Defense 'Swarming' Heading into Playoffs

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The Ravens' defense is swarming heading into the playoffs.

Baltimore got a season-high five turnovers from the Cincinnati Bengals in their regular-season finale Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

The defense now has nine turnovers in the past two games and 13 in its last four.

"It's just about a swarming defense," linebacker Ray Lewis said.

"Any time you have a swarming defense, you're going to have those [turnover] possibilities. That's a credit to the way we practice, to what we feel about each other. And that is never let another man see you loafing on the field."

Safety Ed Reed notched his seventh and eighth interceptions of the season, making him tops in the NFL at game's end despite spending the first six games of the season on the Physically Unable To Perform List.

Cornerback Chris Carr recorded two caused fumbles, both recovered by the Ravens. Carr now has three fumbles caused in the past two games.

Lastly, Lewis recovered a crucial fumble as he pressured quarterback Carson Palmer on the Bengals' second-to-last drive. It was his second fumble recovery of the day.

Baltimore surrendered 395 total net yards to the Bengals, who put up 34 points on San Diego's then-No. 1 defense last week and dominated time of possession at M&T Bank Stadium, 34:42 to 25:18.

It's the second-most yards the Ravens have given up this season. But the five turnovers led to only seven Cincinnati points on the scoreboard.

"I think our defense played out of their minds," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I think our defense was lights-out with turnovers, coming up with stops on third-down and fourth-down, playing great in the red zone there at the end, especially."

Reed got the turnover party started by intercepting Palmer's second pass of the game. Cornerback Lardarius Webb tipped the pass intended for Andre Caldwell and Reed swooped in to grab the deflection. That led to a Ravens field goal.

The safety's second interception came at the end of the first half with Cincinnati threatening to take a lead into the locker room. A pass over the middle bounced off wide receiver Jordan Shipley's arm and Reed scooped it off the turf. Weaving through traffic, he returned it 44 yards.

With the pick, Reed passed Philadelphia's Asante Samuel for most interceptions in the NFL with eight. But Reed did it in just 10 games. The Pro Bowler's season-high is nine interceptions in 2004 and 2008 (both in 16 games).

"Great accomplishment," Reed said. "Hats off to my teammates. I really appreciate them letting me be me still. … Johnny on the spot. I'm just doing my job."

Carr's first strip came in the second quarter after a 21-yard gain by wide receiver Jerome Simpson. Carr came from behind and got a piece of the ball.

His second came as he wrapped up Simpson deep in Bengals territory. Carr didn't touch the ball this time, but it came bounding out of Simpson's hands as Carr hit him and was recovered by defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. That led to the Ravens' lone touchdown.

"When somebody catches the ball, you've got to be conscious and try to strip the ball," Carr said. "I know that I've got killers coming."

Lewis was the beneficiary of another Bengals flub in the fourth quarter. With Cincinnati inside the Ravens' 30-yard line, Palmer simply dropped the ball as he was scampering from Lewis. Palmer wasn't touched on the play, but didn't have the ball tucked.

Lewis smiled afterwards, taking some credit for the play.

"He's trying to get away from me," Lewis said. "People have had that [happen] before."

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