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Post-Game Quotes: Ravens at Lions

Posted Dec 16, 2013

RAVENS HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening Statement: “First of all, what a night of football and what a tribute to the National Football League, to Monday Night Football. Compliments to the Detroit Lions for the football game they played. That is a tough, physical, talented, well-coached football team that played a great game tonight. Tremendous crowd. The blue-out was successful. You could see all the trouble we had with our communication. I just think it was a great night for the National Football League. So proud of our guys for the victory that they were able to pull out in this environment, against this football team, in this situation. Couple of things. What can you say about Justin Tucker? Alright. He tells me when we got the ball, they’re out at I think at the 45-yard line, I say, ‘Hey, are we kicking this or are we going to try to go for it on 4th-and-10?’ He said, ‘I got it.’ He kind of ordered me almost to kick it, you know? Then we got him two more yards, so that was a plus. Six field goals, 61-yard field goal, both team records, sixth-career game winner. Special teams, the coverage and the return game, I thought we had two big returns. One on the punt return, then obviously the kickoff return at the end of the game that setup that field goal were tremendous. Jerry Rosburg, Chris Hewitt, and all those guys on special team just played so well. Albert McClellan was one of the leaders on special teams. Secondary played extremely well. Corners, solid, technique football. Played the ball extremely well downfield against a great group of receivers. Safeties, of course, Matt Elam played pretty well too. Had the pick at the end of the game. James Ihedigbo played well. Linebackers led by Daryl Smith had a sack and an interception. O-line play, I thought our o-line played great. Against that pass-rush and that front, we ran the ball effectively as we needed to and we pass protected extremely well. I think we had one sack. It was just a great job by the offensive line. Running backs did a nice job in protection as well and our wide receivers made some big plays when they had too. Some big chunk plays when they had to. Joe (Flacco) of course played like he always plays, he played great. He came up big when we needed him. The only downside was the red zone and touchdown or two in there would have helped us. I’m proud of our team. It’s a big win. You take them any way you get them right now and that was big for us. We’re going to go twelve hours here because we have a real tough ball game coming up in Baltimore in six days.”
 
On his decision to go for the final field goal: “What we wanted to do was run up there and make it appear that we were going to run a play perhaps and try to get the clock run down as low as we possibly could. Joe did a good job of acting there a little bit. I got a little antsy and called a timeout because I just wanted to make sure that we didn’t flinch or anything like that. We wanted to take as much time down as we could. When you have an offense like that out there, that was going to be important for us.”
 
On his confidence that K Justin Tucker was going to make the 61-yard field goal: “I don’t know. I was confident. I thought we had a real good shot at it. He’s a great kicker and we have a great operation between Sam (Koch) and Morgan (Cox), we have a great operation. We give ourselves a chance to be really solid with the way we kick the ball. They work hard at that. Our protection has been very good all year, so the o-line again did a great job with that.”
 
On the ability to win close games: “We’ve had a lot of practice at it with close games. I think we have had 11 close games, maybe. 11 of them so far this year. That’s what the National Football League is. Coach (Jim) Schwartz and I were talking about that before the game. It’s an amazing League and everybody is so close and that’s what makes it great.”
 
On what would have made him more comfortable to try and kick: “Well, anything inside the 40 would have been a goal for us. Obviously, if we could have gotten a first down that would have been better, but we wanted to pop it for as many as we could.”
 
On CB Jimmy Smith’s ability to limit Lions WR Calvin Johnson: “Jimmy, I think from what I saw, played on-top, square football. He kept his eyes were they were supposed to be whether it was man or zone and he played the ball extremely well downfield. He was physical, of course. He played just really, really well.”
 
On QB Joe Flacco’s hit: “That was tough. He got a knee right there. He got a helmet right below the knee, so that will be something that I’m sure they’ll take a look at. He fought through that. You know, Joe Flacco is a tough guy. Joe Flacco is one tough guy and he’s a great player in crunch time.”
 
On the team playing their best football at this point in the season: “Oh certainly. We’re playing our best football right now and we’re going to have to continue to improve with what we have in front of us down the stretch.”
 
On S Matt Elam: “Matt learned a lesson in the sense of how he said things, but Matt didn’t mean anything derogatory in any way. What he said was when you go back and look at it was a very respectful statement. He really got taken the task for it, which I think is what we do in our society. I think that’s something we all look at ourselves about, to be honest with you. We go on the attack. We really do. That’s something that we really ought to be asking ourselves with questions about. I am proud of Matt for the way he handled it. He learned a lesson in how he deals with the media certainly, but he did the thing he needed to do. He played. He trusted his teammates and he had faith. You look at our football team and the thing I love about our football team is that we are a team of faith. We believe. We trust. Because of that, we’ll fight. We will run the race right down to the end, that’s something that our football team does. I’m very proud of them for that.”
 
RAVENS QB JOE FLACCO
On his knee after taking a hit: “It wasn’t really bothering me once the initial hit. I was probably more scared than anything from just what I felt and also just trying to get a couple of yards out of it. Yeah, it feels fine. It feels strong.”
 
On if he’ll receive more testing on his knee: “I have no idea. I’ll have to talk to the trainers and see what the protocol is. I’m not really used to anything like this.”
 
On his confidence in K Justin Tucker: “I wasn’t paying too much attention, and then I went over and watched it. I watched the snap in the hole and it looked like Sam (Koch) did a really good job of getting the ball down, then you kind of can’t tell too much from where we are. You see the guy put his hands up. Hey, I had all the confidence in rolling him. We see him hit those kind of kicks every day in practice, so once we got in range I would have liked to have gotten a little bit closer, but we didn’t do a good enough job there. I did have confidence once we were running off the field that he was going to hit that kick.”
 
On what he would have done if they did not opt for Tucker to kick: “I don’t know, probably trying to pop one in there and see if we could crease one a little bit. I don’t know. We probably settled a little bit. I don’t like to do that. We would probably admit to that that we probably settled a little bit. Had confidence that he was going to hit the kick.”
 
On if he felt comfortable during the last set of downs: “Yes.”
 
On winning games at the last minute being more special than other games : “I don’t think so. I think you feel better. I don’t know, your excitement immediately after these games is probably higher in those games. You probably go home feeling better about the ones where you win by a lot and you just did everything really, really well and you’re hitting on all cylinders. It’s just two different types of feelings, but they’re both good.”
 
On the Lions having a solid red zone defense: “I don’t know. They played a lot of zone today, I felt like. We just didn’t do a good enough job. Kind of got a little scared there at the end of the half to take a shot to Jacoby (Jones). Couldn’t tell where the safety was, but I probably had him though just from looking at the picture. I can’t remember the other drives and plays that we ran off the top of my head, but you know, obviously they did a good job and we probably didn’t do a enough job.”
 
RAVENS K JUSTIN TUCKER
On what yardage he would say that he can’t make: “I don’t think about it like that. We know each other well enough at this point. If they send me out there, they have a reason to and they think I can make the kick regardless of where it is on the field, what the conditions are like. Today is obviously ideal being inside and on artificial surface. You take a step back to last week, 61-yards in that mess would have been an adventure to say the least. I don’t think about it in terms of where I can’t make a kick from. If I did that I would be doing everyone on my team a disservice. The word can’t is not one we are about especially in the month of December.”
 
On if he felt good about the game-winning kick when it left his foot: “I definitely felt like I got a lot of leg into it, but it jumped up so high I thought I got under it just a little bit. When it cleared the crossbar I saw one of the officials put his hands up. I would say I was a little bit surprised, but I am just glad it went through. I was just glad I was able to come through for my guys.”
 
On if he thought he would be able to convince Coach Harbaugh to let him kick it: “I was kind of up there in his ear. Normally I am not. Normally I let Randy (Brown) take care of that, he is kind of the liaison for the specialist to the head ball coach. It works out really well. That is an important role that Randy plays for us, but I was making a point to be right up there on that last drive in the coaches’ vicinity in case he looks my way. I wanted him to know just by looking at me that he shouldn’t have any reservations about sending me out there. He asked Jerry (Rosburg), ‘Should we go for it?’ I shouldn’t say he asked, but they were talking about it and I kind of interjected. I usually wouldn’t do this but I interjected and said, ‘Nah, I got this’. The best part of it is that I didn’t have to come back to the sideline feeling like a jerk if I missed it.”
 
On his routine during the two-minute drill: “I try to keep it as similar as any other point in the game. After first down I take a one-step ball into the net. After second down I would take a full approach and kick the ball into the net and this is when we cross midfield. In a two-minute situation, we knew we had a timeout so there wasn’t going to be a necessity to rush and try to get a kick off. We just try to keep it as simple as possible. A lot of that stems from how we prepare in the meeting rooms, using our iPads, and out on the practice field.”
 
On if he knows where his range is during his pregame warm-ups: “Yes, I do. It is a little difficult in Owings Mills unless we are at the indoor facility. Even in there it can get cold and the ball won’t travel as far. I definitely took the opportunity in pregame tonight to see how far I can hit one from, so I backed up to 70 (yards) and I doinked one off the crossbar. I almost broke one of the 50,000-dollar cameras on the goalpost. I definitely try to back it up and test my range, test it responsibly. I don’t want over kick and not be serviceable when it really matters.”  

RAVENS G/T MARSHAL YANDA
On the win: “I mean, it was a good team win by the offense, defense, special teams. It was a tough battle out there. Every play was a fight and it was just good that we finished at the end. Obviously, we want to score some more touchdowns than six field goals, but we can’t be picky as this point down the road. We’re just happy we got the win. I mean, (Justin) Tucker hitting a 60-yarder, it was a good game.”
 
On K Justin Tucker’s game-winning field goal: “We’re out there blocking, so I didn’t see it. I was down in the dirt. I got to see the last end of it. It looked good. It looked like he had enough leg. It squeaked in, good play by him. He’s been kicking great all year. That’s a very important part of the game, that’s for sure. We have to have those kicks and we’ve been using him a lot lately. I don’t know how many field goals we had last week. We had six this week, so it was a good win.

RAVENS WR TORREY SMITH
On playing through missed penalty calls: “That’s a part of it. They’re not going to call everything. As tough as they are on the defense, they need to have some kind of leeway when it comes to holding. You have to fight through it. I don’t think they were the worst team we played, but there’s always holding that goes on.”
 
On QB Joe Flacco’s ability to pick the right guy: “He runs the offense. We’re not an offense that tries to force feed guys. If guys are open, we take it. If not, then it’s on to the next guy. We trust our weapons and we just have to go continue to go and develop and be consistent.”
 
On the Ravens’ game-winning drive down two points with 50 yards to go: “We’ve been there so many times over the past few years. If you’re in the huddle, everyone’s just calmed, relaxed, like, ‘Alright, let’s go do it.’ No one’s panicking. We’ve been there before and we know how to handle it.”

RAVENS CB JIMMY SMITH
On nothing coming easy for the Ravens “Does it ever? No, I guess not. I don’t know how many tight games we’ve been to or came down to offense having to make a play or defense having to stop the other team, but we are coming through at the right time.”
 
On his strategy against Lions WR Calvin Johnson: “Just to play my game. I didn’t really change it up too much. I just did what I usually do every game. He’s a big guy and I’m a big guy, so I just went out there and played normal. Let me say this too though: The coaches did have a great gameplan. They hit a few times in some zones. That was most of Calvin’s yards today. They hit us in some zones, but overall the coaches came up with a great gameplay and we executed pretty well.”
 
On if he viewed this game as an opportunity to showcase the progress he’s made in front of a national audience: “Yeah, it’s a big stage against the No. 1 receiver in the League, so I know everybody in the world’s watching. I’ve done pretty well up to this point, but when you go against somebody like this, you want to put your best foot forward and I think I did pretty good.”
 
On K Justin Tucker: “I had no doubt that he was going to make it. I actually played against Tuck in college, and I watched him in warmups kick 65-yard field goals like it was nothing. So when he was out there, I knew we were going to make it and I knew we were going back on the field and have to stop them on defense.”
 
RAVENS LB DARYL SMITH
On if he came to this team because of nights like tonight: “Yeah. Man, I tell you what, we are a team that keeps believing. We never quit. I don’t really have any words for it. We made more plays tonight with a miraculous finish again.”
 
On his interception: “Just dropping into coverage and I barely got a glimpse of the ball, so I knew it was coming. He throws it hard but I got my paws on it and was able to hold on to it.”
 
On K Justin Tucker’s 61-yard field goal: “Just relief. Tuck, he’s just clutch. He has been there for us all year.”

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