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Ravens Post-Game Quotes: Wild Card vs Colts

Posted Jan 6, 2013

BALTIMORE RAVENS

 

Head Coach John Harbaugh

 

(opening statement) “First of all, thanks for being here. I think we’re all appreciative, grateful for the opportunity to be here and to witness this historic moment in sports. And, it wasn’t just about one guy. Nobody understands it more than the one guy we’re talking about. It was about a team. It was about a city, a fan base, about a great sport, about a great career. I’m just humbled to be a part of it. It was a great victory. I’m very grateful to our players, our coaches and our organization for the effort put out here today to make this a winning effort on such an important day. Also, as far as the Colts – congratulations to the Colts and Chuck Pagano. He’s a great football coach. He’s a great man. They have a great football team. And, that Andrew Luck – he’s going to be around for a long time. He made play after play out there. Hats off to them. I thought they played exceptionally well.”

 

(on the performance of the Ravens’ offensive line) “I thought they played really well. Thanks for bringing it up. To have two pass rushers like that (LB Dwight Freeney and LB Robert Mathis) coming off the edge and to control those guys for the most part throughout the game is a pretty incredible accomplishment. As you know, we flipped a couple guys around with the injury to G Jah Reid. I think it’s a credit to all those guys. I think it’s a credit to [offensive line coach] Andy Moeller. The fact that KO [Kelechi Osemele] could move into guard, so Mike [Oher] could flip over to the right side and that Bryant McKinnie could step in there and play as well as he did – he’s been practicing so well the last two or three weeks. And, you could just tell he was getting healthy, and it was time for him to play, and that’s just the way it worked out with Jah’s injury. So, yes, those guys did a great job.”

 

(on how Ray Lewis played and on the decision to put him in for the last play) “It seems like he played really well. I thought he played exceptionally well. I’ll have to look at the tape and see the nuances of that, but he’s been working really hard. We talked about his rehab and just the kind of man he is. I thought he played really well. He’s a heck of a football player. It’s always so funny to hear people say, ‘Well, he’s not the same that he was 10 years ago.’ Well, who is? None of us, but he’s found different ways to play the game and play it so well. He’s still a great football player. As far as the last decision, that was inspired from above, I guess. That was just an idea from a higher power.” [reporter interjects: Steve Bisciotti?] laughter  Harbaugh: “No, as a matter of fact. Steve actually suggested we put him in there at running back at some point in time, give him the ball. We nixed that one. It was a neat moment wasn’t it? [reporter interjects: So, that wasn’t planned at all?] Harbaugh: “No, that came up as soon as we got the ball back.”

 

(on if he watched Ray Lewis’ final introduction at M&T Bank Stadium) “I had my eyeballs on the tunnel as well. Walking up and down and feeling the crowd, every seat was full. Really, in warm-up, it was probably four-fifths full. Everybody was watching the whole warm-up. Then, just to feel the energy in the crowd … Baltimore fans are great football fans. Just the tradition here goes back years and years. We’re talking 60 or 70 years of great football here. Ironically we played the Colts. I think we’ve gotten to the point here in Baltimore, maybe everybody hasn’t. Maybe there will be some people who will be mad at me for saying this, but we sure respect them. The people there in that organization, for it to kind of work out the way it did today, it’s hard to explain.”

 

(on the emotional impact of Ray Lewis’ retirement) “Yes, it’s got to be dramatic. It’s got to be something that you guys, with time to think about it, will write some great stories about it, and I can’t wait to read them. You’ll probably teach me a thing or two about what it means. I think it means a lot. You feel it right in here. You feel it right at your core. I know the people in Baltimore feel that way. The Baltimore fans are so proud of Ray Lewis.”

 

(on the play of OLB Paul Kruger) “I thought he played well. I saw him get to the quarterback a whole bunch. He had a bunch of quarterback hits. He had two-and-a-half sacks. He played tremendously well. Paul is having a great year.”

 

(on the offensive adjustments that the Ravens made in the second half) “I don’t think there was any adjustments other than the fact that Joe [Flacco] got to [WR Anquan Boldin] in his progressions a little bit. He put a couple out there when he was Cover-2, and ‘Q’ came up with the ball. It wasn’t like we didn’t throw it to him earlier. I think we targeted him once or twice early, maybe I’m mistaken. But, I thought we did, and we didn’t complete them. We were very efficient on offense. We were averaging nine yards per play until we took a knee there at the end. We didn’t have as many plays as we would have liked to have, but we sure were having success with our plays.”

 

(on the injury to Dannell Ellerbe) “Sprained ankle. I don’t know how serious it is. We’ll have to see.”

 

(on Joe Flacco’s performance) “Joe made some tremendous throws. He made some throws under pressure, with those two guys coming off the edge. He got hit a couple times, but he made the throws. I thought Joe threw the ball down field incredibly well. He had a couple comebacks with people in his face. Our receivers made some strong catches on a couple down-field throws on nine-routes that were just tremendous throws. He played at a really high level.”

 

(on recalibrating emotionally for the next game) “It’s a good point. But, the foundation of the game was not emotion. You can’t play a 60-minute football game on emotion. You’ve got to go play football. You’ve got to go play well. You’ve got to play this play efficiently and effectively. To me, you just don’t do that emotionally. Emotion wears out really fast. So, we’ll carry forward. We’ll still be emotional and enthusiastic, but the fact that we played well, that’s what’s important.”

 

(on facing the Broncos after losing to them in Week 15) “We’re looking forward to it. You know, in the playoffs, you play great teams. Every single team you play is a great football team. I like the fact that our team has been here before. We’ve made this six-day turnaround road trip three other times. This will be our fourth time in five years playing a road game on a short week. So, we know how to do that. We’ve got a lot of respect for them. Denver came in here and played really well against us and beat us pretty good. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to go play them again.”

 

(on the decision to have RB Bernard Pierce close out the game) “It really wasn’t any decision other than the fact that we think we have two good guys that can play. We like both of those guys in that situation. Bernard has earned the right to be in on those kind of situations. I like both of our backs a lot.”

 

ILB Ray Lewis

 

(on if his lap around the stadium was planned or in the moment) “In the moment. I had nothing planned today at all. My total focus today was to come in and play my heart out and get my team a win. Everything else just came with it. Everything just came with it. There was probably no greater moment than seeing my kids, my mom, my dad, my family right there in the end of the end zone. That was probably when I lost it emotionally, because I knew that everything I have always done has always been for them.”

 

(on how much fun the victory lap was) “I just think it’s one of those things that when you recap it all and you try to say what is one of your greatest moments … I knew how it started, but I never knew how it was going to end here in Baltimore. For it to go the way it went today, I wouldn’t change anything. There were so many moments today, so many fans and just the things that were said, the tears I was seeing from people, and I’m trying to hold it in myself, because I’m trying to play a game. [It was] just a very, very emotional day.”

 

(on how he prepares emotionally for the next game) “That’s easy. I’ve already turned my iPad in to get Denver film now. It’s onto the next one. That’s one thing about being in this business so long. I told them, ‘We don’t have the 24-hour rule now. We have a less-than-12-hour rule,’ because we are back to work. We knew who we have next week. Denver is going to be well-rested. We saw them earlier in the year, but now we get them again with all of our guys back. We are really looking forward to it.”

 

(on what his car ride to the stadium this morning was like) “Wow. [It was] probably very quiet. I didn’t have anything playing in my car. I had no phone out. I didn’t have anything. Brendon [Ayanbadejo] rolled with me over here. He was bugging me to take a picture and capture all of these things for Twitter. I was like, ‘I don’t do Twitter and all that stuff.’ I was just in one of those moments to where I just really wanted to appreciate the ride, to know that I came in here at 18 years old, and I started something at 18 years old. I was a child then, but I am 37 years old now. I am a full-grown man. To be able to recap all of that so quickly is the ultimate. I will tell anybody. One thing about God’s will is that you can never see God’s will before it happens. You can only see it at the end of it.  For his will to be done this way I could never ask for anything else.”

 

(on how he felt on the field from a football standpoint) “I actually started to practice [during] [Washington] week, and I really just went hard in practice, and I started doing scout team and messing around. So, I really pushed myself to get the pace back up and the tempo back up. [Head] coach [John Harbaugh], [defensive coordinator] Dean Pees and [inside linebackers coach Don Martindale] ‘Wink’ came to me and said, ‘Do you think you will be able to go a whole game?’ I am like, ‘Listen, this is it. This is why we do it.’ I’ve been training so hard. Everything that I’ve done since I’ve been hurt has been to be back with my team, to be back clicking on all cylinders, not come back and have to go in and come back out. I’ve never played my career like that, so I was totally ahead of the game.”

 

(on wanting to have his missed interception back) “Yes, I will never live that one down. I’m going to put that one on the brace, because I tried to put my arm up, but the brace wouldn’t come up.” (laughter)

 

(on playing with the brace) “Once again, God to all glory, because I didn’t feel one thing. I didn’t hurt it one time. I actually argued with my equipment staff to take it off half way through the game, because I thought I didn’t need it. I was trying to tell them it was stopping me from extending, but you know what, I’ve always trusted them with their advice. It was kind of important to keep it on, and for me to come out and not have a bruise, not tweak it, not do anything like that, is just really awesome.”

 

(on if it has sunk in that he will never play at M&T Bank Stadium again) “It probably won’t. It probably won’t sink in. You know what, the reason why it probably won’t is because it’s probably the last thing on my mind right now. Seriously, because the next thing on my mind is, as a team, we are poised to go do something. Whenever the road stops – ultimately God’s will is God’s will. As men, we made a commitment to each other, and that is to next week head to Denver to get a win.”

 

(on what it will mean to play QB Peyton Manning again) “They are always classic, I will tell you that. It’s just one of those chess matches. He knows me very well. I know them very well. He is dealing with a lot of different new pieces out there, but they are doing a heck of a job adjusting to his scheme and getting to playing real fast out there. So, I just think for me and him back colliding, because at the end of the day, it’s not about me and Peyton. It’s about their team against our team. I just like our team. I love our team right now, and I am really looking forward to going out there and playing them next week.”

 

(on what kind of limitations he had and if he feared reinjuring his arm) “No. For me, from the moment I told the coaches I was going to play, fear is gone from that point, because if you think about it, that’s when you are going to limit yourself. I’ve always said that when I hit the ground hard, would something happen? But, as you saw, making a couple of tackles and hitting people at times, like I said, I just never hurt it. I never reinjured it. I give all credit to a bunch of people that I’ve seen, a bunch of doctors and a bunch of treatments that I’ve done, which was tremendously awesome, because we had to get through the first part very quickly to get back here. To be back here is just probably one of the most amazing things ever for me.”

 

(on the last time he was on the field for an offensive snap) “High school. I did play a little running back in high school, but when [head coach] John [Harbaugh] came to me and said that they wanted me to do that last play … The funnest thing about it – he never knew this – I’ve always wanted to do that play. I just never was bold enough to go to a coordinator and say, ‘Coach, let me do that last play.’ So, to go out there and do it and then messing with Jacoby [Jones], [director of security] Darren [Sanders] and all of those guys, they were like, ‘I bet you won’t do your dance in the middle after it’s over.’ So, it was just fun, and it was really a big congratulations to our fans more than anything. That’s probably why I was so excited about doing it.”

 


 

(on how much of today was about thanking the fans) “Everything I did to get back, if it wasn’t for my team, it was for my city. That’s one thing that I bought into from Day One. I’m not just here in this city to play football, I’m here to actually create real change in this city. If my effort can give you hope, faith or love, then so be it. I’ll give everything I have, and today was about me giving everything that I had, showing people that no matter the circumstances that you may be going through, just push through it. If you can push through it, you will encourage somebody. Today, hopefully through what I did today, somebody was uplifted.”

 

(on if this was the last time he will do his signature dance or if he will do it at the Super Bowl or some other time) “I don’t know. I don’t know, because it’s always spur of the moment. At home it’s always predetermined, because we know who is being introduced, but on the road, who knows?”

 

(on how the dance started) “Wow. One time they just got ready to introduce the defense, and they were going to introduce us together. This guy in my hometown named Kirby Lee, he used to always do this dance, and the dance was called ‘The Squirrel.’ I told him, ‘I’m going to do that dance some day.’ He was like, ‘You’re not going to do it.’ I said, ‘I’m going to do it.’ Then one day, they introduced the defense, and I came out, and I just did it. When I did it, of course the crowd went crazy. After that, they were like, ‘Oh, we need to see the dance again.’ So, then it just kept on going, and I started adding music to it and movie clips to it. (laughter) So, it was a good time.”

 

(on if former Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. inspired the lap around the stadium) “I will tell you when [director of media relations] Chad [Steele] and them came up to me at the end, I was doing interviews, and I saw how many people were still in the stands. He was like, ‘Do you want to go in and see your team?’ I was like, ‘Well, there are just so many people sitting around.’ I just think it was so appropriate, because like I said, they have been here since I was 18 years old. For those fans to be here now – I am 37 – the reward … I wish I could have went around and signed every autograph, but I would have been here until two o’clock in the morning. I watched Cal’s, the way he went out, and I applauded him the way people applauded him. For me to take that last lap, for my kids, my mom, my dad to be here, I think there is no greater reward than to give back to your parents to see that your son started something and then completed it.”

 

(on if there was any doubt that he would come back after he was injured) “I called [general manager and executive vice president] Ozzie [Newsome] two days after I got hurt, and I said, ‘Don’t put me on IR [injured reserve].’ He was like, ‘What do you mean?’ I said, ‘Trust me, I will be back.’ We’ve always had trust in each other, this organization and me. So, from that point, I had nothing else in my vision than to be back, to come back and play with my team and be back. Could I have played in the weeks before? Yes, but we had a good enough team to get us here, and that was the point, to get back in the playoffs. And now we go to the next level.”

 

(on how much he relishes the opportunity to face Denver again, especially after the result last time) “Would you ever regret anything? I wouldn’t. At this point, it put me right at about 12 weeks out from when I actually tore it, so that alone still gave me time. Once we kind of secured a spot, then it was kind of already written, and there was no need for me to come back and play a regular season game when I knew there was going to be playoffs.”

 

(on the story he told to the team in the locker room about when he was drafted) “They called me up [in the locker room] at the end of the thing, and [head] coach [John Harbaugh] gave me a game ball. In 1996 when I came out, I was at the Dolphins’ stadium, and I’ll never forget the phone call that Ozzie Newsome gave me. I picked up the phone, and Ozzie said, ‘Hey, how are you doing? This is Ozzie Newsome. I want to congratulate you, because we are going to draft you.’ The first thing I said to him, I was like, ‘Ozzie, what’s our team name going to be? Who are we?’ (laughter) We hadn’t made the transition yet. We were still the Browns, and we hadn’t gotten uniforms yet. We had none of that. It was all a huge shock. I was like, ‘I don’t know who I’m playing for. I don’t know where I’m going or anything like that.’ But, I’ve always told everybody that God doesn’t make mistakes, and he knew that Baltimore would be a very special place to bring football back, and who knew that he was going to bring me and Jonathan Ogden back to be the first picks here. Like I said, I can only applaud my city, applaud Ozzie Newsome, applaud the Ravens organization for actually drafting me.”

WR Anquan Boldin

 

(on how he performed today) “I just wanted to go out and give everything. I think everyone in the locker room wanted to make sure this wasn’t our last game. I think we all have a goal in mind, and we’re focused in on that goal. The only way we’re going to get there is if we go out there and give our all on the field.”

 

(on the offense’s performance in the second half) “For us, we came out during the week, we wanted to show them a couple looks and see what we got early. We kind of wanted to hold some things back until the second half. We got the looks that we thought we were going to get. They play some things a little different than what we expected the first half. The second half we made adjustments and came out and opened it up a little bit.”

 

(on when he felt his emotions react to ILB Ray Lewis’ last game at M&T Bank Stadium) “[They hit] before the game. I’m sure anybody who was in the stadium, especially with him coming out of the tunnel for the last time in this stadium. I’m sure everyone was affected by it. We all wanted to play well for him and make sure it wasn’t his last game.”

 

(on the big play to start the second half) “I don’t know who it was intended for, but I wasn’t going to let it bypass me. You know it was a scramble play the way I just saw Joe [Flacco] throw his hand up. I really didn’t see Torrey [Smith] until the end. I put my head down and started running and went back up to locate the ball, and just saw the ball there. I made a play on it.”

 

(on how motivated he was for this game today) “[I was] real motivated. Like I said, we all have a goal in mind, and I’ve said it before, I came to Baltimore to win the Championship. That’s my goal.”

 

(on how special the entire week was leading up to this game) “It’s huge for us. Again, it’s huge for the city. They supported us the entire year, and they expect a lot from us. In return, we want to give that to them.”

 

(on if there was a point where he told QB Joe Flacco that he wanted the ball) “I told him that before the game. (laughter) I went up to him before the game and told him I felt like 200 yards today. I don’t know if he thought I was joking, but he gave me a shot in the second half.”

 

(on who will fill the emotional void next season) “You have to let us finish this year first. (laughing) We have a lot of great guys in the locker room that are leaders, like Ed Reed is definitely one of those guys. Haloti Ngata. You guys might not think so, but Joe Flacco is an emotional guy. He gets guys going. You also have guys like Ray Rice and Marshal Yanda. So, you have a bunch of guys in the locker room that guys look to, and guys that are leaders.”

 

(on if he felt like ILB Ray Lewis was affected by playing his last game at M&T Bank Stadium) “Definitely. When you play 17 years in a place, anytime you spend that much time in one place, it’s hard to say goodbye. We definitely wanted to come out and put on a great performance for his last home game at M&T Bank Stadium.”

 

(on how much he is looking forward to playing the Denver Broncos) “[I’m] really looking forward to it. I was hoping we would get them. So, they’ll see us next week. (Reporter: “Because they shut you down?”) Just because we lost to them.”

 

(on why he thinks it is going to be different for the offense) “We’ll make it different.”

 

QB Joe Flacco

 

(on the emotions and energy in the stadium today, dealing with the Ray Lewis situation)  “It was a lot of energy in the stadium, and Ray coming out of the tunnel obviously even added to that. It was a pretty special moment. It was awesome. It was an awesome moment.”

 

(on if he watched Ray coming out of the tunnel before the game) “I was in the back, and I kind of realized that all the defensive guys weren’t coming through and getting high fives and stuff.  They were all just stopping at the wall and getting their spot. So I started to move up. It’s one of the coolest things in football, and we’re going to miss it around here. I wasn’t always necessarily a fan of it before I got here, but as soon as I saw it for the first time in person, I was drawn in. He got me. It’s a pretty cool thing. I actually told my wife last night, ‘Make sure you bring your video camera so that you can sit up in your seat and capture it.’ And she said, ‘What are you talking about? I’m not going to bring a camera to the stadium and look like an idiot.’ I said, ‘You got a bag, don’t you? Just stick it in there.’ And so hopefully she captured that moment and it will be pretty cool. I’ll be able to look back on it some day.”

 

(on being the first quarterback to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons and what that says about himself as a quarterback) “I don’t know. I’m not really concerned about that right now. The bottom line is we haven’t won it all, and that’s been our goal, and that’s our goal this year. Right now, we’re just focused on going up to Denver, and we’ll have to move on from this one quickly and get another step closer to our goal.”

 

(on if the game plan was to go deep since he had a lot of long completions) “I think that the screen right at end of the half added to that. You know, they were kind of sitting on us early. They were able to push a couple guys back, not get a ton of pressure, but push a couple guys back in my face and play pretty tight coverage early on in the first half, and I think in the second half, we definitely had a little emphasis on stretching the field a little bit, and that started with Anquan [Boldin] obviously. I think the one third down, it’s kind of lucky, kind of a great play by him. Then, we were able to get him up the sideline the next drive. Like I said, in the first half, they were definitely able to play tight coverage and squat on us a little bit, and in the second half, we realized that we’ve got to take a couple of shots down the field and see if they work on them.”

 

(on the prospect of playing Denver again and what they did to the Ravens here) “They’re a good football team, and they got up on us early. We made a couple of mistakes in the first half, and the game kind of got away from us. They’re a good football team, though, they’ve got a couple of good pass rushers, a good defense, and it’s going to be a good challenge. We’re excited about it. We just didn’t feel like we played up to par the last time we played them.”

 

(on how much progress Jim Caldwell’s made calling plays) “I think Jim’s been doing a good job from week one. Obviously that kind of game [versus Denver] was a little bit of a different game. I think he’s been doing a good job. He’s probably a little bit more comfortable throughout the week now and kind of a little bit more settled in. That week was a little hectic. Other than that, I don’t have too much to say about it.”

 

(on the touchdown pass to Boldin) “Tom Zbikowski was floating around on the left side, and he rotated back late to the single high, [Antoine] Bethea came down and covered Dennis [Pitta] one-on-one, and Anquan was left one-on-one on a corner route, so as soon as you get the ball, and you kind of see that, we had run the play earlier, and I had given Torrey a nine route and we caught it out of bounds. This time, they rotated back to single high, and one-on-one out there, and it was just a good by Anquan of winning the route and going up and making a nice catch.”

 

(on if he thought Boldin could catch it)  “I knew he got outside of the guy and put his left foot in the ground and got towards the back of the end zone, so I knew I had a good shot at him. I probably put a little too much air on it just because I threw it like as he was coming out of his break, and I wanted him to be able to find the ball. So, if I threw it a little bit more firmer towards the back of the end zone, but it probably would have been an easier catch, but he did a great job going up, so I knew he had a good shot at it.”

 

(on how important it was to pick up Ray Rice after his two fumbles) “Stuff happens, it’s tough. Sometimes people hit the ball, and the ball comes out. It’s just something that we have to adjust to as the game goes on, and we did a good job. We didn’t let it affect us too much, and we continued to go out there and run our offense and put points on the board.”

 

(on how Ray Lewis’ announcement affected the team’s motivation emotionally) “Obviously, we all have feeling about it, and we understand how special of a moment it is and all that, but I think our job is to come out here and win against the Colts, and that’s really all we were focused on. That really wasn’t in our minds. It was definitely in the minds of this whole crowd. The fact that it was his last game here. A lot of things played into that, and I’m sure they kind of got our emotions going a little bit, the crowd did, and I think towards the end of the game, where we kind of realized we locked it up, and we were taking a knee there, it was pretty cool to be able to sit back and relax and kind of enjoy the moment a little bit.”

 

(on putting Lewis in in the victory formation, and if Flacco knew that was coming) “Yeah, they told me on second down that they were going to send Ray in there for third down and get one more play out there, so I knew he was coming in. Pretty cool. That’s pretty cool to have that guy standing behind you.”

 

(on maybe giving the ball to Lewis) “Well, he’s already dancing and then everybody just jumped him.”

 

(on Boldin talking about how what the Ravens wanted  to see how the Colts reacted on defense in the first half and adjusted to that in the second half) “I think it worked out that way pretty good. I think we thought we could run the ball on this team pretty well, so I think we definitely wanted to do that a little bit in the first half. We knew there was going to come a point where we take our shots. But at the same time, you can’t force [things]. We were able to be somewhat successful, especially early on, and the turnover probably took some points away, and sometimes it just happens. It definitely worked out that way. I don’t know if that was necessarily our plan, but as the first half went on, and the second half started, it definitely worked out that way.”

 

OLB Paul Kruger

 

(on the atmosphere before the game) “It was truly electric. We had the crowd going crazy, we had more media than ever, and we had Ray [Lewis] getting your mind right, and there were so many reasons to fight on and play with the passion that was required. We have so many people to thank. Ray’s been our leader and captain for so many years, and I’m glad we were able to make it happen for him.”

 

(on what he said to ILB Ray Lewis after the game) “We were expressing our care for each other as teammates and brothers. We’ve become teammates and close friends and I am really happy for him. It was such a great moment for him because we were able to send him out with more victories under his belt and we’re just doing everything we can for him.”

 

(on why the team was so amped up for the game) “I think it was just the preparation for this week. The game plan was set up real nice and after we got off (to a good start) a little bit, it just set up real nice. Then the offense started throwing the ball a little bit and it was time for us to tee off.”

 

(on if it was difficult to keep the emotions in check at kick-off) “I think once the kick-off happened, it becomes just another football game. So you have to take that into account and you can’t just go crazy out there, you can’t do things that you don’t normally do. You always have to come back to the basics, and although you do have added incentives and extra mindset to win, you still have to do what you’re trained to do.”

 

(on his free agency at the end of the year) “I have no idea. All I want to do is be a Raven, that’s all I’m thinking about. Just going into this week it was so big, I know it sounds cliché, but that’s really all that I’m thinking about right now.”

 

(on if he played with more emotion and passion than normal today) “Yea, coming into the game was real emotional and you get settled in like it’s a regular game. But we came out really emotional.”

DT Haloti Ngata

 

(on the emotions of today) “For me, it was measured excitement. We knew what was at stake for us today and for Ray [Lewis]. But, we did what we had to do, got the ‘W’ for him and for us.”

 

(on the quick turnaround to play the Denver Broncos) “We kind of want to show them that we can play better than we did last time. So, we’ve got a week here to work on it and practice and get the kind of preparation we need to go in there.”

 

(on the challenge of facing Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning) “Definitely, a great challenge. He is one of the great quarterbacks in the history of the league. But if we can do our job, do a lot of studying, and get a great week of practice in, then we can go in there and get a win.”

 

(on the pressure the Ravens defense got up the middle) “It was okay. When we were able to keep him in the pocket, it was great, but sometimes I left the middle open a little too much, and I need to do a better job of that. Otherwise, as a defensive line, I thought we did a good job of making sure that we got pressure up the middle. Paul Kruger did a great job of flushing them out and it was a great game for him.”

 

(on if it was difficult for him to keep his emotions in check before kickoff) “No, not at all. I was just thinking about it as if it were another game. Obviously, you’re proud of a guy like Ray Lewis, and definitely an honor to play with him for all these years, but other than that, you just have to play the game and focus and get down the middle.”

 

TE Dennis Pitta

 

(on the touchdown reception) “I think there was pressure up the middle on Joe [Flacco], someone came up on a stunt and flushed him out a little bit. That kind of took him right to where my route was going. Joe did a great job of putting (the pass) on me, so I turned around and it was there. Torrey [Smith] made a great block for me on that play, and I was able to get in.”

 

(on the pregame emotion) “It was a special day. Emotions were high and you could feel it in the crowd and you can feel it in everybody on our team. Seeing him (Ray Lewis) come out of the tunnel for the last time here at M&T Bank Stadium was big. It was really special. I just feel fortunate to have been a part of it. We got a great win for him here and what a great way to send him off from Baltimore to the next round of the playoffs.”

 

(on managing the emotions after the opening kickoff) “I think we did a really good job of managing it, because emotions were running really high, and if you don’t settle back down, it could really hurt you, especially early on. So we did a nice job of just settling in and focusing on the task at hand and executing.”

 

(on his “nose for the end zone”) “I mean, I don’t know. Sometimes you’re just fortunate with the types of looks you get or the opportunities that come your way. When you get the opportunity, you just have to make the most of it and I’ve been fortunate enough to do that on many occasions.”

 

(on QB Joe Flacco’s recent ability to elevate his game during the playoffs) “Joe’s a great quarterback, he’s a great competitor. He comes up big in big games like this. He did a great job today of delivering the ball and spreading it all around. He kept us focused and he was unbelievable today.”

 

RB Bernard Pierce

 

(on what it says that he has led the team in rushing for the last three games) “Maybe two games – Ray [Rice] didn’t play one of those games. But it’s a definite confidence booster, because I just want to be able to keep getting better week-in and week-out, and I’ve proven that to myself and everybody else. I’m just excited.”

 

(on how dangerous he and Rice can be to opponents as a two-pronged attack) “That’s what we try to do. As of right now we try to mix up series, mix up plays, and we just try to make sure each other is fresh for the second half, and it’s been working out great so far.”

 

(on his thoughts of going up against Denver next week) “We’ve been against them once. We beat ourselves last game; we just didn’t play an all-out complete game. This week, I think it’s going to be a little different.”

 

(on how effective he thinks he can be against Denver) “Denver is next week, man. I don’t know. I have no idea.”

 

(on if today was sort of surreal for him playing in his first playoff game) “Not surreal at all. This is my job. This is what I chose to do, so I think I kind of got used to it real fast.”

 

RB Ray Rice

 

(on if he has mixed emotions after winning, but fumbling twice today) “Me? We won. No, it just shows how great our team is. Obviously, you don’t expect … I’ll take both of [those fumbles] on the chin. I’m a man, and obviously I’ve got to be careful in those situations where I’m trying to make a play when there’s no more left there. Just as a runner, I’ve been doing it all year. I don’t know how many touches I had – and I don’t know if I want to say it – but I saved my worst game for today. You see how my teammates [stepped up]. We’ve got a great team and I’m not worried about any numbers in terms of playoffs. We’re really just worried about sending Ray [Lewis] off the right way and getting this win, and we’re looking forward to Denver next week.”

 

(on if that’s what being a team is all about, picking each other up) “Yeah, this was … I don’t know who I’m going to have to take to dinner this week, but somebody is going to have a nice hefty gift.”

 

(on the fumbles, and if it was just him trying to make a little more out of the play) “I didn’t fumble all year. So, I don’t really get that question. It’s just me being smart in the situation. You look at how many touches I had already; my fumble ratio is way down. Once again, I’m going to address it – I’m not a fumbler, you guys know that, and that’ll be the last time I address me fumbling. It won’t happen again.”

 

(on LB Ray Lewis walking onto the field with the offense at the end of the game) “Honestly, the game was moving so fast for me today because my emotions were so screwed up at the beginning seeing him do his dance. I was just emotionally distraught, and it was a lot going on in my head today. It was a lot seeing him do what he did. But once the game started, it slowed down, and I was fine.”

 

(on what it was like for him to wait for Lewis come out of the tunnel today) “Emotional, man. It was emotional. I don’t know if the cameras were on me, but it was a bunch of tears, it was sort of like ‘Save the Last Dance.’ And he did it.”

 

(on making a 47-yard play off of a check-down) “It was actually a screen, they actually played it. Me and Joe [Flacco] just ended up finding each other, we looked at each other eye-to-eye. And I just tried to make a play; that’s always what I’m trying to do around here. I’m always trying to make a play, and me I always try to be all-purpose. Try to get myself involved in the passing game just as well as I do in the run game. And it’s easy to get back there, line up eight-yards [deep], and they know, ‘Alright, they’re going to run it.’ But, they know where I’m at in the pass game as well.”

 

(on going to and preparing to play in Denver this week) “We’ll have to see if coach can change the altitude at the building so we can get our breathing right. But, first time there.”

 

(on his relationship with RB Bernard Pierce) “We’re taking care of each other. That’s the one thing that you’re seeing out there. I spell myself; there are times where I just tell him to go. I have that trust in him now, where my career, you know I just signed a five-year deal. So, what am I going to do? Go out there and burn myself out in Year One? That’s just not smart. I made a Pro Bowl, but that’s not the goal. The goal here is to win a Super Bowl, so we’re going to try to get our best guys out on the field, and Bernard is a key talent that we have. And there is only one ball to go around, but obviously you see that I never complain about my carries. There’s one ball, and we all can share it. Today, he cracked 100 [yards]. I had 100 [yards] all-purpose. If you combine the two, that’s 200 yards between two backs. So, that weapon going forward is really going to be key for us. It’s 1A and 1B; that’s how we see it. Obviously, I told him, rookie year, a lot at stake, but when you’re drafted that high the expectation is to perform, and he’s been doing a great job.”

 

CB Cary Williams

 

(on Ray Lewis) “It was incredible, man. We just witnessed some of the greatest fans honoring one of the greatest players of all time. I don’t think there was an emty seat in the house for introductions. When he came out for introductions, they showed him all the love you can show someone. It was a wonderful feeling. I just feel so blessed to be able to share it with him and to be part of this team. This was a great win for us today.”

 

(on controlling your emotions) “At the end of the day, we had to come into the light. Both teams had to deal with emotions. Both teams had issues. Obviously, Ray [Lewis] with us and coach [Chuck] Pagano trying to beat leukemia with them. It was emotional, as well, with Chuck coming back home. Once you get inside the white lines, football is going to be football and you really have to control your emotions. You have to be able to focus in on plays, and when an opportunity presents itself, you have to be prepared.”

 

(on Ray Lewis’ demeanor) “He was himself. He was the same guy you’ve seen for the last 17 years. He was a professional. He was the guy who led the huddle just like always. We followed right behind him because we believe in him, and we were able to come out today successful.”

 

(on Colts QB Andrew Luck) “He’s a heck of a player, man. He’s a guy that’s not afraid to back down from anything. He stepped up to the challenge and gave his team an opportunity to win. They were in the game for most of the game, so the opportunity was there, but we didn’t give up a touchdown. We’re very excited about that. It’s something we can build on.”

 

(on the Denver Broncos) “We’re just going to go out and play Ravens defense. As far as changing our fortune we understand what it takes. We have to start off the game with a bang. We want the Lombardi Trophy. There wouldn’t be a better way to send Ray out than winning one of those. We are going to go out and assess that team. We haven’t seen them in a couple of weeks. It’s going to be a great game, it’s going to be a great opportunity.”

 

(on keeping the Colts out of the end zone) “We played a great game defensively. It was all about ‘Want to.’ A lot of the guys on our defense stepped up at key times. We played our hearts out and left everything on the field.”

 

(on Denver’s winning streak) “It’s not about history, it’s about who is the hot team right now. It’s about being the hottest team in the league right now. That’s the team that wins Super Bowls.”

 

(on his interception) “You have to be ready to play on Sunday. When a ball pops up in the air, you have to be able to make a play. Corey Graham dropped it or whatever, and I was just there fortunate to be at the spot. And, I tried to make the best play I could make. Andrew Luck had a good angle on me. I just didn’t realize how fast he was.”

 

C Matt Birk

 

(on Ray Lewis’ last game in Baltimore) “Obviously, you have to stay focused on the game. It’s definitely a special circumstance. Everything about it is special. Once the game starts, you have to block all that stuff out and just play. I’m sure down the road it will be a little more fully appreciated. You know, just being a part of it, just being there. I can’t say enough about what he means to this organization, this city and this team. Certainly, a special moment at the end when he got in there on offense. Just a really good deal, a good day.”

 

(on whether this is Matt Birk’s last game as a Raven at home) “I don’t know. I’m worried about what I’m going to eat at dinner tonight. I don’t make any decisions until I have to. That’s my motto.”

 

(on the Ravens’ offense today) “It wasn’t as clean as we wanted it to be. But, that’s what we do. We just kept fighting, we just kept plugging away. Obviously, our playmakers made plays today. Anquan [Boldin], a big play by Ray [Rice], a big play by Bernard [Pierce]. That’s what you need if you’re going to win in the playoffs. Your big guys making big plays.”

 

(on Bernard Pierce) “His style is different from Ray [Rice]. But, both guys are capable of making big plays. When they’re in the open field, they can stretch it and take it the distance or most of the distance. They’re a little different style, but you can never have enough running backs. Those guys take a pounding, and we’re lucky we have two good ones.”

 

(on reshuffling the offensive line today) “It wasn’t that tough. You’ve got pros on our offensive line like ‘KO’ [Kelechi Osemele] and Mike [Michael Oher]. They get moved around. Those are the guys it’s probably most difficult on, but those guys are team players. It’s a tough situation for them personally, but it’s the best situation for us as an offense to have those five guys out there. We’ll watch film tomorrow and clean up as many things for next week as we can.”

 

(on the Denver Broncos) “They’re a great team. They’ve won 11 in a row or something like that. They are the best team in football. It’s a great challenge for us. But, we don’t need to worry about Denver right now. We need to savor this victory.”

 

S Ed Reed  

 

(on Ray Lewis’ last game at M&T Bank Stadium) “We’re not sure if it’s actually going to be his last home game. Just so you all know, it’s Ray Lewis. He loves football. So, he just might make a guest appearance next year in a game. No, just kidding. It was fun. We definitely wanted to win. Ray told us we were definitely going to win. It wasn’t going to happen on his last day, his last game at Ravens stadium. It was awesome, it felt good.”

 

(on whether Ray will tell you you will win next week) “He’s probably going to say the same thing. But, we’ll get ready for Denver and be prepared as much as possible. And, fight hard.”

 

(on whether Ray was different today) “He was no different today, just laser focus and trying to get the win.”

 

(on being on the field with Ray Lewis and Terrell Suggs for the first time) “It was very good. But, we had some miscues out there. There is some stuff we need to correct for next week.”

 

(on whether he was emotional) “No. We’ve talked about this countless amounts of time, me and Ray. It was just a matter of playing it close and staying focused after that.”

 

(on whether he cried) “No. Not for this. Maybe at Ray’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony.”

 

(on shutting down the Colts and Andrew Luck) “Andrew did a great job. He gave himself a chance. In the red zone, we stepped it up quite a bit, which was huge. We kept them out of the end zone. Like I told him after the game [Andrew Luck], he made some great plays. It’s just a matter of those guys getting older. They’ve got a young team over there. Me and Reggie [Wayne] were talking after the game. They know they just have a young team. They need to get a little older and get a couple of games under their belt. He [Andrew Luck] will definitely be better next year.”

 

(on holding the Colts to field goals) “It was huge. If we can do that for the entire playoffs, we will be in New Orleans.”

 

(on Bernard Pollard’s penalty) “It was a late play. It looked like maybe he was a little high. Maybe the back of his helmet caught the back of Reggie’s [Wayne] helmet. I know he means well, but this game is so bang-bang. It’s the playoffs, and you’re playing to win. It’s a tough thing to police that. Those calls are definitely going to affect the game. Rules are rules, and we have to play a certain way.”

 

(on his motivation to win a Super Bowl) “I’m just going to play the game and let it come as it does. We work out and prepare to go to the Super Bowl like all the other 31 teams in the league. Only two get to play in it, and only one gets to win it. Prepare for it, if it happens, it will be a blessing. That’s what we’re reaching for. If not, we just keep on striving. We were playing against Chuck [Pagano] and Reggie [Wayne] today. With what Chuck is going through, and all that my family has gone through, this is just a game.”

 

(on playing against Peyton Manning in December) “It was a hard-fought game. We had some internal stuff going on that definitely affected the way we played. We were not a team that day at all.”

 

(on playing the Broncos next week) “It’s going to be a hard-fought game. This is the playoffs. We know what we got, they know what we got. We’re going down there with all of our weapons and all of our tools. And we’re coming to bang.”

 

(on today possibly being Ed Reed’s last game as a Raven) “I am not thinking of that right now. I’m going to complete this year, and, like I always tell you, I will assess it every year. I assess myself every year physically. If you’re in football and you don’t do that, then something is wrong. I’m not worried about that. I’m not focused on that. Right now, it’s playoffs and it’s Denver. And, it’s football.”

 

(on the offenses’ success in the second half) “It was huge. They saw they were running a lot of plays on us. Guys had their hands on their hips. So, it was good for our offense to get going and get some first downs. And, eventually, score some points.”

 

(on Denver having the bye week) “It can affect both teams good or bad. We can only focus on us. We can’t worry about it. It is what it is. Somebody is going to get the bye. We didn’t get it and we know the reason why. We’re going forward. We don’t have time to complain. We don’t have time to worry. It’s all about Denver now. They had a week off. Whatever. So be it. We’re still coming strong.”

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