By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
7:20 AM EST, November 13, 2012
Ravens free safety Ed Reed was upset with his performance following a 55-20 rout of the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, so much so that he was apologetic afterward.
The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year ricocheted off of former University of Maryland wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, missing the tackle on a 55-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
Reed incurred a right shoulder stinger and didn't finish the game, but not because of his injury.
"Just had a bad day," Reed wrote on his Twitter account. "Not perfect, though we try!"
Ravens coach John Harbaugh indicated Monday that he thought Reed was being too hard on himself following a three-tackle game with no pass deflections.
"That's the thing about Ed he's a great player," Harbaugh said. "He's definitely his own worst critic, his own strongest critic. He has a really high standard for how he's going to play ,and I'm sure that's reflected in his comments. I thought he played well. Ed sets a high bar, and he usually reaches it."
Harbaugh acknowledged that he had a sideline discussion with Reed about whether he should stay in the game with Reed saying it was his call to pull himself out.
"These guys have a lot of pride," Harbaugh said. "These are some of the most competitive men and athletes in the world, and that's how that conversation goes sometime in a game like that. That's the way that one went."
Reid's playing time to continue
After playing nearly three quarters as a replacement for veteran left guard Bobbie Williams, Jah Reid drew solid enough reviews that he'll continue to get playing time against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It's unclear who will get the majority of the workload, though.
"I don't know who will get the bulk of it, but I anticipate both of those guys playing in there," Harbaugh said.
For the 6-foot-7, 330-pound Reid, this marked the most extensive appearance of his career since being drafted in the third round last year.
"A lot of good things and some other things that he can get better at, but he's a very physical player," Harbaugh said. "He's really athletic. He can bend, he can get his pads down, and that's not easy to do for a guy his size.
"He has some pass-set things that he has to continue to work on that he knows about and he can work on. All in all, he played pretty well."
Jones running free
Ravens return specialist Jacoby Jones' instincts and speed have propelled him to a pair of record-breaking kickoff returns this season.
Jones' prowess on returns has essentially earned him the green light to take it out of the end zone even if he's backed up deep.
Through nine games, Jones has returned 14 kickoffs for a 38.6 average per return with a 108-yard kickoff return for a score against the Dallas Cowboys to tie an NFL record for longest return. Jones' 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown Sunday made him the first Ravens player to return two kickoff returns for a score in the same season.
"It depends on hang time," Harbaugh said. "We don't really have a depth issue. The whole dynamic of the kickoff return rules have changed. What happened is when you bring them out that deep, the geometry of the play has a changed a little bit, so you see more big plays."
Pees' schemes draw praise
Ravens' defensive coordinator Dean Pees' creative tendencies drew praise from his players, and Harbaugh.
With Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata sidelined Sunday with right knee and right shoulder injuries, Pees broke out a "dollar package," that had two defensive lineman, three linebackers and six defensive backs Sunday.
Pees deployed 6-foot-2, 270-pound rookie outside linebacker Courtney Upshaw at defensive tackle to take advantage of his quickness.
"They've been very creative," Harbaugh said. "They’ve done a really good job of mixing some fronts up and putting some guys in different spots to account for some of our personnel issues."
While generating three sacks and one interception, the Ravens also allowed 422 yards of total offense.
"Obviously, we didn’t have the yardage result we probably wanted.," Harbaugh said. "We’re a little disappointed with some of the yardage things. We didn’t want to give up those yards, and it was really five plays that accounted for most of their yards."
Progress for Upshaw
A second-round draft pick from Alabama, Upshaw finished the game with four tackles, one for a loss and one pass deflection.
For the season, Upshaw now has 36 tackles and one fumble recovery.
"Here’s our top pick, and he’s played a number of different positions," Harbaugh said. "Obviously, he’s been getting better every single week. He’s a smart football player. He’s a physical football player. He’s kind of the guy you look to."
More fake field goals?
In the wake of punter Sam Koch's touchdown run off a fake field goal against the Raiders, Harbaugh indicated this might just be a preview of more trickery to follow.
"There's always a chess match that way, season-long," he said. "It's good for people to know that we've got the ability to run that, but that's not a play that you only run once."
Koch scored on a two-point conversion run against the Steelers last season on a fake extra point.
"It's not a one-time type of thing," Harbaugh said. There were 29 minutes left in that game, and they gave us the same kind of look, and we ran it in there and got the extra point. It's really no different thinking than it was that game."
Harbaugh reiterated that the Ravens didn't suffer any major injuries Sunday, adding that Ngata and cornerback Jimmy Smith (groin) should be healthier after not playing this last game. ... Starting his first NFL game in place of Ngata, rookie seventh-round draft pick DeAngelo Tyson deflected two passes and had a quarterback hit. "He played very well," Harbaugh said.
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