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Old 12-14-2008, 05:59 AM   #1
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Default Head to Head: Steelers S Troy Polamalu vs. Ravens S Ed Reed

Head to Head: Steelers S Troy Polamalu vs. Ravens S Ed Reed
Sunday, December 14, 2008
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

It was just a simple play in the third quarter of the 2005 AFC Championship game in Denver, a swing pass in which Broncos running back Mike Anderson was suddenly tackled for a 2-yard loss at the Broncos 1 by safety Troy Polamalu. But the play had an indelible effect on linebacker James Farrior.

"He was about 15 to 20 yards away and they threw a little check-down to the running back, and before [Anderson] even got past the goal line, Troy was hitting him," Farrior said. "It was almost a safety. When I saw that, I was like, man, that was the fastest I've ever seen someone cover ground."

Polamalu is still making those kinds of plays, closing on players the way a screen door slams shut in a wind storm. Now, though, he is using the same instincts and explosiveness to close on balls thrown by opposing quarterbacks. The result: An NFL-leading seven interceptions, including one in each of the past four games.

Strange as it sounds, though, Polamalu might not even be the best safety on the field today in Baltimore.

That distinction could belong to Ravens safety Ed Reed, the ultimate defensive playmaker.

Reed only has five interceptions, but two have been returned for touchdowns, including an NFL-record 107-yarder against the Philadelphia Eagles. In last week's 24-10 victory against the Washington Redskins, Reed had two interceptions and also returned a fumble he forced 22 yards for a touchdown -- his 11th career scoring return in seven seasons with the Ravens.

"You have two players who have great ability and have a great feel for the game," said wide receiver Hines Ward. "Those two guys are very similar in many ways. They have a great knack for the football, they know where the ball is going and they happen to be in the right position at the right time.

"Ed is right up there with Troy. Of course, I'm biased to Troy. I think Troy is the best. But Ed is right behind Troy. He can definitely change the game on any given play."

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said he got in trouble last year when he told reporters he loves Troy Polamalu but that Ed Reed, in his opinion, is the best safety in the NFL. Out of political correctness, Arians has since backed away from the comparison, though his point is well served.

Reed is that good.

He will certainly command the attention of Ben Roethlisberger, who has thrown just one interception in the past four games -- one of the reasons the Steelers have matched their longest winning streak since their run to the Super Bowl in 2005.

"He's one of the most instinctive players I've ever seen in football," Roethlisberger said. "He'll bait quarterbacks into making throws. He'll find a way to get to the ball and pick it off. He's a phenomenal football player."

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Old 12-14-2008, 06:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: Head to Head: Steelers S Troy Polamalu vs. Ravens S Ed Reed

I hope Troy has a good game today I would like to see him cause Flacco to make mistakes that could be what wins us the game today I hope he gets another interception or two we need this win.
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Old 12-14-2008, 01:24 PM   #3
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Default Re: Head to Head: Steelers S Troy Polamalu vs. Ravens S Ed Reed

With Troy being healthy he is showing why he is the best safety in the NFL. I will take Troy over Reed every single time.
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