HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Obviously, congratulations to the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was one heck of a football game here and hats off to them. It was a heck of a comeback and they earned it. I am very disappointed for our guys and for our team, but proud of them nonetheless.
Considering your team's experience, was this a surprising loss?Nothing is surprising. This is tough, these are tough games and it is a good defense we were playing against.
Do you have any specific regrets about this game?I don't think we have too much time for regrets. I'm proud of our football team. I'm grateful for the opportunity to play in a football game like this and be a part of this. I'm grateful for the opportunity to coach a football team like this. I think our guys are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of these moments. All you can do in life is take a shot at being great. That's all you can do, and our guys did that. Our guys did that all year. We just weren't great enough today to win that football game. That's certainly disappointing, but that doesn't discourage us, doesn't frustrate us. We'll be back. We can't wait to get back and get started. Our guys will take some time with their families and work some things out that are going on, as we all know, and we'll be lining up again next year real soon.
Re: Suddenly having no more games to playThat's always the deal. That's the great thing about the National Football League and the playoff system. It's real, it's edgy, it's not comfortable. That's the way it should be.
How would you rate Joe Flacco's performance today?I haven't thought about rating him in any way. I thought he fought like crazy, just like the rest of the guys on the team. I felt our guys fought like crazy. I thought they gave everything they had, ups and downs and everything else, and I appreciate their efforts.
Re: Performance of the refereesI probably am not in the position to rate the referees. It's not something I would be qualified to do, although sometimes I enjoy doing that or take the opportunity to do it. I don't really have a problem with that right now. I'm just proud of our guys and really appreciative of the opportunity we have to play in these games. I thought it was a hard fought game. I thought it was a tough opponent. It's a bunch of guys we respect. We give them credit for it. They found a way to beat us today.
What does it take to be great?I think we'll study that. That's what we'll have to study. We'll go to work in the off-season and try to build our team the best way we can. We try to do that every year. You try to build your team the best way you can. When things come up and things happen, you've got to adjust and adapt and you never know on a journey what bend the road is going to take. You have to kind of overcome some adversity and some obstacles to be great enough to win these types of games.
Are you close to being great?Of course. We've got a lot of work to do. You better keep working all the time to be as good as you can possibly be. It's a very competitive world we live in.
Re: The play where the Steelers converted on third and 19.I just think they made a great play over top. It was a great throw; they ran a nice route, got behind us obviously and made a play. It's going to happen sometimes. I thought our secondary played well the whole game. I thought they played well really all year, especially the second half of the season. I don't have a problem with any individuals, any individual performances. Our guys were battling out there. That's what you ask for.
Re: Using the three-man run defense on the Steelers' third and 19 playThat ball would have been out either way. That was a pretty quick throw. I don't think it would have mattered how many guys we brought in that particular situation. We could have brought more and moved the ball out quicker, but you'd never do that in that situation. I thought we had good pressure. We had six sacks. We had a bunch of knockdowns. [The Steelers] had good pressure the whole game. These are two teams that play great defense, so I don't think pressure was a problem.
Re: Giving Ben Roethlisberger extra possessions and allowing the Steelers to shift the momentum of the gameThat's the thing. Obviously, you don't want to do that whenever you're playing Ben Roethlisberger. I think they've got some playmakers on offense and you give them short field like that, it's going to be tough. That's how they got back in the game. We want to avoid that, we've talked about that. It's not something we want to do against this team and obviously we've done it too often. Whenever we've lost it's usually been the result of something like that.
How much did the turnovers affect the outcome?
We let them back in the game. The bottom line is as much as they had control of the game in the second half, when the game was on the line, I wanted my number to be called. And it was, and I didn't catch it. That's basically the moral of the story.
Do you feel that play cost you the game?
It gives us four more downs. That's just me. I wouldn't want it any other way, with the exception of me making the catch. It's unbelievable. I can't believe that happened. I would bet every dollar I have that I make that.
Have you ever dropped a ball like that before?
No. I can't recall ever dropping the ball when the team needed the play. I've always made that play. I've always wanted that play, and wow. It's almost like it's not real. I can't believe it. I jumped up, and I was indecisive whether I was going to catch the ball with my hands or try to body it. It was too late.
The turnovers helped them, obviously. When it's all said and done, we had the ball with a chance to tie it up. There's no guarantee we would've won, but you give yourself opportunities and chances. This is almost like make-believe to me that this happened, because I like to think that nine times out of ten, ten out of ten, I make that play.
Re: Steelers' comeback
They made some big plays and got back in the game score-wise and momentum-wise. We just had a hard time getting it going after that.
Re: Playing against the Steelers' defense
We have to play better. We're real familiar with those guys, we know what they do. They're going to battle, and you're going to win some and you're going to lose some. We didn't win enough battles to win the game.
Re: Assessing the season
It's hard to frame it right now. It definitely hurts. I think that we're the best team in football, but it's the best team on game day that wins and gets to advance. Hats off to those guys, too. The Pittsburgh Steelers. They're an excellent team, and they certainly played well tonight and deserved to win.
As you get deeper into your career, does a loss like this hurt even more?Partially, but you never feel sorry for yourself. We had chances. We're out there playing, but it just didn't go our way tonight. They made plays, they deserved to win. We make a play or two more and we would have deserved to win. You're not owed anything. As hard as you work, and as much as you put into being a player and being a part of the team, and as grateful as you are for being part of the team, there's no room for sulking or pouting. We all wear big boy pants. You get beat, you get beat. That's what the time from now until the start of next season is for, to work hard and get better. Improve yourself individually and improve your team. You go back to work.
Re: Assessing the loss
You live and learn. This one is going to sting a little bit. Needless to say, I'm proud to be a Raven. There's no other team that I'd rather be a part of. We win together and we lose together. That's where I am with this.
Did you see the hand coming on your fumble?
I didn't see it. You have to be conscious of the situation. I'm not sure who hit it out, but that's totally my fault. I'm not a fumbler, but in a situation like that you have to be more careful. I was just trying to make a play.
Re: Feeling in the locker room at halftime with a 14-point lead.
We felt good. The defense had them stopped and we felt like it was going to come out differently. Situations happened – fumbles, turnovers, and against a good team this is what happens.
Re: Touchdown run
It was a good call. They were in pass defense. Once I got open, I was one-one-one with Troy Polamalu. Whenever coach draws up the play, he always leaves us one-on-one with the safety. I just had to take care of business from there.
We have been (turnover conscious) in the past. When you're on the road, you can't turn the ball over. That's what killed us.
Re: Future of the team
I don't know. It's the offseason now. You try to get healthy and spend time with your family. We'll get back to football when it's time. We will (bounce back), because of the character of the guys in this locker room."