John Harbaugh told his staff Ray Lewis couldn’t cover Davis, Crabtree

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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.

81 responses to “John Harbaugh told his staff Ray Lewis couldn’t cover Davis, Crabtree

  1. all the more reason why Jim Harbaugh should have been throwing to #85 Vernon Davis all dayum day..he was smoking not only Ray Lewis, but leaving #31 Bernard Pollard in his wake too….

    that 1st and goal from the 7 with 2:39 left will eat the niners up all offseason….if anything, they should have sent Davis wide in a solo set and threw him the ball against Pollard while they max protected against the blitz….

  2. Really? It took unitl mid-game for the Raven’s coaches to figure-out that Lewis couldn’t cover Davis or Crabtree? Most of us “fans” knew that 2 years ago…

  3. Lewis should have retired a couple of years ago and been a cheerleader on the sidelines. Last couple of years, he was nothing more than a “Keith Brooking” stat padder…all (most) tackles were 5-6 yards beyond line of scrimmage and could not cover anyone in coverage.

  4. Yeah, this sounds about right.

    Just another TEAM call on route to winning the Super Bowl.

    The Ravens. As a Team. World Champs.

  5. Vernon Davis is one of the best tight ends in football. There are several dozen players who can’t guard him. What’s the next news story? NFL football will still be played on Sundays?….

  6. It’s a bit sad that the Ravens accomplished the greatest feat in American football, and all the media can write about is how Ray Lewis is a liability. The man came back from an injury that would have put other folks on IR, and all the negative media people want to talk about is how he’s old and slow, and a liability. He did everything within his power to earn his second Super Bowl ring, and you can’t take that away from him. It seems that every time someone great tries to retire, the media wants to do nothing but write bad things about them, when we should be celebrating them. Watch when Peyton tries to retire, I’m calling it now… All everyone will write about is how is arm strength just wasn’t there at the end of his career, and he shouldn’t have been playing.

    You did get me to click on the link and read the article to make you money though; so I guess you accomplished what you wanted anyway.

  7. Is this supposed to be news?

    Lewis hasnt been able to cover anybody effectively for a while. That’s usually what happens with 37 year old linebackers. Saw it all season from London Fletcher as well.

  8. Harbs, what are you doin man? Ray’s been there with you for years, he’s leaving, and you haven’t been stabbed yet. Consider yourself lucky and keep quiet.

  9. Duh! We all knew that..Ray is 37 but somehow because of his “name” everybody in the media expects him to play like the yr 2000 Lewis..making a big of nothing..reality is he not the same so don’t think ya’ll will be selling papers with this “oMG,can u believe what JHarbaugh said about Ray Lewis”title..hahahaa..its nothing

  10. Fortunately, Ray didn’t cost the Ravens the game. He did look bad out there. Tackling players from behind after a safety moves up, slowing the receiver down. No way in hell Ray is benched, so they had to minimize the impact of him as a liability.

  11. Pollard was just as much of liability in the game. When the game was on the line Ray’s defense held while crabtree,cpunk and davis couldn’t get it done. Maybe slow old ray is the reason niners blew the game by trying 3 passes on the goal line! SCOREBOARD!

  12. Wow, why is this even a news? Who won the game? I bet if Lewis was back in his prime. Davis would have been a non-factor.

  13. And….what middle backer can run with a WR or elite speed TE like Davis? That’s always a mismatch. Even Willis comes out in nickel packages for the niners.

  14. They dont win or even go to the Super Bowl without Lewis. What was their record this year when he was injured? It wasnt just about his skill, or loss thereof. He was the emotioal leader of that team. Team. TEAM.

  15. These matchup problems are present for both teams and what makes these games so interesting. When Boldin outmuscles a CB for a ball, should we start bashing that guy for being weak or not tall enough? Of course Ray could not cover those fast receivers 1-on-1 but that’s why coaches scheme the way they do, to play to their players’ strengths and minimize weaknesses. I’m sure Ray was not the only player they did that for.

    I thought both teams did great jobs at trying to gain advantage on each other and it was a really exciting Super Bowl!

  16. So why didn’t they throw at him when they were 5 yards away from the endzone at the end of the game?

  17. “pkrjones says:
    Feb 7, 2013 11:23 AM
    Really? It took unitl mid-game for the Raven’s coaches to figure-out that Lewis couldn’t cover Davis or Crabtree? Most of us “fans” knew that 2 years ago…”

    They weren’t in quarters much early on. Quarters puts the MLB in a bigger bind, so I’m guessing Harbaugh was suggesting that they roll Cover 6 so that Lewis had some help.

  18. Any novice football fan who has watched the Ravens over the last few years would know that Ray Lewis can not cover a WR or TE.

    John Harbaugh is as overrated as Mike Tomlin. There’s not a lot of genius there. He was an obscure special teams coach for several years going no where until Jason Garrett declined Bisciotti’s hard sell to coach the Ravens.

    Both are the caretakers of well run organizations. Both organizations won Super Bowls just a few years before anyone knew the names John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin. But that’s just the way these organizations like it. The organizations’ theory is just don’t screw up what we’ve assembled and be a good PR guy.

  19. To be fair, there are only a handful of lbs in the league that can run with those guys and they are still in their prime. I just don’t understand this new trend of attacking a guy who will go down as the best ever especially after he just won his second ring

  20. no one should be surprised, Ray Lewis is almost 40yrs.old and naturally lost 2 steps..he can’t cover a fast 25yr.old and 28yr.old pure and obvious mismatch

  21. I somehow think the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles might have played with a little more passion had Ray been one of their linebackers. How long would guys last who skipped tackles so they didn’t risk an injury?

  22. Lewis had a horrible game. He couldn’t tackle Frank Gore either. Gore spun him around with fakes more than once. If the Ravens had lost the game, that would have been the story. The Niners had a hundred yards more offense, a hundred yard rusher and two hundred yard receivers.

    The team that wins deserves to win, but let’s face it – the Ravens were pretty lucky to get out of there with a win.

  23. Isn’t that the point? Very good Tight Ends like Davis are mismatches for linebackers. Davis, Gronkowski, Gonzalez etc rack up big numbers against MLBs not named Ray Lewis every Sunday.

  24. robkeezy says:
    It seems that every time someone great tries to retire, the media wants to do nothing but write bad things about them, when we should be celebrating them.
    ———————————————————

    yeah, ummm…… forgive me, but I’m not “celebrating” anyone convicted for involvement in a double murder, Skippy.

  25. Ray was a liability on defense covering TE’s all year. Instincts only carry you so far. Lacking speed gets defensive players out of the league quicker than anything else.

  26. In Rays (praise be upon him) defense, after you participate in knifing a couple of people to death (in any capacity), you adrenal system becomes jaded to the point where something as tame as football just won’t trigger that rush that you need.

  27. So what you’re saying is that the 49ers offensive game plan was to exploit a known weakness in the Ravens defense? Wow! That’s Brilliant!!!

  28. Clearly Lewis has lost a step or two at this point in his Career and the niners still could not take advantage enough to win. Long day for Lewis or not Ravens won. Trash talk your loss Davis

  29. “The team that wins deserves to win, but let’s face it – the Ravens were pretty lucky to get out of there with a win.”

    The 49ers were freakin lucky that the power was pulled; otherwise, they would’ve been blown out!

  30. What do you expect from Davis. His brother is the dude who hit people in the head with a hammer and killed a tourist for 10 bucks.

  31. So does this mean the Ravens beat the great Niners offense with only 10 men and a liability instead of a full squad of 11? That wouldn’t sound good if I was a Niners fan.

  32. That’s no suprise to us Ravens! That should have been known going into the game by everyone from coaches to fans if you know football. What 37/38 yr old do you know who gonna keep up with a 26-28 yr old? Great that John got on the commo and directed an adjustment. Great coaching! All the haters can hate all they want we’re smart enough to know how to adjust and win the game. Jim wanting to throw the ball at the end of the game in the red zone and it cost them. Had they ran it may have been different outcome. Otherwise, we’re the champions! That’s it! 49ers, enjoy the off-season!!!

  33. Its actually why traditional MLBs are going the way of the dodo bird. Teams are playing more nickel and simply bringing their bigger safety in the box on run downs.

  34. It’s a common mistake for an Offensive Player to assume that a single positional advantage equals beating a Defense.

    Sure.., Vernon Davis had an advantage over the one Defender, but obviously that wasn’t enough to be the Defense as a whole. Maybe a little less running of the mouth and more focus on catching the ball.

  35. What are you all so insecure about in yourselves that you continually find the need to bash this man. He has always put 100 percent of his heart on the line, which is far more than all you negativity mongers can say about yourselves. Enjoy the rest of your life Ray, you’ve earned it. They can never take those 2 rings away from you.

  36. “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!””

    To which Lewis replied “It’s going to be a long YEAR for you!”

  37. Davis won’t even be in the league when he’s 38….so yea, he should have been a speed mismatch. Good thing the game isn’t decided like a timed track meet.

    And as Terp alumni (like Davis), I’ve always pulled for him. He’s getting closer – someday he’ll understand it’s a team game.

  38. Not a Ravens fan but give the coach some credit for having the brains to make this call. It obviously worked.

  39. Nobody has been able to check V Davis since he broke into the league… Or any of these TE/WR hybrids like Gronk , Graham , FDavis , Pitta. I see that the smart coach used his big WR/TE in the red zone the other coach didn’t even try…. Result is a Lombardi for Bmore and a lot of what ifs for San Fran

  40. “billb49 says:
    Feb 7, 2013 12:04 PM
    Lewis had a horrible game. He couldn’t tackle Frank Gore either. Gore spun him around with fakes more than once. If the Ravens had lost the game, that would have been the story. The Niners had a hundred yards more offense, a hundred yard rusher and two hundred yard receivers.

    The team that wins deserves to win, but let’s face it – the Ravens were pretty lucky to get out of there with a win”

    It’s more likely that the 40whiners were lucky that the power went out because they were about to be on the losing end of the biggest blowout in Super Bowl history.

  41. Lewis was just a shell of his old self but he closed out with a ring. It definitely is time to walk away.

  42. the other team is always lucky when playing the 49ers. tge niners got lucky the lights went out and stopped a blowout we all haven’t seen since the 90s.

  43. It kills me that people think that the lights going out somehow benefited SF. How on earth could that be? They came out of the blackout with a 3rd and 13 that they didn’t convert and immediately had to punt. I guess if you really believe that, you could also say that the blackout caused the Ravens to have a complete and total mental and physical breakdown as well, which is not necessarily the mark of a Championship team.

  44. If VDavis knew he could get open at anytime and all 140million people seen it, I’m sure the coaches did too.

    How on gods green earth we didn’t target him at least 1 time in the final 4 plays is a mystery I’ll never figure out.

    I think the players were prepared well and ready to make it happen on the final drive. 100% the fault of the coaches/play-calling for not bringing #6 home. Fock!

  45. ravenator says:
    Feb 7, 2013 12:15 PM
    A leader, on and off the field. Enjoy your retirement Ray Lewis, you earned it.

    25 10
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    So all felons should retire this way fan boy?…only in Baltimore …ain’t America grand?…

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