September 22, 2013 was supposed to be a day of celebration in Baltimore. The defending champion Baltimore Ravens were set to face of against the Houston Texans and former Ravens safety Ed Reed. However, just like the rest of his career, Reed was overshadowed by the return of Ray Lewis.
During halftime of the game, the Ravens inducted Lewis into their Ring of Honor. During the game, you could see Lewis on the sidelines cheering on his former teammates and even running down the field next to Daryl Smith on his interception return for a TD. On this day, everybody in Baltimore celebrated the greatness of Lewis and ignored the contributions of Reed.
Reed did get a pregame greeting from his former teammates — the kind of greeting that every player gets when they come back and play against a former team. There were no highlights of Reed shown during timeouts in the stadium, and there was no Super Bowl ring ceremony. All that was there for Reed was a chance to watch his former teammate take over his spotlight in retirement, just like he did when they played together.
While there is no doubt that Lewis was the emotional leader of the Ravens during his tenure, Reed was the playmaker and the most important player on the Ravens’ defense. His ability to shut down the deep passing game of the opponents allowed the Ravens to come up with different blitzes from cornerbacks and linebackers, as well as stack the box against the run.
Lewis benefited more from having Reed behind than Reed benefited from playing with Lewis.
Unfortunately for Reed, a day that should have been about his return to Baltimore was not to be. The Ravens won 30-9,in a game that will be referred to as Ray Lewis day rather than Ed Reed day.