In the days following the Ravens’ loss to the Denver Broncos, one play that has been heavily discussed and scrutinized was a missed challenge opportunity by the Ravens in the second half.
The play was a third-down pass to wide receiver Wes Welker, which went for a first down. Officials ruled that Welker made the catch, but replays showed that the ball clearly hit the turf. The Ravens did not challenge the call and three plays later the Broncos scored their first of five touchdowns in the second half.
“I just think we could have done a better job with that,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said Monday.
The pass to Welker came less than a minute into the third quarter, on the Broncos’ third play of the second half. The officials ruled that Welker caught the pass with 14:08 left on the clock.
Welker rushed back after the play and Manning hurried the offense to the line of scrimmage without huddling. NBC’s television broadcast then showed a replay of the catch with 13:57 on the clock, and Manning snapped the ball on the next play with 13:44 remaining.
Both teams in the coaches booth have a television showing the broadcast, so the coaches in the booth had 13 seconds to see the replay from NBC and then signal to Harbaugh to challenge the play.
“We just have to do a better job with it,” Harbaugh said. “That’s on me. It starts with me. It’s that simple.”
Harbaugh was asked multiple questions about the missed challenge during Monday’s press conference, but it was clear he didn’t want to point any fingers about where the breakdown happened.
“I’m not going to get into all that,” Harbaugh said. “We’ve been all through that communication process on replays. I think everyone understands how that works. We just have to do a better job of that. We have to see it.”
“I saw the ball hit the ground, but playing against Peyton, you saw how fast they got to the line of scrimmage,” Graham said. “They do what they do and they didn’t really give us a chance. Coach pretty much just would have had to go off feeling if he wanted to replay that one because it happened so fast there was nothing we could really do about it.”