BALTIMORE RAVENS POST GAME QUOTES
Head Coach John Harbaugh
(opening statement) "Congratulations to the Bengals. I thought they played a really good game. Obviously, they came out, they fought, they executed and made plays. They made some great plays. Three fantastic plays, including the one at the end to win the game. That was the difference in the game."
(on how he accounts for the difference between the first- and second-half offenses) "It's an impossible comparison to make, especially 10 minutes after the game. Really, there's no way to answer that."
(on if he can walk the media through Cincinnati's final touchdown play) "I saw it from the sideline. We were in a 2-deep zone coverage. It looked like a seam route to me … You talk about threading the needle. On the move, it was a great throw, great play. It was one of those amazing throws. That's what I chalk it up to. I don't know what else to say about it without seeing it on tape."
(on if he could talk about how tough the post-game talk with the team was in the locker room) "No, not really. That's between us and the guys. I'll just say this about the guys, though. I told them this, and I'll reiterate this. I hope our fans understand this. This is a great bunch of guys. I don't think I've ever been more impressed with a bunch of men – players and coaches – than I have with this team all year. I have never enjoyed coaching a team more, as a head coach or an assistant. I've never had a bunch of guys that didn't turn from adversity like these guys. No looking to the left, no looking to the right. When they got hit in the gut, they just looked straight ahead and went to work. We tried to get better, tried to improve and tried to find a way to win the next game. It has been a pleasure coaching these guys. I love this group of players. I'm disappointed. I'm hurt, because I wanted this team in the playoffs. I wanted this team in the playoffs for the team – the players – because of what they have done this year [and how far] they've come. The adversity they've overcome, backs against the wall, fighting to win, week after week, when they had to win. I'm just disappointed we didn't get this win. Even the game, I think, epitomizes, a little bit, how the season went. To battle our way back the way we did and then not finish the game, is about as tough as it can be. But, that doesn't detract from the heart and for who these guys are as people. So, that's what I'm standing on. That's what I told them. And it has been a joy coaching these guys every day."
(on how hard it is to accept the suddenness of the season ending) "Yes, I think it speaks for itself. I think that's true."
QB Joe Flacco
(on the difficulty of processing a loss like this) "Disappointing. We didn't play well enough to win. [In this] league, you don't get anything given to you. You go out there, and you have to earn everything. We were there but we ended up [losing]."
(on why the offense struggled so much in the first half and if the cold was a factor) "Listen, they're a tough defense. They're going to make it tough on you, and that's what they did. They made it tough. Early on, we made a couple hiccups that maybe would have got us some first downs and wasn't good on our part, and then so the combination of letting them [get off] the field and get their juices flowing early on just kind of compounded throughout the first half. When you let a good defense off the hook a couple times early, it's not going to be good for you."
(on if they were aware of the Bills and Titans and what they were doing in their games) "The only thing we were worried about was beating the Cincinnati Bengals, and that's a tough enough task on its own. I think we all had the blinders on going out there and playing the football game."
(on if they knew by game's end the situation) "I mean yeah, that was pretty obvious. They had the scores up there the whole time. It's not like you know exactly what's going on, but you have enough sense to look up and understand what the consequences are."
(on how shocking to see the late Cincinnati TD) "It's the name of the game, man. Stuff like that happens. Credit the other team, and obviously it's tough for us to deal with right now. We didn't play perfect football but we fought back into that game, and there's a lot of different emotions in that sense. You've got to be proud of the way we fought back, even though it wasn't perfect. Tough situations, and at the same time, we have to deal with the fact that we didn't get it done."
(on the emotions in the locker room) "It's tough. Those guys are, everybody in there, we've gone to battle on the football field together for the last 17 weeks, and you try to create something special and get yourself into the playoffs and make a nice little run and [have] something that you'll remember forever. So obviously, when you put that kind of work in and throughout the course of 17 weeks aren't quite good enough, it's tough [on] us all."
S Eric Weddle
(on the final play) "We were debating on the call…we wanted to give them a different look. We didn't play it correctly. The safety to that side drops; they made a play, so it's hard. Everything as a team we put into it, and to have it right there … It's a tough pill to swallow. You've got to tip your hat to the Bengals. They came out and fought. They fought their tails off. We battled all the way back, had a chance to win and just came up short. It's unfortunate, but these moments will build your character, build our identity, build our team for the future. I know we'll bounce back."
(on if how this season ended similarly to last year adds to the sting of the defeat) "Whether you lose the way we did or get blown out, it all feels the same right now. We'll look at it. You look at yourself, see what you could have done better, and it will be the driving force come the offseason. Nobody's happy. We had a couple of times on that last drive to get off the field and a couple of penalties that happened, but we didn't make the plays. We weren't good enough, and you've got to credit your opponent when that happens."
(on if he hopes the same corps of players and coaches will be back together in 2018) "I thought we grew as a team. I thought individuals and especially the team got better as the season went on, especially with the situation that we had throughout the injuries and slow start and what not. I think we've gotten progressively better since my two years of being here. So, the next step is making the playoffs – winning the division and making the playoffs next year. Management is going to do what they feel is best for the team, going forward and for the future. As a leader, you've just got to look at yourself, and you individually make goals and continue to work hard and get better, and you get in a situation that you hope you're in, and you make the plays enough to win the game."
OLB Terrell Suggs
(on the finality of the game and the way it played out) "We went from having all our dreams come true to them going away in a matter of seconds. You always have to execute till there is no more time left on the clock."
(on the emotions in the locker room after the game) "It is like a bad dream. It is like you can't believe it is happening to us like this. Whatever, man. Maybe, I still have not processed it."
(on if that is the toughest regular season loss he has ever been through) "Yes. 15 years as a Raven, I would have to say this one is the most devastating. I will remember this one forever. It is very unfortunate. You will learn more from failure than you ever will from success. We just have to be better. We can't put ourselves in this situation anymore. We will learn from this."
(on why this loss hurts more than others) "You know why. We had it. We had it. We had it. That is why it hurts. We fought our way back. We did not play perfect. We fought our way back and we had it, and we let it slip away. That is why it hurts. It is going to resonate."
(on the Bengals TD on their last play) "[Andy Dalton] made a great throw. Hey man, it sucks. Tomorrow, everybody is going to be an expert. [They will say], 'Oh, they should have did this. They should have done that.' I said it before: Victory has 1,000 fathers, but defeat is an orphan."
(on the Ravens winning five out of their last seven games) "I don't give a damn about a moral victory. We are out. We are out. We needed six of seven. We have never been a team about moral victories. During those five of the last seven, it was win and you get in. You need to be yourself. We did not play like ourselves, and it is nobodys fault. It is no one mans fault. There is no perfect call in football. We are all men. You have to win together. You lose together. But this one is going to hurt for a long time."
(on if he thought this team was capable of a playoff run) "Absolutely. Absolutely. Especially after the way we fought in the second half. I have been feeding the guys that for the rest of the way out. We have to play championship playoff football, and we spotted them like 17 points in the first half. Well, we can't say we spotted them, they went out and they got 17 points in the first half. Like I said, it just sucks. It sucks to end your season like that."
(on if a finish like this motivates him to keep going in his playing career) "Yes. I plan on playing football for a few more years. Do you think I should quit?"* (Reporter: "No.") *"Alright. My body isn't what is hurting right now. I plan on playing football next year and years to come."
(on reports that defensive coordinator Dean Pees is retiring) "I heard something about it. I mean, he has to make a decision of what is good for him and his family. If he thinks it is time for him to hang it up, he is going to do so, and we are going to miss him. But we would love to have him back. Nobody wants to finish like this."
CB Marlon Humphrey
(on how to get past this loss) "I guess you shake it off. You think about it for a little bit, figure out what you did wrong, get over it, and you're ready for the offseason. It is a little bit tougher, because it's my second year [in a row] losing on a game-winning drive. It kind of turned into a two-year type of thing. I have to figure out what I need to do for next year and get back at it in the offseason."
(on how much this loss stings) "It doesn't sting too much for me. I tend to get over losses, because there's nothing you can do about it now. That is kind of how I have always taken everything. I will be a little sad for tonight, but when I wake up in the morning, it will be a new day, and you have family and you have friends and other things that give you joy in life. But this one will definitely sting a little bit. You just have to get over it."
(on the defense giving up a touchdown on the last drive) "I remember [defensive coordinator Dean] Pees, one of the first things he told our defense the beginning of the season was about the Patriots a few years back when they lost the Super Bowl on a two-minute drive. He talked to us about what we were going to build our defense on was finishing. I feel like we kind of let him down today. It was on us, the way we wanted it. We just didn't get it done at the end."
(on reports that Dean Pees will retire after this season) "I don't really know. I'm not sure how old he is, but I think he's getting up there. He is a great defensive coordinator, and I hope he can stay with us another year."
(on how much it would impact the defense if Dean Pees does retire) "I think it would impact us a little bit at first, but I'm sure the Ravens can get another great guy that can come in and coach at the same caliber. But, Dean is a really great coach."
(on his penalty on the last drive) "I jumped right in front of him, and I felt like we kind of just collided, but the ref said I pulled him down. I will have to see it on film, but if the flag is thrown, the refs are always right."
S Tony Jefferson
(on how much the loss stings) "I don't really have any words for it. It is tough. We fought through adversity, cut out the noise, and we kept battling. I couldn't be more proud. This is my favorite team I've ever been on. As we know in this profession, each year the teams are different, and I value the friendships that I've built here. That is from every part of the organization, from equipment to PR to the players, the front office. They brought me in here, and I really appreciate it. Words can't describe what they have done for me. I love coming to work because of these guys. The way it ended tonight, it just kind of hurts. It will take me a while to get over it, but like Coach [John] Harbaugh said, the sun will come up in the morning. You never know who's going to be here next year. It is a new team, and that is the worst part for me because everybody really took me in and let me show my personality and stuff like that. I'm sorry, I'm getting emotional, but that really means something."
(on how emotional the game was) "It is just football. They made a play at the end. We talked about finishing all year. We didn't finish today. They made a play, but like I said, that's football. I will look at the tape and see maybe what we could have done better, but like I said, I've never loved a team like I've loved this one. So, this one stings a little bit for me."
(on what he saw on the game-winning touchdown) "I honestly don't even know what actually happened. I'll look at it on tape, but it's just a rough way to end. We talked about finishing all year, but we just didn't do it on that play when it mattered the most."
(on if this is a loss he'll remember for a long time) "Any time I lose or we lose as a team, it sticks with me. I don't care if it's a preseason or a regular season game, I'll remember. This one sticks with me a little more because we wanted to get to the dance, but it's just rough because these guys fight so hard. We study hard. We really try to compete and be positive forces out there, especially when our team needs us, and we did not do that today."
WR Mike Wallace
(on his overall thoughts of the game) "Obviously, we're disappointed. It's heartbreaking. We had big plans to make a run and just like that it's all gone. I guess it's back to the drawing board."
(on the slow start in the first half) "I mean it definitely didn't help. Obviously, you want to get a faster start, but I think we did a great job of fighting and putting ourselves in the position to win the football game, even with a slow start. In any football game there's going to be ups and downs, but it's just about finishing, and we didn't get it done. At the end of the day, you just have to make the play to win the game. And we didn't do that today."
(on if he could put this loss into perspective due to his long career) "We're not going to the playoffs. That's it, it's just disappointing, it hurts. We fought hard, we came up short. We definitely were not expecting this outcome, definitely weren't expecting to be home. But we didn't take care of business. We started out slow, we fought back and they just made a play at the end of the game to win the football game."
(on if he expects changes in the offseason) "I don't know. I mean, it's football. There are always a lot of changes. There aren't too many teams who don't have a lot of changes. I'm pretty sure there will be, but we just have to grind and stay ahead of it, and be the best we can be. We can't worry about those type of things. We just got knocked out of the playoffs and emotions are raw. The offseason and any changes are the furthest thing from my mind. I'm just trying to get over this first."
(on if he thinks changes are needed) "We were right there. We were 4th-and-12 away from making a run with less than a minute to go. I don't think we're too far off. It's football, and business things happen, and I'm sure a lot of things will happen, but we have to stay focused and take care of our things."
(on the feeling of it being snatched away) "That's just football. It happens to us, it happens to every team. We're not about to sit up here and talk about the referees that they made us lose this football game. We didn't make enough plays. We're talented, but it just wasn't enough. We lost the football game, not the referees. They have good calls, they have bad calls. We as football players just have to play through it."
(on the dropped passes in the first half) "We certainly missed a few, myself included. Definitely missed a few plays, but I don't really think that it did a lot to impact the game. Guys fought hard and came back and made a lot of plays. That's just the way it goes. Ups and downs. It would be a lot different if it was 48-0, but we came back and put ourselves in a position to win. Every one of the guys who missed a play in the first half came back and made a big play in the second half. You just have to keep fighting, and we did a great job of doing that. They just made one more play than we did."
DT Brandon Williams
(on the finality of this game/not making the playoffs) "It's very tough. Losing like that towards the end is never easy. But there's nothing we can do about it besides come back stronger next year. I'm very proud of the way that everyone played. In the beginning it was one-sided, but we worked our butts off to get back in the lead and it gave us a chance to make a good run. But in the end, it didn't work out. I can't say enough about how these guys fight. We've got a bunch of warriors on this team. I appreciate every one of them and I love fighting next to them."
(on the emotions in the team locker room after the game) "Hindsight is 20/20, but we all felt that we should've won this game. We just didn't finish it out and that's the old stuff. But hey, what can you do? We would love to be playing next week, tomorrow going to practice and doing meetings. But I guess that's not in the cards. Again, all we can do is evaluate ourselves, work hard in the offseason and come back next season."
(on what can be done to "finish games") "First things I'm going to do is look at myself. Re-evaluate myself, get into the film, and figure out what I can do better. I know on the first drive I wasn't at my best. They [Cincinnati] gashed us a little bit and I put that on me for that. I put the blame on me, because that's my job. So, I have to do better at that and I'll take it from there."
(on reports of DC Dean Pees retiring) "Hopefully it's not his time. But if it is, then I appreciate everything he has done for me, and for us as a defense, as a team. Man, all I can say is I appreciate him. He's the best defensive coordinator I've ever been around. From his resume alone, he's a top defensive coordinator. If he's not here, hopefully God is with him and he has a great life and is prosperous in what he does. Hopefully though, he's back. He's a guru."
(on positives to take from this season) "I'd say the biggest thing is the way we fought. People had us down and out in Tennessee, and thought we wouldn't make it to this point to actually have a chance to fight for a playoff spot. But we did. We went 5-1, and then today. The heart that we showed, I love that about this team. That's a good concrete base to build from and keep on going."
ILB C.J. Mosley
(on the touchdown that won the game for Cincinnati) "[Andy Dalton] just threw a good pass between me and the safety. He was in Cover 2. They had max protect on and the back was in. And he just made a great pass."
(on the game getting away from one play at the end) "It takes us right back to last year. It stinks to give up a touchdown on the last play basically and miss the playoffs. It's just another year for us to hear it all year until next season."
(on just not being able to finish big games the last two years) "Right now the emotions and feelings are so raw. Everybody in this locker room feels like it was something they did that cost us this game. But as a team, we didn't play well enough to win. The defense started off real slow on the first drive. But then special teams came up really big, offense came up big. And then the defense started coming through, three-and-outs, and then we got the turnover. But when we needed it most, as a defense, we didn't deliver. As a team, we have to watch the film, swallow the pill tomorrow. As an individual player, we all have to see what we can work on for next year."
(on the emotion in the locker room right after the game) "Everybody was upset. We know what kind of team we are and what we are capable of. We knew we had to win pretty much every game down the stretch and besides this one, we lost only one. Every game that we won, we saw what our potential was, and this is a tough one to take. Like I said, when we needed it the most, we didn't show up all the way. This whole second half of the season was like the playoffs for us. For me, it stinks, my three years not going to the postseason. But as a player, as a leader, I know that this will help us get better, stronger and help us get ready for the new players coming in and the guys coming back."
(on reports of DC Dean Pees retiring) "I really don't know about that. If he does, I love him. He's had a long career, way before I was born. I love him as a man. Obviously, it's something out of our control, but he's got my full support no matter what he does."
OLB Matthew Judon
(on if this was his toughest loss ever) "Yes, yes. We had some veterans we wanted to win this game for. You never know when it's your last snap, and you never know when it's their last snap. We wanted to come out on top. We played to win the championship. We had the opportunity to go out there and get in the dance, and we fell short."
(on stopping the Bengals in the third quarter) "Our offense did a good job with the ball. I think we only played six plays in the third quarter. We came out and we stopped the runs that we were giving up in the first half, and we tightened up the ship. We knew we had to do that to even be in the game at the end."
(on his sack) "It was a play call. We saw how they were protecting him. It was just a great play call."
(on overcoming the loss) "The first thing we have to do is go watch film, then I have to work on my craft, and get better so I can be clutch in those situations. That's what you want to do as an athlete. When the game is on the line, you want to make the play. Unfortunately, I didn't make that play."
(on what he will miss most about not being in the playoffs) "The atmosphere. No team is ever the same from year to year. We're going to have a whole different 53-[man roster] out there next year. I'm going to miss the guys."
T Austin Howard
(on the loss) "Almost no words can explain what just happened. We had it in our grasp. A few things didn't go our way. It just didn't go our way today."
(on not getting the breaks) "It was just one of those games. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of would have, should have, could haves. You never want that, but we are going to face the music when we watch film tomorrow. It's one of those deals where we as individuals are going to have to learn from it. Hopefully, we need to make sure we never feel this again."
(on the offenses second half success) "It's tough to say. Me personally, I'm worried about my assignment. I'm not really sure what clicked. Sometimes you get momentum, and things start going your way. Plays start happening. It's just one of those swings in the game, and you try and build on it. Unfortunately, there just weren't enough good plays."
(on how to overcome the loss) "We just have to. It's our job. We are going to approach this next season, how we approach any other season. It's going to be a new season, a new team. And, there are going to be a lot of fresh faces. And there are going to be a lot of guys who won't be in the building anymore. That's the unfortunate part of this game. You have to be a professional. You have to be willing to do the extra things, training individually and then making it to the team offseason program. Right now, the main focus for guys is spending time with their families, get some much needed rest, because guys are injured. You take care of those things and then you get back to work."
(on the worst part of the loss) "We knew that we controlled our own destiny, and we had it within our grasp. The fact that we controlled it and dropped the ball, that's the worst feeling about today. A lot of things happened that didn't have to happen. We just didn't perform well enough. We will have to swallow that."
TE Benjamin Watson
(on if the loss is devastating) "Yes, that's a pretty accurate description. We needed to play better than we did. We didn't make enough plays in the end, and they won. It's a hard pill to swallow to have your season end so abruptly. But that's what happens when you don't play well."
(on overcoming the loss) "It's the end of the season, so everyone is going to have a good long time to think about it. Unfortunately, it will fester for a while. When the guys come back in the offseason, they have to erase the slate and get ready to play next year."
(on if the offense's slow start hurt) "It was definitely a factor. We always say that we want to start fast. I think that offensively we can't put that kind of pressure on our defense. Our defense has played tremendously all year long. They kept us in games. Anytime you put yourself behind two touchdowns, even if you come back, it puts a lot of pressure on your team. Offensively we didn't play very well at all in the first half."
(on overcoming adversity this year) "We were there, but we didn't finish. We had a chance, and we didn't finish. Cincinnati can be proud that they came here and won. They won their last game of the season. Every team wants to win their last game of the season. They did a better job of that than we did."
RB Javorius Allen
(on the loss) "This is going to be a tough pill to swallow. I think that every guy in this room felt like we could have took care of their job, but it just came down to the last play. We just have to execute."
(on if the way they lost makes it tougher) "No, it's just not going to the playoffs. Just the fact that we're not going to be in the tournament. A lot of guys expected to be there. A lot of guys wanted to be there. I think us just not getting there is disappointing. We didn't care how we got there."
(on how they regroup) "We just have to come back ready and remember this feeling. A lot of us will. This is a bad feeling, and I know no one in this locker room wants to feel this again. I think we'll be fine. The urgency will come again. We have to wait a whole training camp to go out and do this again. I think that guys will be ready."
(on whether there are any positives from the season) "I think that we will. There are a lot of positives to take, and there are also a lot of negatives. We're just going to get ready for this time next year. We're going to get ready for next year, but it's going to feel like forever and a day. We just have to have patience and know how this felt, so we don't have to feel this again."