Harbaugh: Failure to challenge is 'on me'

Harbaugh: Failure to challenge is 'on me'
September 10, 2013, 11:00 am

Ravens coach John Harbaugh admitted on Monday that the Ravens "could have done a better job" in challenging a controversial catch by Denver's Wes Welker on Thursday night.

In his first news conference since the Ravens' 49-27 season-opening loss to the Broncos, Harbaugh would not assign blame for what appears to have been a communication breakdown on a play that was viewed as a turning point in the game.

"That's on me," he said.

With the Ravens leading 17-14 early in the third quarter, Denver faced third-and-9 from the Broncos' 21-yard line. Peyton Manning threw to Wes Welker for a 10-yard completion, though replays showed that the ball hit the ground before a sliding Welker scooped it up.

As Ravens cornerback Corey Graham signaled to the bench to throw the challenge flag, Manning hurried the Broncos to the line of scrimmage. Manning threw a 34-yard pass to Demaryius Thomas on the next play, setting up the Broncos' go-ahead touchdown.

It quickly went downhill from there for the Ravens. Sam Koch's punt was blocked on the Ravens' next possession, setting up a quick Denver score, and suddenly the Ravens were down 28-17.

Immediately after the game, Harbaugh implied that the coaching staff had not seen the replay.

While it's likely that Harbaugh never saw a replay, Ravens assistants in the press box did, according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network. An assistant in the booth, monitoring replays, is usually assigned the task of alerting the head coach via the headset when a play should be challenged.

Clearly, that did not happen at Denver, but Harbaugh on Monday was not willing to assign blame or to go into detail on exactly how the communication broke down.

"We’ve been all through that communication process on replays. I think everybody understands how that works," Harbaugh said.

"We just have to do a better job with it, and that’s on me," he added.