With a full day to digest his team's last-minute defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers on a controversial game-deciding score, Ravens head coach **John Harbaugh** remained tight-lipped as to his thoughts on referee Walt Coleman's now-infamous call reversal.
Holding onto a 9-6 lead, Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger found receiver Santonio Holmes for what may or may not have been a touchdown.
While Holmes' feet were in the end zone as he grabbed the 4-yard pass, Ravens safety Ed Reed!(/team/roster/ed-reed/89ece203-7de4-4b40-9651-f16f4c3b7699/ "Ed Reed") tackled him outside of it. The ball was originally ruled not to have crossed the goal line by head linesman Paul Weidner, which would have brought about fourth down at the 1-yard line.
But an official review prompted Coleman to change the decision, as he was adamant that "he had two feet down and completed the catch with control of the ball breaking the plane of the goal line," giving the Steelers a 13-9 advantage with only 43 seconds on the clock.
Sunday evening, Harbaugh still didn't have the answers he was seeking.
"It didn't look to me like the ball broke the plane," he said after the Ravens' last gasp was dashed by a final interception from Joe Flacco. "That's what I saw. He didn't give me an explanation. It's my understanding that the ball has to cross the plane. We'll be looking forward to hearing if that's a fact.
"I asked for an explanation, but no one was explaining too much at that point in time. So, we were moving on."
Harbaugh has since had an opportunity to scrutinize the tape and get that explanation via NFL director of officiating Mike Pereira, but the coach isn't revealing his feelings on the matter.
Instead, he turned the focus inward as Baltimore begins a short week before playing the Dallas Cowboys Saturday night.
"The fact of the matter is that my opinion doesn't mean anything," Harbaugh said in his Monday press conference. "It's our responsibility to take care of the Baltimore Ravens, and it's Mike Pereira's job to make sure that we have quality officiating in the NFL. And, it's Walt Coleman's job to make sure the game is officiated correctly and that replays are handled the way they're supposed to be handled.
"So, we've got to do a better job of coaching our team. We've got to do a great job of making sure that we make the plays we need to make to win a game like that. That's what we'll concern ourselves with, and we'll let Mike concern himself with improving the officiating in the NFL."
To a man, the Ravens followed their coach's lead. In the post-game locker room, players took responsibility for the outcome.
Defensively, Baltimore's second-ranked unit allowed the Steelers to drive 92 yards for Roethlisberger's dagger that dashed the Ravens' hopes for a share of the AFC North crown.
And, the Ravens' offense pointed to three trips to the red zone that resulted in field goals instead of touchdowns.
"That's the reality of it," Harbaugh noted. "Our guys are men, they're strong guys. They realize that it's our job not to put the official in a situation to have to make that call. If we do our job better, we finish in crunch time, it won't even be an issue.
"That's the way we look at it as a football team. We don't need the official's help to win a football game, and that's what good football teams do."
Harbaugh would like to view the late-game breakdown as an anomaly. The Ravens have actually dominated in the fourth quarter all season, including outscoring their opponents 91-10 in the final period over their last seven wins.
In addition, Baltimore's defense had only allowed 13 drives of 10 plays or more this year, which was the NFL's top mark.
That was, however, until the Steelers marched to paydirt in 12 plays with the outcome on the line – quite literally.
"In that situation in crunch time, most of the season we've been really good," Harbaugh said. "Offensively, we've been able to put teams away with drives and points at the end, and defensively, we've been able to stop people.
"In an NFL game, I don't care what kind of an NFL game, you've got to win crunch time to win the game. So that's something that this week we're going to have to find a way to do if we want to win this next football game."