t shake hands today because I was just hurting as a player for the mistakes that we made personally as a secondary."

The defense gave the Ravens a jolt early on, which was particularly impressive considering all the injuries to the unit.

It was still without inside linebackers Ray Lewis (triceps) and Dannell Ellerbe (ankle). Safety Bernard Pollard (ribs) was the most recent Raven to miss a game, meaning Reed and Cary Williams are the only starters from the beginning of the year not to sit out at least one contest.

Suggs (biceps) and cornerback Jimmy Smith (sports hernia) returned, but Suggs spent some time on the sidelines shaking his arm out and Smith didn’t play a full share.

“Obviously, we have been kind of decimated with injuries and everything,” Reed said. “With those key injuries, there is really no excuse for it because we are a great team, but it just kind of got out of hand early, and we didn’t play a great game as players.

"[Injuries] are part of it, but we’re professionals. We have to come to work every week, not to say we didn’t come to work [this week], we did, but today we didn’t. ... It’s like you’re out there lackadaisical, like you are just better than everybody. You are not. You have to come to play football every week. This is the NFL. You have to be on your game, and nobody is safe. That’s why we lost a coach last week."

Reed included himself in that equation. He was hurtled by running back Knowshon Moreno at one point, and said he "just wasn't all the way into it" because he was dealing with flu symptoms.

Reed was asked whether the Ravens are losing control after three straight losses.

"I wouldn’t say spiraling out of control, but it’s been bad these last three weeks," he said.

Regardless of its banged-up unit, the Ravens defense was flying around the field early on and helping to offset a slow start by the offense.

The defense held the Broncos to a three-and-out to start the game. It only gave up a field goal after Baltimore’s offense turned the ball over near midfield on its first possession.

Then Baltimore’s pass rush started getting to Manning.  Outside linebacker Paul Kruger hit his arm, forcing a fluttering pass. Defensive end Pernell McPhee notched his first sack since Week 1 to force a second-straight, [comma] three-and-out.

The Broncos got their first touchdown after a 15-yard gain to Decker, who finished with eight catches for 133 yards and a score. Running back Jacob Hester scored on a 1-yard plunge on the next play.

But Denver didn’t score any more offensive points in the first half and finished with 173 net yards of offense. The Broncos carried a 17-0 lead into halftime after Joe Flacco’s costly interception was returned for a touchdown.

“I think guys were just winning one-on-one matchups. Some of the defensive linemen were just out there making plays. We had the right blitzes called,” Kruger said.

“Then, it just got out of control and we lost control.”

The offense scored its first points on its first drive of the second half, showing some signs of life that it could perhaps mount a comeback.

But on the fifth play of the next drive, wide receiver Eric Decker put a double move on cornerback Cary Williams. He got behind him and Reed didn’t cover over the top.

Decker, who finished with eight catches for 133 yards, cruised into the end zone for a 51-yard touchdown that gave the Broncos a 21-point lead and essentially started the rout.

“I didn’t play my best football today,” Williams said.

“It was a double move, man. The whole game, it was a cat and mouse game out there. It was a great play call. He was able to make the play and I didn’t. He beat me.”

The Broncos punched the ball in for another touchdown on their next drive too.

Given good starting field position at their own 39 after poor Ravens punt coverage, Manning hit tight end Joel Dreessen for a 28-yard gain over the middle. Moreno galloped untouched into the end zone from six yards out to give the Broncos a 31-3 lead.

The Broncos spent much of the fourth quarter running the ball to eat the clock and end the game.

Despite the loads of Ravens injuries, they held quarterback Peyton Manning to just 204 passing yards – the fewest he’s had all season long.

But that didn’t make their pain go away. Manning left M&T Bank Stadium with his ninth straight win against the Ravens and Baltimore missed another chance to clinch a playoff berth and the division.

"It hits you in your heart when you lose three straight and you had an opportunity to close out your division the last three weeks,” Reed said. “It’s terrible. It’s what all you [media] guys have been saying about us right now.

“Regardless of us not listening to it or not worrying about it, it’s just been the truth. We’ve just acted on it to come out and lose today.”

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