Derby manager Frank Lampard placed a consoling arm around Richard Keogh after his mistake led to Bristol City's goal in the 1-1 draw at Pride Park.
The Derby skipper was at fault for Jamie Paterson's opener but Lampard refused to make the Republic of Ireland defender the scapegoat.
Keogh's misplaced header in the 24th minute sent Paterson away to lift the ball over Scott Carson after Derby had dominated the opening stages of the Sky Bet Championship clash.
Mason Mount crossed for Martyn Waghorn to equalise from six yards in the 37th minute and both teams had chances to win it in a pulsating second half.
Paterson should have scored his second in the 58th minute but sliced wide from eight yards with only Carson to beat and Mount's 20-yard shot was turned behind in the 74th minute.
City thought they had won it in the 84th minute but Famara Diedhiou's volley was brilliantly saved by Carson plunging to his left.
Keogh had a 20-yard shot turned over as Derby pressed for a winner and Lampard paid tribute to him when he said: "He's been brilliant this season.
"I will not hold it against him in the slightest because he's bailed us out many a time and he made a fantastic block in the second half.
"He's our leader, he's a great bloke and a mistake is going to happen in the course of a season to the absolute best of them, so I have no qualms with Richard, he doesn't have to say or think about it.
"It happens, nobody wants to make those mistakes and it changed the game because they would have had a feeling of not being in the game.
"We were camped in their half and the goal gives them the lift but I was impressed with our reaction and from half-time I felt we were going to go on and win it.
"I thought our general play in the first 25 minutes was really good and I'm disappointed not to get the three points with due respect to Bristol City who played their part."
Lampard also revealed that David Nugent played with a broken hand after a training-ground injury.
Lampard added: "He broke his hand on Thursday and it's a sign of Nuge's character and his professionalism that it's almost like he's only got a broken fingernail! He's a tough boy."
Bristol City head coach Lee Johnson said: "I did promise a good game given the two sides and the way they play.
"The first 20 minutes was difficult due to their quality and movement and us giving the ball away too much.
"We tweaked it a bit and I thought the last 70 minutes was very even for different reasons. I thought we were very threatening on the break and had some great chances.
"I thought it was an unbelievable save from Carson from Diedhiou's volley, he couldn't have seen that until really, really late but of course our goalkeeper had a really good game as well.
"I thought it was a really hard-fought Championship point and I'm pleased with the performance and the application and attitude of the players.
"It's five unbeaten now after four losses on the spin and we have to continue to build the momentum going into the January window."