Rex Ryan sat down for an interview with his former player turned ESPN analyst Ray Lewis and talked about his biggest coaching regret. Ryan told Lewis his biggest regret was telling his 2006 Baltimore Ravens defense that if they kept the Indianapolis Colts from scoring a touchdown in their playoff game, they’d win. Why? Because they allowed five field goals and lost at home 15-6.
“In 2006 we might have had the greatest defense in the history of the sport that nobody talks about because we didn’t win it. And we had Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts come into our place. And you know Ray (talking to Ray Lewis) the way I am. I’ll tell you what I believe to be the truth. And I said that day, ‘alright guys, we don’t give up a touchdown, we’ll win.’
“And I remember you and Ed (Reed) were like ‘you lied to us then.’ I never lied. I never purposely lied. But we didn’t give up a touchdown, but we still lost that day.”
That 2006 Ravens defense was first in the league in fewest points, yards, rushing touchdowns and first downs allowed. They led the league in interceptions and fewest plays allowed per drive. Even the Ravens’ heralded 2000 defense that won the Super Bowl didn’t have as many accolades.
That is definitely a good reminder about how good that defense was. Their offense wasn’t explosive. Steve McNair was the team’s quarterback and threw for 16 touchdowns against 12 interceptions. Jamal Lewis rushed for 1,132 yards and nine touchdowns. They just weren’t able to score against Indy that day, and that was the year the Colts won the Super Bowl.
Rex may feel like he let his players down for making that promise, but he was right — holding the Colts without a touchdown meant they probably should have won the game. I’m actually surprised that that’s what he mentioned. I figured he would have said something about regretting opening his biggest mouth multiple times as coach of the New York Jets.