Ed Reed stays disciplined for two interceptions

OWINGS MILLS - Ed Reed resisted temptation, and he was rewarded. <P> Instead of continuing his penchant for gambling, the Baltimore Ravens' strong safety was disciplined in carrying out his assignments during a 23-9 victory Sunday over the Cincinnati Bengals.

After two weeks of trying to force the action, Reed simply read quarterback Carson Palmer's eyes, stayed in the deep middle of the secondary and broke on the football as few can.

The results for the Pro Bowl defensive back: two interceptions and 90 yards worth of returns to prevent Palmer from connecting with dangerous receiver Chad Johnson near the end zone. "I just did my job," Reed said.

Afterward, Reed was handed the defensive game ball from Ravens coach Brian Billick.

"Tremendous instincts," Billick said. "It was kind of encouraging from a coaching standpoint because Ed got his interceptions staying at home and doing what Ed needed to do.

"As we have said the first couple of games, he has wandered a bit trying to make things happen. You can't fault a guy for that, but sometimes you leave yourself vulnerable."

In the Ravens' 20-3 season-opening loss to the Cleveland Browns, Reed was covering wide receiver Quincy Morgan when Jeff Garcia pump faked. When Reed ran toward Morgan to defend short, he broke deep for a touchdown. A miscommunication between Reed and a cornerback was attributed for the breakdown.

In a 30-13 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Reed dropped a potential interception and wide receiver Hines Ward turned it into a 58-yard reception that set up a touchdown.

So, Reed was somewhat due for a big game and he came through with his 13th and 14th career interceptions in 35 regular-season games.

The Ravens allowed 316 passing yards, but intercepted Palmer three times with four sacks. His longest completion in 52 attempts was 23 yards to Johnson.

Johnson caught eight passes for 99 yards and T.J. Houshmandzadeh caught seven for 116. Yet, the Bengals were limited to three field goals. "The heat is on your back when they get in the red zone," Reed said. "If you can't score, you can't win."

The 2002 first-round draft pick from Miami (Fla.) has also collected four career blocked punts, returning two for touchdowns last season along with a team-high 19 pass deflections a year ago. "What's exciting is he got his interceptions doing his job, being where he's supposed to be and kind of letting it come to him," Billick said. "I think that was great for Ed to experience that."

NO FINE: Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis will not be fined for a hit on Palmer after a review by NFL executive Gene Washington, league spokesman Greg Aiello said.

Lewis was penalized 15 yards Sunday for helmet-to-helmet contact, but maintained that he led with his shoulder, not his head.

NOTES: Jamal Lewis' 75-yard touchdown run has been nominated for NFL Play of the Week. … Defensive back Corey Fuller spoke to a dyslexia tutoring program on Tuesday. … Defensive end Marques Douglas hosted the Newtown High football team at a premiere of "Friday Night Lights." … Long snapper Joe Maese distributed food in Pigtown.

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.

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