Reed Got What He Asked For With Flacco
Ed Reed said he wanted Joe Flacco to throw his way.
He got what he asked for.
The former Ravens safety and future Hall of Famer said Wednesday that NFL quarterbacks have been throwing away from him this season, usually a sign of respect to avoid a potential turnover or pass break up.
"I hope it changes this week," Reed said. "Probably won't, but we'll see."
It did change. Flacco dared to challenge Reed, and in doing so, provided the game-breaking play of the day.
Flacco threw an incredible bomb, amidst strong wind gusts, to the blazing Jacoby Jones, who absolutely burned Reed on the way to a 66-yard touchdown to put the game out of reach. In the video below (mobile users tap "View in Browser"), Reed appeared to be trying to track the football, but lost it along with his positioning.
"Ed Reed couldn't find [the] ball at all," tweeted The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.
"That's Ed Reed's play to make, and he just couldn't do it," said CBS play-by-play analyst Dan Dierdorf. "You got to wonder, what would the Ed Reed of five years ago have done on that play?"
The peeps in New York aren't pleased this morning with their newly-acquired safety. The headline for the New York Daily News reads: "On Jets new pickup, Reed it and weep."
"Ed Reed was brought in to stop the deep ball," wrote Seth Walder. "On Sunday, [he gave it up](file:///C:/Users/downingg/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/Temporary Internet Files/Content.Outlook/G7RZWHSD/: http:/www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/jets-new-pickup-reed-weep-article-1.1527855#ixzz2lf284MIl)."
The play also signaled the return of the deep ball in Baltimore, which has been missing for 10 games. Flacco completed two passes of 30 yards or more downfield Sunday, after going 4-of-17 with an interception on those throws this season, according to ESPN.
The Jets do owe Reed for saving another Jones touchdown.
Reed notched his first pass breakup of the season when he dislodged a would-be touchdown with a nasty hit in the end zone, which can be seen in the GIF below.
It was Reed's standout play of the game, but it was downhill from there. Tight end Ed Dickson got a little revenge when he knocked Reed back about four yards when the 35-year-old tried to tackle him.
Ray Lewis Targets Flacco With Criticism
Ray Lewis has shown little hesitation critiquing his former team of 17 years in his new role as an ESPN analyst.
He continued Sunday morning, prior to the Ravens-Jets matchup, and this time Lewis' target was Flacco.
Flacco is enduring his worst statistical season of his career, including a career-high 14 interceptions, but per CSNBaltimore.com, Lewis said the quarterback isn't really playing differently than in years past. Lewis says the difference is that he lacks a supporting cast to compensate for his mistakes.
"When I was playing with Joe Flacco, Joe Flacco was making these same mistakes back then, but our defense always found a way to bail him out," Lewis said during ESPN's Sunday NFL Countdown.
Lewis said that in order for Flacco to flourish, the offense needs more balance with a successful running attack, meaning Flacco can't carry the offense all on his own.
"There's no real balance that [the] Baltimore Ravens have right now and they want to make Joe Flacco – they gave him $100 million, I understand that – they want to make Joe Flacco a Tom Brady or Peyton Manning. He's not that type of guy. He's a system type of guy that if you have the balance – that you have running the ball, doing the things you need to do – then Joe Flacco excels."
Not everyone agreed with Lewis' assertion.
ESPN's Jamison Hensley subscribes to the idea that Flacco hasn't lived up to expectations and needs a "solid supporting cast" because a consistent run game sets up Flacco's strength in the play-action pass.
But Hensley doesn't think the Ravens envisioned Flacco becoming the next Brady or Manning.
"The Ravens paid Flacco for a couple of reasons: he earned the contract after being the Most Valuable Player of the Super Bowl and other teams would've given him that money if the Ravens opted not to do so. It was simply the going rate for a championship quarterback.
"Let's also don't overlook the fact that Flacco lacks the same pass protection as Brady and Manning. If you're getting hit like Flacco, it doesn't matter what you pay that quarterback. He's not going to produce."
Flacco Doesn't Try To Fake A Route In Wildcat
Can you tell that Flacco doesn't really care to be a receiver?
In the GIF below, take a look at the top left corner of the screen.
That's Flacco lined up out wide, and when backup quarterback Tyrod Taylor snaps the ball in the Wildcat, Flacco doesn't even fake a route, or pretend like he might run a route. He stayed put with his hands hanging to his side.
"It's easy to see why Flacco feels this is a slap in the face," Hensley wrote. "The Ravens paid him $120.6 million to throw the ball and not split out wide. But he shouldn't be too offended. Even the Pittsburgh Steelers ran the wildcat with Ben Roethlisberger and he's won two Super Bowls."
Tucker Knows He's Money
I love this GIF.
After Justin Tucker kicked 53-yard field goal in crazy windy M&T Bank Stadium (his fourth field goal of the day), he puts his arms up, looks at the fans above and simply waves in their cheers.
"That's right, we all know that kick was money," his wave seems to say. "Pour it on me."
Tucker has now tied Matt Stover for the second-longest streak in franchise history with 22 consecutive field goals.
Ravens Tied For Final Wild-Card Spot
This is why you can never count the Steelers out.
The Ravens are in a six-way tie for the final AFC wild-card spot, but tiebreaker procedures give the Tennessee Titans the edge. Next in line is Pittsburgh, who beat Baltimore in a head-to-head matchup last month.
The Steelers have quietly clawed their way into playoff contention after starting the season 0-4. But they've won three straight, and want to keep the streak alive when they visit M&T Bank Stadium Thursday night.
"I know this much: Thanksgiving night just got a little bit more interesting, thanks to Week 12's results," wrote SI.com's Don Banks. "The Steelers and Ravens both won to move to 5-6 and that means their Week 13 showdown on Thursday night in Baltimore just got a little more juice added to it.
"If [Pittsburgh] can pull the upset in Baltimore – and the Ravens likely will only be slight favorites – Pittsburgh will have picked up a pair of AFC North wins in a five-day span, and fought its way to .500 for the first time all season. That would make the resurgent Steelers a dangerous team to play in December."
Below are the AFC playoff standings per, NFL.com.
|AFC PLAYOFF STANDINGS|
|In The Hunt||W||L||DIV||CONF|
- @CliftonBrownCSN: Harbaugh smiled when asked if Tyrod would be used more. "I can't tell you. We'll see." Sounds like we'll see more Tyrod. #RavensTalk [Twitter]
- @jamisonhensley: #Ravens defense gets up for Rex Ryan. In 3 games against Ryan, Ravens' defense hasn't allowed a touchdown including Sunday's 19-3 victory. [Twitter]
- @PMGleason [Raven PR]: Huge day for @TheRealJacoby12 who registered 249 combined yards (103 receiving, 108 PR, 38 KOR) and had 1 TD. #Ravens [Twitter]
- @PMGleason: The #Ravens have posted at least 1 sack in 22-straight games, tying a franchise record that originally spanned the 2000-01 seasons [Twitter]
- @RavensInsider: Ray Rice on Jets defense: 'No sugar coating, those boys were hunting. It was a Rex Ryan defense, much respect' [Twitter]
- @GerrySandusky: Haloti Ngata says his knee feels fine after today's game and he'll be ready for Thursday against the Steelers. [Twitter]
- Defensive end Chris Canty briefly left the game and went to the locker room with an undisclosed injury, but returned. What was the issue? "We don't talk about injuries around here," Canty told Aaron Wilson. "The only thing that's important is I went back in the game. I felt fine." [The Baltimore Sun]
- @mzenitz: Brynden Trawick (lower leg injury) never returned to the game after getting hurt early on [Twitter]
- @Ravens: No pyro today during introductions. So Sizzle doesn't have his usual flames. Too much wind. [Twitter]