In his postgame press conference, Ed Reed was asked at what point he knew he was going to suit up and make his season debut against the Bills after missing the first six weeks of the season while on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
"Probably about six weeks ago," Reed said with a giant smile.
The Ravens' star safety has admitted that it was a tough pill to swallow when he was placed on PUP in early September, because it meant he would have to sit out the first month and a half of the regular season and not be able to practice with the team throughout that entire six week window.
Now that he's back, however, Reed certainly looks like he's trying to make up for lost time.
The six-time Pro Bowler had a monster game against the Bills, grabbing two interceptions, forcing a fumble and making four tackles. He almost added his 15th career interception return for a touchdown as well, when he returned his second pick 40 yards to the Buffalo nine-yard line.
"I told him, 'You're not really back unless you get a pick,'" said Willis McGahee, Reed's fellow Miami alum. "And then he got one, and I said, 'You're back, you're back.' And then I said, 'You're not really back until you run one back.' And then he almost ran it back."
Following his performance today, Reed now has 48 career interceptions, the most in the league since 2002, when he entered the league. The Ravens are now 9-0 when he records two interceptions in a game.
He clearly was fired up before the game when he was introduced to the sellout crowd at M&T Bank Stadium. Reed slowly walked out of the tunnel, pounded himself on the chest a few times, and turned around the face the fans. He stood still and stared up towards the crowd, soaking in the moment of being back on the field.
"Oh man, it was beautiful," Reed said. "Honestly, it was more emotional Wednesday for the walk-through. Just getting back out there with the guys, that was it. Coming out here and knowing the fans were going to be how they were, that was just a dream come true. It was like being a rookie all over again my first year here."
It wasn't all smiles for Reed today, as he had to leave the game because of a quad injury after his second interception. Haruki Nakamura replaced Reed for a few plays on the next Buffalo possession, but Reed quickly returned, and took over at his normal free safety spot.
Those bumps and bruises are going to happen for Reed, especially when he's trying to work his way back into game shape after offseason hip surgery.
"The next couple weeks for me are like training camp, being that I've never tackled, been through the grueling part to the season," Reed said. "It's kind of like I'm going through training camp right now. I kind of expected some of the things I'm going through in a sense. You've got to fight through it."
He fought through it today, and gave the Ravens the playmaking threat that they've been missing so far this season. Without Reed in the lineup, the Ravens forced just five turnovers through six games. They forced four today alone, two of which came directly from Reed.
"That's Ed. When he's on the field, he's going to be making big plays," linebacker Jarret Johnson said. "It's great to have him back. I just love the vocal part of him, back there screaming about coverages and telling guys where to go. It's good to have him back."