Game-changers RG3, Reed meet in Ravens-Redskins

Time to break out more superlatives. Robert Griffin III is about

to play another game.

”He’s unbelievable. He’s back there, he makes more plays than

anyone you’ve been around. He changes the game.”

Ah, but there’s a catch. While it certainly sounds like a

defensive player getting ready to face RG3, it’s actually

Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan talking

about Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed.

”There’s a reason people say he’s the best of all time,” added

Shanahan, adding a bit of praise that’s not even in Griffin’s

ballpark.

No active player has more interceptions than Reed. No regular

starting quarterback this season has a lower interception rate than

Griffin. The veteran ball hawk and do-everything rookie meet for

the first time when the Ravens (9-3) visit the Redskins (6-6) on

Sunday.

”You’ve just got to be aware of where he’s at,” said Griffin,

who has thrown just four picks this season. ”Just like he’s got to

be aware of where I am.”

Every Redskins game this season has revolved around the unique

challenge of defending a quarterback who can run the option with

world class speed, yet whose decision-making when dropping back to

pass is the envy of quarterbacks much older.

This week is no different.

”He’s making great decisions,” Reed said. ”He still has a lot

to learn, obviously. The offensive scheme that they’re running

helps him out a lot.”

Griffin is also proving to be a winner and a national

phenomenon, leading the Redskins on a three-game streak that has

them within a game of first place in the NFC East. His jersey and

cleats were sent to the Hall of Fame this week after he topped Cam

Newton’s NFL single-season record for rushing yards by a rookie

quarterback.

”We’ve got to contain him,” Reed said. ”We’ve got to get him

on the ground and not allow him to run, but that’s like telling

Superman not to fly.”

Baltimore’s reputation for defense has taken a bit of a hit this

season as opponents pile up chunks of yards, although the

statistics can be misleading. The Ravens are ranked 25th in the

conventional measuring stick of yards allowed, but they are eighth

in points allowed – and it’s points that determine wins and

losses.

Baltimore is in good shape to clinch a playoff berth for the

fifth consecutive season and could sew up the AFC North this

weekend, pending the results from other games. The Ravens lost to

the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, but they are currently the NFL’s

best bounce-back team, winning 15 in a row following a defeat since

their last two-game losing streak in 2009.

”There’s always a little bit of extra urgency after a loss, for

whatever reason,” Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco said. ”I don’t

know if it’s a bad thing or a good thing. But we are always calm,

cool and collected and confident around here.”

While the Ravens have a bit of a cushion in their division, the

Redskins have been playing in must-win mode since dropping to 3-6

last month. After a trio of intense games against division rivals,

Washington can now find motivation in winning the Beltway Bowl

against its neighbor to the north.

”This is for all the bragging rights right here,” Redskins

tight end Niles Paul said, ”because we see these guys, we’re

friends with these guys.”

That’s not a universal feeling in the locker room, however.

After all, it’s hard to build a rivalry between teams that play

only once every four years.

”We’ve got enough rivalries as it is,” Redskins cornerback

Josh Wilson said. ”We’ve got a whole division of rivalries, so I

don’t think we can accept any more applications.”

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