During the Super Bowl, Ravens coach John Harbaugh told his assistant coaches that they needed to make sure their defensive calls didn’t leave linebacker Ray Lewis covering 49ers tight end Vernon Davis or receiver Michael Crabtree over the middle.
The 49ers had a lot of success sending Davis and Crabtree over the middle, where Lewis simply didn’t have the speed to keep up with them in coverage. As shown on NFL Turning Point on NBC Sports Network, that led to Harbaugh getting on his headset and telling the Ravens’ defensive coaching staff that they needed to call coverages that didn’t require Lewis to go one-on-one with either of them.
“We can’t let Ray be matched up on 85 or 15 all day when we’re playing quarters,” Harbaugh told his coaches.
Davis, who caught six passes for 104 yards, was having a lot of fun rubbing it in Lewis’s face. At one point he walked up to Lewis and yelled, “It’s gonna be a long day for you!”
On the sideline, Davis told a 49ers coach that if they could keep getting him isolated on Lewis over the middle, there was no way Lewis was going to stop him.
“He can’t match up,” Davis said. “I don’t care what route I got.”
Davis was right about that: Lewis couldn’t match up with him. Fortunately for the Ravens, the rest of the team played well enough to overcome a major liability at middle linebacker.