As Ravens safety Ed Reed!(/team/roster/ed-reed/89ece203-7de4-4b40-9651-f16f4c3b7699/ "Ed Reed") kneeled on the chilly Cleveland Browns Stadium sideline, a teammate told him he was on fire.
Reed had just notched his second interception of the day, which not only sealed Baltimore's 20-10 win, but ensured a third-straight playoff trip.
So Reed didn't think twice about the comment.
"They didn't say literally," Reed said.
The back of Reed's jacket caught fire and began smoking. He was sitting too close to the jumbo sideline heaters. After teammates smelled something burning, an unharmed Reed leapt to his feet and threw off his jacket.
"I think you've got your hook for your story," Head Coach **John Harbaugh** said. "Ed was on fire. He really was on fire. He just played so well. He's such a factor back there, run game and pass game."
Reed notched his fifth and sixth interceptions of the season against Browns rookie quarterback Colt McCoy. It highlighted a four-turnover day for the Ravens' defense.
Reed's first interception came in the second quarter with the Browns nearly at midfield. Cleveland wideout Mohammed Massaquoi looked open behind cornerback Lardarius Webb!(/team/roster/lardarius-webb/198340ed-25e5-4117-8d71-5fc28be24b71/ "Lardarius Webb"). McCoy thought the same thing and tossed it up. Reed was playing center field and picked off the jump ball. His 20-yard return helped set-up a Ravens field goal.
It was Reed's first interception since Nov. 21, when he notched his fourth in his first four games back from offseason hip surgery.
Reed's second interception allowed Baltimore to finally relax in the final minutes of the game. Cleveland was trailing by 10 points with less than five minutes remaining, but was in scoring territory and becoming a comeback threat.
That's when McCoy targeted Massaquoi in the end zone. Reed came over the top of Webb to again notch the leaping pick.
"We were looking to get a turnover right there," Reed said. "Me and **Dawan [Landry]** were talking about it. [I was] just hanging deep and doing my job, reading the quarterback a little bit. But really [it was] just being in the right place, right time."
Reed and Harbaugh gave credit to the Ravens' cornerbacks and the defense's progression as a whole. Baltimore held McCoy to 149 passing yards. Webb had a first-quarter interception and cornerback **Chris Carr** logged a forced fumble early in the second quarter.
"We're playing fundamentally very well and that allows Ed to capitalize on his talents," Harbaugh said. "It makes a big difference. ... That's usually what happens. Somebody steps up and makes a play to stop a drive. And Ed did that for us today."
Of course, a Reed interception and return can't be without a bit of drama.
The master of improvisation brought his second pick out of the end zone for a weaving 32-yard return. As he was falling to the turf, Reed pitched the ball backwards towards Webb, but it was off-target. Webb fell on the ball to maintain possession.
Reed, who in Week 11 in Carolina made a lateral to Landry that allowed him to get into the end zone, admitted it wasn't a good call.
"You probably will never hear me say this [again], but dumb decision," Reed said. "Secure the football, first and foremost. That's the most important thing. Tough times right now; you can't put yourself in jeopardy to lose the football."
Reed, who warned Harbaugh not to get too close to the sideline heaters before his own episode, had another lesson to impart before leaving Cleveland.
"You've got to be smart trying to stay warm," he said with a laugh. "[I was] too warm."