Defensive leaders middle linebacker Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed contributed critical errors in the Ravens' 17-15 loss to the Indianapolis Colts. Coach John Harbaugh was OK with one, but not the other.
Lewis missed an all-important tackle and when he whiffed at running back Joseph Addai on a 5-yard touchdown run. Lewis was waiting amidst a flurry of blockers, but was faked out of position, and Addai ran nearly unabated to the end zone.
Even though reports wondered if Lewis had suffered an ankle injury – CBS's Dan Dierdorf, who was calling the game, wondered if it was bothering him on the play because Lewis came up clutching his ankle earlier in the game – Harbaugh did not announce any other injury problems aside from Fabian Washington's move to Injured Reserve with a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
"The rest of the stuff is bumps and bruises and soreness and things like that," Harbaugh said in his weekly press conference on Monday.
Still, Lewis led the Ravens with 10 tackles, according to coaches' film, and delivered several big hits throughout the game.
The biggest may have been a powerful slam at the 1-yard line that caused tight end Tom Santi to fumble, which defensive tackle Dwan Edwards recovered.
Harbaugh was happy with the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year's performance.
"I think Ray played really well," Harbaugh said in his weekly press conference on Monday. "Every player's not going to make every play. It's give and take, and backs can make people miss. He came back and caused the fumble on the 2-yard line that stopped that drive cold.
"Ray is an accomplished player, he's a future Hall of Famer, and he's still playing at that level, at a really high level. [I have] no problem with the way Ray's playing."
Lewis declined to speak to the media after the game.
Harbaugh was, however, not happy with Reed's lateral on a punt return in the critical final minute Sunday.
What looked like it could have been an illegal forward lateral to rookie Lardarius Webb was recovered by linebacker Freddy Keiaho and essentially sealed the Ravens' fate.
Harbaugh compared the play to his timeout earlier in the fourth quarter before unsuccessfully challenging a spot that cost two clock-stoppages.
"He had no intention of flipping that ball before that ball was punted and when it was in the air," said Harbaugh of Reed's play. "He just made a mistake. I kind of related it to my mistake. I think we both made an over-aggressive mistake in an anxious moment, trying to do something a little too fast to try to find a way to make something happen, and we both over-reached. He over-reached on that play.
"That's one play in the game. It's not the reason we lost the game, but I think it's indicative of things we can all do better."
There was some speculation that Reed called off regular punt returner Chris Carr and singularly inserted himself into the game against the wishes of special teams coordinator Jerry Rosburg, which Harbaugh denied.
"We have a communication between Ed and Jerry that we work out," Harbaugh explained. "When Ed's on the field, depending on what the call is, Jerry and Ed have a communication system where if Ed feels like he can take it, and if Jerry wants him out there, they'll give him the thumbs up. We put him out there. [It was] pretty obvious why we did it. He's got a chance to go make the play, and he made a real nice play on the bouncing ball."
Reed also did not answer media requests in the post-game locker room.