Head Coach John Harbaugh
Opening statement: "I appreciate you guys being in here. Kudos to the Steelers, [they] did a great job and won the game, made the plays they had to. Great rivalry, and I have a lot of respect for them and what they do. They won, and they deserve it. A couple injury notes. Mekari, Pat Mekari has a hand issue. Could be a few weeks. And Marlon Humphrey has an issue. We'll get an MRI, but it could be a while for Marlon. So, we'll see."
When you get down and you're down by one, what went into the decision-making to go for two instead of just kick it? "[We're] trying to win the game right there. We were pretty much out of corners at that point in time. It was an opportunity to try to win the game right there."
The defense played so well for three quarters, and then Pittsburgh scores on their final three possessions. What changed? Did they get tired? Did Pittsburgh change up what they were doing? "No, they hit zero coverage a couple times. You go to the well too many times, and they get you. That's what happened."
You said the reason you went for it at the end of the game was because you were out of corners. Marlon was not coming back at that point, is that correct? "Correct."
Is that exactly what you wanted from that play, just not executing? "You saw the play. It's that close. It's a game of inches. You saw the Al Pacino speech in Any Given Sunday, right? It's football. It's just that close."
We've asked you before about Lamar standing in the pocket. Take the good with the bad sometimes that he holds the ball. Are you concerned that he's holding the ball too long? It seemed like several of those sacks… "Yes, we can put him in better position too in terms of getting the ball out quick with some of those calls. Seven sacks is too many. It's way too many. That's on us as a coaching staff to get that cleaned up."
Obviously, T.J. Watt got activated pretty late in the process yesterday. Were you able to game plan for him throughout the week? How did that process work? "Yes, we game-planned throughout the week. We don't change our defense too much with the other guys in there. It's just a matter of who's going to play. [He's a] great player. We probably expect him to find a way to get back."
With Lamar, was that more of a product of what you guys were doing with the pass rush? "The ball was being held, trying to push the ball downfield a little bit at times. We gave them enough time to get to him for sure. There were plenty of times where he ran out of there too and made some huge plays, extending plays. That does … We talk about that in our press conferences quite a bit. So that's kind of Lamar's a unique guy that way. [But] seven sacks are too many."
Is Marlon's injury a knee? "I'm not going to get into all that right now."
Did you get what you wanted on that two-point play? Minus the touchdown, but did you get the looks? Did you get pretty much everything you wanted? "Yes, he was open. So, we did, yes."
TE Mark Andrews
(on what he saw on the two-point conversion attempt) "[It] was a good play-call. I came wide open. Lamar [Jackson] threw a great ball, I just didn't make the play."
(on what the decision to attempt a two-point conversion says about the team's mentality) "It's what we should do. We're in a hostile environment. Obviously, [on the] two-minute drive, Sammy [Watkins] and a bunch of guys were stepping up and making plays, 'Duv' [Devin Duvernay] and all of those guys. We get down there and score a touchdown. Things were rolling. One catch and things are different."
(on what the mindset is going into Cleveland next week with a record of 8-4) "Stay hungry and keep on going. That's it."
CB Anthony Averett
(on the adjustments he saw from Pittsburgh's offense in the second half) "I have to look at the film to be quite sure, but I know they really started to build up a run game a little bit more so it would open up the pass [game] a little bit more. Their run game pretty much opened their offense up."
(on his pass inference call which resulted in a ILB Patrick Queen interception being called back) "I didn't think I held him, but that's the things they call. [It's a] rivalry game … We were battling the whole time, but I didn't think it was enough for him to call anything – especially at that moment in time."
(on the team's mindset heading into next week's matchup at Cleveland) "We still have a couple more games left for sure. That's a rivalry game. We're going to just keep stacking these games. We've got another division game next week against the Browns. So, just focus on them and make sure we get the 'W' with them."
(on the overall fight and resilience with this team) "We've definitely been in these situations plenty of times, as you can see. Every game has been by like one point, three points, whatever it is – it's always been close. We just came [up] short on this one. Hopefully, it'll be a big one next time we play."
ILB Josh Bynes
(on how frustrating Pittsburgh's last touchdown drive was) "It was super frustrating. Of course, you don't want to give up a touchdown, or anything, during the drive. They just found a way right at the end of the game to make that one play more than us. They did a great job and got the win today."
(on what changed to allow Pittsburgh to score in the second half) "Really, they just started to get the momentum going. It's a battle; every time you play Pittsburgh, it's just one of those old school battles. They found a way to get some movement going and get stuff rolling for them offensively. Obviously, it turned into a touchdown at a really important stage of the game. In this game – not just this game, but in the NFL in general – it's always that one play away, and they made that one extra [play] tonight to win the game."
(on how difficult the injuries have made it on defense, specifically with players getting hurt late in the game) "At the end of the day, whoever is in still has to make plays – that's just what it comes down to. You still have to know what's going on. I was one of those guys at one point in time. I wasn't playing, but then my number was called, and I had to step in and play and be ready. That's what the league is about, you never know when your opportunity may be, and it might be in one of the most crucial points in the game. You never know, that might be your last opportunity in this game, or in the league, or it might be the first of many. Whoever is out there just has to be able to step up and play the Raven way. We have to find a way to come out with the victory in games like this."
(on how big of a challenge it would be if CB Marlon Humphrey would miss time with an injury) "I don't really know the extent of whatever it is with Marlon [Humphrey] at all. We just have to … We'll figure that out as the week goes and whatnot. We'll figure that out when it comes. I really don't know."
(on if he fixates on one play that could have gone a different way given how close the game was) "Honestly, if we would have converted the two-point conversion, we would be having a different conversation right now. You know what I mean? Let's just be real. We'll be talking about all these ways we find a way to win and all the other stuff. At the end of the day, they found the way to make the one play, and we didn't. That's just what it came down to, and that's just what these games are about, especially this late in the season. They made that one extra play, and that's all that mattered. They got that one extra point than us, and they came out victorious."
(on if he feels like there was a missed opportunity that the Ravens didn't come away with the win after the Bengals lost today) "Honestly, it's just one game at a time, because we still have … How many games have we played already? 12 [games]? 11 games? We have five more games left; it's still a long season. We'd usually be talking about four and however many games we're playing, but we have five more games left. Obviously, every one of these [games] matter. I don't really care who won or who lost. But obviously, I want us to win – that's just the most important goal. Obviously, we have to get back to the drawing board this weekend. We have to come out in this four-game [final] quarter [at] plus two [wins] at least – not 50%. I'm going off the four games [left]. We just played our third [game], or whatever. Our second [game]? You know what I mean. (laughter)I'm breaking it down, four and four, not counting the Bye [Week]." (laughter)
(on what head coach John Harbaugh's decision to attempt a two-point conversion says about him as a coach) "He's aggressive. He wanted to win the game. He wanted to put us in the right position. Like I said before, if we converted that two-point conversion, it'd be a whole different conversation we'd be having right now. I appreciate Coach [Harbaugh] for everything and then some. He wanted to be aggressive. He knew it was such a big game, especially in the AFC North, and [wanted] to come out victorious. It's aggressive. Like I said, if we converted it, we'd be having this conversation about how Coach [Harbaugh] is brilliant and all these other things that you guys say. Now that we didn't convert it, now it's all crap that's going to come out, or whatever. So, we just want to … In the end, we just have to find ways to win games so we wouldn't be in that situation from the get-go – that's what it's all about."
(on what it tells him as a player when his head coach is that aggressive) "This is [head coach John] Harbaugh. I love [Coach] Harbaugh, and I love him through and through. I'm OK with every decision he makes."
S Chuck Clark
(On the adjustments the Steelers made after halftime) "They started spacing the ball around, getting it to their playmakers, just kind of going a little more up tempo, stealing a few first downs on us."
(on the gutsiness of the 2-point conversion call at the end of the game) "We just trust our team, trust our playmakers. It didn't come out how we wanted it to. I believe – this team believes –that we're going to win more of those than we lose those in that type of way. That's just how the ball falls sometimes – that's football."
(on the team's mindset going in to next week at Cleveland) "Win. Win. Win. Win. Win."
RB Devonta Freeman
(on the two-point conversion attempt at the end of the game) "[That's] just Coach [John Harbaugh] trusting us – trusting us to go out and do our job. We converted it a lot this season, so it's just another play for us. We get four downs, and we try to execute on every play that we could whenever Coach decides to call it and go for it on fourth down. We want to execute. We're competing, we're fighting, we're battling, and we're just trying to get better. It sucks, but we'll just move on."
(on if there's frustration in moving the ball downfield and it not translating to more touchdowns) "The main thing is, to me, I just want to contribute and finish games and close out and get a win. I got these guys, my brothers, who I come to work with every single day and fight – we fight for each other, and we battle. And I just hate losing. It's almost like you're letting your family down. But we've just got to put this in the garbage can and get ready for the next one."
(on how QB Lamar Jackson's communication in the huddle is when coming back from being behind) "Lamar [Jackson] is just motivational. [He's] pushing us in the huddle, 'Let's go, let's win, let's complete everything.' Just doing his job, doing what he's supposed to do and doing it at an elite level. We thrive on him, and we feed off him."
(on how Pittsburgh's pass rush made things difficult for the offense) "I think it was all about us and what we did wrong, and we could get better at, how we can execute plays better. I don't think they did too much of anything super outstanding to just stop us. We were moving the ball all down the field. I just think it goes back to us getting back into the Xs and Os and just completing things and fixing it and correcting our mistakes."
QB Lamar Jackson
(on going for the two-point conversion) "It was cool. I really didn't -- when I looked at the score, I saw it was 19-20. Perfect play call. We're going to make it happen. [We] just came up short."
(on not executing the two-point conversion) "[We] just didn't execute, just didn't execute. We were on the same page, just a little mishap."
(on if he liked the play call on the two-point conversion) "I was cool with it."
(on if he liked the decision to go for the two-point conversion) "Yeah, it was cool. I want to win."
(on how much the pass-rush pressure affected him on the two-point conversion) "[I was trying to] throw it right to him, just put it on his chest. I couldn't do that just because T.J. Watt's got range. He's a long guy. I had to throw around him and try to make something happen. That's all. [We] just came up short."
(on not finishing drives) "We put so much time out there on the field. Like you said, we're driving the ball down the field, converting third downs, long third downs. It's not third-and-short and stuff like that. We're just not finishing. It's like one play away, and there's always something down there in the red zone. We've got to figure it out when we're down there, and I feel we'll be fine."
(on getting sacked seven times tonight and if he's holding the ball too long) "For sure it is. You know, T.J. Watt, he's a great defender, great rusher, man. He was doing his thing out there tonight. We've just got to get in the lab and find ways to make things happen and keep our jobs going and try not to have sacks. Try to have positive plays each and every play. That's all."
(on the interception he threw) "I was hot. That's my guy dropping back. I wish I'd had more power behind it to throw the ball behind Minkah [Fitzpatrick]'s head so Mark [Andrews] could make a play on it. Hopefully would have gotten three [points] out of that, but it just got turned over."
(on if he was trying to get it to TE Mark Andrews on the interception he threw) "For sure."
(on if he was surprised by anything the Steelers or T.J. Watt were doing) "Watt was doing his thing. That's what he do, just one on one and making things happen, I guess."
(on his confidence in the offense moving forward) "I'm very confident. You saw on the last drive, we were rolling. We hit passes, guys running routes and doing what they do, catching the ball and getting 'YAC.' We just do that consistently, and we'll be fine. We've just got to do it early and keep it going, finish the whole game like that. Not just doing [it for] one half and slowing down."
(on if he feels he needs to throw the ball away a little sooner) "Sometimes you can't. Sometimes the guy's behind you, try to throw the ball away, and there's going to be a strip sack, stuff like that."
(on if Coach Harbaugh asked him about going for the two-point conversion) "I was in the moment. We had just scored. We go to the sideline and said we're going for two, and I was like, 'All right.' I was cool with it."
(on if he thought to ask Coach Harbaugh about going for the two-point conversion prior to the decision to go for it) "No. I want to win. I didn't want to go to overtime anyway."
(on if he had multiple options on the two-point conversion play) "Well, he was open at the time. There were other guys, but they weren't open."
(on if T.J. Watt disrupted his throw to TE Mark Andrews on the two-point conversion) "He's way taller than me, way wider. I just had to make something happen. That's it."
DT Brandon Williams
(on how difficult of a loss it was) "It was a big game, Steelers-Ravens rivalry. You always want to win every single one of them. So, it just stinks that we didn't get this one. But we're still sitting in a good position, and we still believe in each other. So, we're going to keep rolling."
(on what changed defensively that the Steelers scored 17 in the fourth quarter) "It just comes down to execution [and] doing the little things right. They get paid, too. So, they're going to make some good plays against some different fronts. So, kudos to them as well. But like I said, we were still rolling. We were still doing everything we needed to do; they just got us a few times."
(on what he was thinking as he saw the offense go for two at the end of the game) "We believe in our players. We believe in our team. We believe in [No.] 8 [Lamar Jackson]. So, the whole way, we had trust and belief in them. We'd do it a thousand more times. (someone knocks over a chair) Hopefully you don't do that a thousand more times. … But we'd do that play a thousand more times. We'd call on him anytime, every time. So, we still believe in the Ravens. We still believe in our offense, [and] we still believe in our defense – all the way around."
(on what kind of stress the team has dealt with after battling so many injuries, most recently with CB Marlon Humphrey getting injured in tonight's game) "I mean, we've got a lot of injuries, so we've been dealing with stress all season, and we've still been able to overcome it. So, that's what we plan on doing. It's a 'Next Man Up' mentality, so the show must go on. We pray that Marlon [Humphrey] makes it back. We pray that everybody who is down right now gets healed up, but we still have games to play. Next week, we have the [Cleveland] Browns, so we have to focus on that."