BALTIMORE — Lamont Brightful and Adalius Thomas made sure that Ed Reed's premature-celebration gaffe became just a footnote for the Baltimore Ravens.
Brightful returned a punt 95 yards for a touchdown, and Thomas scored on a 25-yard interception return to lead Baltimore to a 38-27 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday. It was the Ravens' sixth consecutive home victory over the Bengals.
Reed, a rookie safety, also had a chance to score his first NFL touchdown. But after picking off Jon Kitna's pass, he held the ball out in celebration as he neared the end zone and had it batted away at the end of a 46-yard return.
T.J. Houshmandzadeh swatted the ball from Reed's outstretched arm at the eight-yard line, and Peter Warrick recovered in the end zone for a touchback to keep the score 7-7.
"Like a kid in the candy store with no money. You see the candy but you just can't get it," Reed said sheepishly. "I won't make the same mistake twice."
He showed that he'd already learned from his blunder when he intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter. This time, he tucked the ball to his side until he was tackled. The turnover set up Jamal Lewis' second touchdown, a three-yard run that made it 38-20 with 6:14 left. Besides his two interceptions, Reed made a key block on Brightful's spectacular punt return. After setting up a field goal with a 54-yard kickoff return, Brightful gave Baltimore a 24-14 halftime lead with his team-record runback.
Lewis ran for 135 yards as the Ravens (4-5) won for the first time in three games and denied Cincinnati (1-8) a second consecutive victory following last week's rout of expansion Houston.