Ed Reed has done it again.
The ageless safety was the beneficiary of an Andy Dalton mistake on Monday night when the young QB sailed his throw over tight end Jermaine Gresham right into the hands of Reed, who by this point in his career knew exactly what to do with the ball.
Late in the third quarter, with the Baltimore Ravens already out to a big lead over the Cincinnati Bengals, Reed sped 34 yards down the sideline and dove into the endzone for the score, pushing the Baltimore Ravens' already huge lead over the Cincinnati Bengals into untouchable territory.
The spectacular play was more than just his 58th career interception. It was more than his seventh pick-six. It was more than a game-clincher. It put his name at the top of the record books (via Baltimore Ravens' official Twitter account):
Ed Reed now has 1,497 career interception return yards. That is a new NFL all-time record!— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 11, 2012
Ho-hum, just another day at the office for the future Hall-of-Famer, who passed Rod Woodson for the No. 1 spot.
Where does Ed Reed rank among defensive backs of all time?
Reed has always had a knack for takeaways, that much is obvious. His 58th interception puts him in a tie with Emmitt Thomas for 10th on the all-time list. He has led the league in picks three times. He's finished in the top five two more times.
But it's his ability—as evidenced by this new record—to morph into a running back once getting his hands on the ball that has made him truly special.
Reed has twice led the league in return yards, twice returned an interception over 100 yards for a touchdown and now has a pick-six in six of his 11 seasons.
Tonight's touchdown gives Reed his first defensive score since 2009. Phew, I was starting to think he was human.