Postgame Transcript - Week 1 vs. Steelers


Head Coach John Harbaugh

(opening statement) "Obviously, first of all, it was a great team victory. All three phases played exceptionally well against a really good football team. It's something we're proud of. We said this going in. The first game isn't going to be the end-all, be-all. It's not going to be the end of the season. We have 15 more games to run this thing out and see where we're at. That's a heck of a football team. I guarantee you, they will be back. So we'll see them again. But, congratulations to, first of all, our players. That's a player's victory. Ray [Lewis] said it earlier in the week,it's going to be about being physical, number one, which we knew we were going to be. It was going to be about executing, number two, which our guys did in all three phases. They made plays. They made plays when they had to make plays. Sacks, turnovers, rushing offense… Just off the top of my head, it was an exciting victory for our football team. [Terrell] Suggs- with the 70 sacks, all-time career sacks. Those are all individual things that we are very proud of. But, I'm proud of the team victory part of it."

(on the pre-game ceremony) "It was emotional. I had [my daughter] Alison there. Margaret Rosburg was standing there, with Brendon Ayanbadejo on the other side, and I think a [soldier] was standing next to us. When the jets flew over, is there anyone who didn't get choked up? We were in church last night, over at St. Mary's, and they played America the Beautiful to end the church. I couldn't sing it. It wasn't because I couldn't read it, either. I couldn't read it, but I couldn't sing it. This is a great day for America. It's also a great day for Baltimore fans and the Ravens. But, we have a lot of work to do, and we have a game next week."

(on if this was the most satisfying victory he's had) "I hate that word, satisfying. It's a great victory. The whole thing about ghosts, demons, monkeys on your back- that's not real to us. It's a football game. Every game is a new game. Ray said it before the game, or I think he said it at halftime. We have not been here before, with the lead going into the third quarter against this football team because this is a new football team. This is the 2011 Baltimore Ravens. This is who we are, and now we're going to find what this football team is going to be about going forward."

(on the offensive play calling from Cam Cameron) "I'm really proud of our coordinators. I'm proud of Cam. I'm proud of Chuck Pagano. I'm proud of the coaches. You can go directly down the line- Dean Pees, Todd Washington, Andy Moeller with the preparation coming up to this thing. I could name every single one of these guys. I think they did a great job."

(on the protection from the offensive line) "The protection was fantastic. That's something against this football team that you have to be concerned with. I know everyone in this room who follows this team had a concern with that, and I guarantee you I had a concern with that too. But, I think we did a good job of game planning the protection. The main thing was the one-on-one battles. The one-on-one battles across the board that we won. The offensive line was a big part of that. But, really across the board in all phases. That's how you win football games. That's what making plays is."

(on how dominating the Ravens defense was against Ben Roethlisberger) "I don't know. How dominating was it? I can't put that quote out there. That was a heck of a football team we played against, and that's a heck of a quarterback we played against, and that's a good performance. But, we'll put it behind us, and we have to move on. The thing we have to do now is get better as a football team in every single phase."

(on Ray Rice's performance) "I think Ray Rice runs hard. I think Ricky [Williams] ran really hard. Vonta [Leach] blocked really hard. The offensive line blocked really hard too. Joe [Flacco] did a great job of getting the runs in the direction that they needed to go, away from some of their pressures. So that was a team effort. But, Ray Rice is a great back."

(on Haloti Ngata's performance) "I thought it was dominant, to borrow a phrase. He was dominant. The play at the beginning of the half where he barged through there and got the hit in the backfield- it was just a huge momentum play."

(on if he has ever been part of a team that forced seven turnovers) "I don't remember that. We're off to a good start. Let's just build on that. That's what you want to do."

(on Terrell Suggs' performance and the history of great Ravens defensive players) "You're talking about some great sack artists that have been here. This has been a high pressure type of a deal. Terrell Suggs is a premier player. He's one of the best players in the National Football League. He's one of the premier defensive players that everybody game plans around. He gets blocked every different kind of way a guy can get blocked, from one game to the next, when you watch it. He still finds a way to make plays. Plus, he's one of the best leaders I've been around. This guy is one of the hardest working guys I've ever been around. He's part of the heart and soul of our team and our defense."

(on Joe Flacco's performance) "I think he was very much in control of the game. I think he had a great understanding of their defense. He was probably a step ahead, in terms of just making the checks and getting us into the right plays the whole game. I thought he did a great job with that."

(on Ed Dickson's performance) "I'm not sure how many catches he had, but the catch he had in the corner of the end zone was a huge play. They played like veterans, and that's what you want your young guys to do."

(on Bryant McKinnie's ability to be mobile and quick) "We have seen it in practice, and he is a mobile, athletic guy. I only think he's going to get better. He really wants to do well. He's a really motivated guy. He's a very smart guy. He's very determined. I think he wants to be an important cog in this football team, and he's only going to get better because he's going to get in better shape, and he's a really hardworking guy."

QB Joe Flacco

(on whether he was surprised by the score) "I don't know if surprised is a good word for it. I don't think anybody is going to envision this game is going to turn out the way it did today. But we played a full 60 minutes. I think our defense did a great job of creating turnovers and stopping those guys. I thought our offense did a great job of driving the ball the whole day, creating some room for Ray [Rice] and Ricky [Williams], creating a lot of space back there for me to feel really comfortable, and our guys worked to get open."

(on the new offensive line and LT Bryant McKinnie) "Those guys did a great job. I've been saying all week, I'm really confident in the way these guys are going to play. It's a great group of guys. [LT] Bryant [McKinnie] is the only guy who hasn't been there, so the fact that they hadn't played together, I wasn't worried about that, and I know Bryant is a really good left tackle. So why worry about it anyway? I thought those guys did a great job, I felt comfortable back there all day. I think they might have sacked me one time, but I was really untouched."

(on how it felt to complete big passes early in the game) "It definitely gets you going. You're ready to go right out of the gates. But when you go down there on the first drive the way we did, it definitely boosts your confidence, even that much more, to continue to do it. First part of the second drive, we threw the ball a little bit, got some penalties called back, and our defense went right back out there and got us the ball. We scored another touchdown. To get a lead like that against these guys and to come out in the second half and start quick was huge for us today."

(on whether he can take responsibility for this win) "It's always a team win, when you play here in the NFL. No one guy has ever won an NFL game. This was a huge win for us against Pittsburgh today, but without us playing great in these next 15 games, it's not going to mean anything. So it means a lot right now, but we've got to go out there and do our job the rest of the season, starting next week. And I think we're ready to go do that."

(on whether it will be nice to no longer hear about not beating Ben Roethlisberger) "It doesn't matter. For me, I'm always playing against Troy Polamalu, [James] Harrison, [LaMarr] Woodley, all those guys. [Brett] Keisel, [Ryan] Clark, [Ike] Taylor, I'm playing against all those guys. If Ben [Roethlisberger] happens to be playing quarterback on the other side of the field, then he happens to be playing quarterback. We've beaten these guys before, and we'll beat them again. It's just another win; it's a great win for us."

(on whether the monkey is off his back) "I don't feel one, you guys may have taken it off for me. So you don't have to continue to bother me. I feel good about the win, just like I would every week."

(on whether this will quiet his critics) "I don't know, there's always going to be critics. Turn around, 10 weeks down the road, and something might happen, and okay, it's back again. Who knows? For the time being, maybe, but I doubt it will last too long."

(on his emotions about the first drive) "There wasn't too much going on because it was so quick. Run play, run play, touchdown. The big run happened, we came right back, they stopped us pretty good. Second down, Anquan [Boldin] gets pressed, throw it up to him, let him make a play, and that's what happened. It kind of happened all so quick. It was really exciting."

(on what his two tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta brought to the game) "They did a great job today. They went out there and played confident, and you can tell the difference in them, just last year to this game. That much more confidence they had, going out there and really expecting to get the job done. They really put a lot of pressure on the defense vertically, getting into the secondary and allowing me to hit those guys for a couple big ones."

(on being a leader and what did he learn about the team) "I don't know if I learned too much. I know the makeup of this team. We know we've got a bunch of tough guys in here that are going to go out there and give it their all to win a football game. And no matter the outcome, that's what we're going to do every week. That's the way we've been, that's the way we're going to continue to be, and I don't expect to learn anything different about us."

T Bryant McKinnie

(on taking his first snaps with the offensive line) "It was great, it felt good, I'm sure we made mistakes but those are correctable. We're going to try to get better each week."

(on playing Harrison) "That's good, I was pretty much doing my job. He's a great competitor, he never gives up. So I have to stay on my job and keep going."

(on his first taste of the Baltimore-Pittsburgh rivalry) "It's a pretty big rivalry. I heard about it as soon as I signed. People were telling me about it on Twitter all week long."

(on the move from Minnesota to Baltimore) "A lot was going through my head going into this game. I hadn't played in a game in over 8 months since January. So, my whole thing with everybody was just communication. We ended up communicating which helped me to do my assignment and the rest took care of itself."

CB Lardarius Webb

(on defensive pressure by front seven) "The D-line is one of the best in the NFL. They do it every week, all we have to do is cover our man, do our one-on-one thing, and we know they are going to get to the quarterback. Suggs, Haloti, Redding, all of them, we know they are going to get to the quarterback and they did a great job today."

(on physical difference in the secondary) "We just went out and played ball. With our get to D-line playing like they did today, it's going to be easy every week. When they get to the quarterback, it makes our jobs easier. We got a couple of interceptions today and we keep going from here."

(on how it feels to be part of a team record seven take-aways) "It feels great. It's just a privilege to be here. At the same time, this is just our first game. We are just getting started. There's a long season to go. Come tomorrow, we're just going to go back to work."

(on emotions of Pittsburgh versus Baltimore) "No emotions. Just a victory. We have a long season ahead of us, and this one win isn't going to get us into the playoffs. This one win isn't going to get us where we want to go. This is a great victory, we won, we can enjoy it for the rest of the night, but tomorrow we move on and get ready for next week."

LB Terrell Suggs

(on the first win of the season) "It isn't going to get more physical than that. We have the Jets coming in in a few weeks and Tennessee's a pretty physical team, but it just doesn't compare to a Ravens Steelers match-up. We can get that one under our belt and move on to the rest of the season."

(on this being a dominating win) "It was domination. You can say domination but it was a team thing. The team got all those turnovers. It was a great day for the city of Baltimore."

(on the offense scoring on their first possession) "When I saw that, I knew this was going to be special. The offense is doing their part- they're sustaining drives, taking time off the clock. When we saw that, we knew it was all on us."

(on playing with a lead) "It's a lot easier because you make them one-dimensional. Chuck [Pagano] was able to open up the playbook because our offense jumped on them so quick. And it was a great day."

(on emotions during pre-game) "We just knew it was going to be a gang fight. It was going to be a tough, physical match from start to finish. Even when we got up on them, they never quick. We just kept coming at each other. Our defense just kept making plays. We have two legends in the backfield, and we have a young player coming up in Haloti [Ngata]. We just really started playing and got into our flow."

(on 9/11 ceremony) "It was special. They tried to break us down as a country, but united we stand. I believe our president said it best, 'Men will be remembered by what they build, not by what they destroy.' All I think they did was make us a stronger country, a better country."

WR Anquan Boldin

(on the win against the Steelers) "I think it was a great win for this organization. We've had our struggles with the Pittsburgh Steelers. We lost two to them last year- one of them was here. I think it was just a great overall team victory. The defense played their butts off. The offensive line dominated. Ray [Rice] ran the ball well. Joe [Flacco] seemed to be precise with all his passes. It was a great team victory."

(on his touchdown) "I was a just a nine-route. It was one-on-one coverage on the outside and Joe [Flacco] put the ball where I could make a play on it."

(on the benefits of a balanced offense) "Whenever you're running the ball effectively you're going to have to put eight guys in the box. And when you put eight guys in the box, you're going to get one-on-one coverage. That's something that we, as receivers, look forward to."

(overall thoughts on the day) "It was a great team victory. This is a game we've been waiting for since last season. We left last season with a bitter taste in our mouths and that was a motivation for us. You still have to give them [Steelers] credit. They're the AFC North Champions, and until we dethrone them, they still are, so we'll see until then."

(on winning opening day) "This is just a start. We wanted to come out and make a statement, but we think we can only get better from here."

(on the 9/11 ceremony) "It was a nice tribute. There were a lot of people that lost their lives. I think there's a lot of people in this locker room whose lives were affected one way or another."

(on starting fast) "That's something that we stressed all week. Coming out, starting fast, and putting points on the board. We didn't want to come out and be slack or go three-and-out. We wanted to make a statement."

DT Haloti Ngata

(on his performance) "This is definitely the game I wanted to have. Hopefully, I can get better and better throughout the year. I need to create more pressure on the quarterback. I want to keep on getting better and better. I don't want to be known as just a regular 'stop-the-run' guy. I just want to keep on making more plays. It's great that I'm around a lot of greatness, with Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, and Terrell Suggs."

(on beating the Steelers handily) "We did it before. My rookie year we did it twice, so I knew it was possible. We felt really good throughout this week. It was great that our offense could keep it rolling, and we could get off the field. It was amazing- it was a great team win."

(on the Steelers' third quarter meltdown) "I think that once we got that turnover and Ed Dickson got the touchdown, it just kept on rolling from there. I think we kind of gave them a knock-out hit there, and they knew that they would have to do a lot to catch up. Our offense was able to keep running the ball and driving on them and that kept them on the field. It was a good thing to see."

(on the priority of the pass-rush) "The guys up front on our defense put a lot of pressure on themselves to create more turnovers and get to the quarterback. You could see that Terrell Suggs was there, [Pernell] McPhee was there, Cory Redding was there. We put it on ourselves to make sure we get pressure on the quarterback."

(on his third quarter forced fumble) "They just let me go, and I was able to get back there pretty quick. I was able to get there while they were handing off the ball. I was able to hit [Rashard] Mendenhall and force the fumble and recover the ball. Ray [Lewis] was telling me three guys went to him and let me go but he's just mad that I made that play."

(on playing lighter this year) "I'm on the field a lot more. I felt good this first game. I was able to stay with good stamina throughout the whole game and even ran down the field and made some tackles."

(on Chuck Pagano's scheme) "It's different. I think you can see it's more aggressive. He makes good calls, and he knew really well what Pittsburgh was trying to do. It was great for our DBs to keep their receivers in front of them and not let them make big plays."

(on playing 60 minutes) "That's what we kind of said during halftime. We're a different team this year. It's the 2011 Ravens, and we knew that we could keep the pedal down on them. Once we started making plays in the second half, we got it done."

S Ed Reed

(on the win) "Hats off to those guys. They're still a great team, and we know they'll bounce back from it, like I told those guys. It's a new season. This is not about what's been happening in the past. We know about it. But it was about us executing, who's going to execute better, and we were fortunate enough to do that."

(on if it feels better because it's the Steelers) "No, this is just game one. It's a long season, this is the NFL. One game doesn't knock anybody out of the playoffs. We've seen that year in and year out. Those guys improve at the latter part of the season always. We know for a fact Pittsburgh will bounce back. So it just was game one, we had to get Game 1, and now we're going to enjoy it for a couple hours and [go on]."

(on if he could've had a better birthday present) "That was it right there – just win. Just winning was enough for me. That was the best present I could have. It's just a blessing to be playing a child's game at this point of my career, my life, you know, and just moving forward to have a win and to get some interceptions along the way as this defense got better today. It speaks volumes for the guys I'm [with]."

(on if the defense felt as dominant as it looked) "No, actually we didn't. We had a couple mentals (errors) out there. Me, myself had a couple mentals. We knew we still have room for improvement. They got a couple plays, so we've got some stuff we can correct. There's always stuff you can correct. We're just happy to get the W."

(on what it meant to see the offense start so fast) "We had to go out and do our job. That was the biggest thing is that we, as a defense, continue to stay focused and do our job. We knew the offense was going to come around either now or the latter end in the game. It doesn't matter what they were doing. We've got to do our job also, and know that our offense would do theirs."

(on Bryant McKinnie's performance) "I knew it was going to be everything I saw in college. I've been knowing Bryant for a long time, and I'm not saying Minnesota made a mistake with that, but as soon as he came on the block, and I knew we needed a tackle [or] offensive lineman, and [they] asked me, I told them 'go get him.' Without hesitation. [People] are saying 'he's out of weight, he's out shape,' and his weight was a problem. I was like, 'Nah man, I'll run with him if I have to,' just like I did. Bryant's a hard worker, he's a professional. After practice, he runs on his own. He gets on the treadmill and works constantly. So I knew for a fact that he was going to be an asset to this organization and a great player for our team."

RB Ray Rice

(on what he attributes being a step ahead of Pittsburgh's linebackers today) "Well, the thing is, in an outside zone scheme, the linebackers are playing you. So, early in the game, trust your speed. Trust your speed. Later in the game, you're going to get that cutback, and I just tried to play the game with them. Keep them honest; they're a great group of linebackers, and I know they're going to make adjustments for when we see them again. But, the thing is, when you're playing the Pittsburgh Steelers, it's not a lot of trick to it. It's execution, and I'm not going to say the word physical anymore, because look at the scar on my neck. It's a physical game, so. It's just one of those situations where it's all about execution."

(on how get received the cut on his neck) "You know what, I wish I could tell you. *(laughter) *That's part of the war wounds."

(on what the motivation was to win today and how it feels to get it done) "You know what, for me not to say that the motivation was to come back out here and… We know it's Week One, it's not the playoffs, but that playoff taste [from last year], now that's over. Now the playoff taste is through. They beat us in the playoffs, alright. They're not the Super Bowl champs. The reigning champ is the Green Bay Packers, so now it's time. We've got that burden off our shoulders, we're one up on them right now, and that's how we've got to approach this. It's always great to get that burden off your shoulders, because if they ever came in here and knocked us off, then you know what, they're up two. It's always a slugfest with them, and Lord knows what's going to happen later in the year. But, right now, we're 1-0, and looking forward to Tennessee next week."

RB Ray Lewis

(on if he was shocked by the final score) "Shocked? How would you be shocked? You line up, they blow the whistle, you play football. Whatever happens, happens. It's just a win for us. That takes us to 1-0 in the division, 1-0 in the AFC North, and that's the way we approached it. That is what we were telling the guys; all the hype behind the game, of course. We are fierce rivals, and the games go back and forth. It's a new year. 2010 and all the other years are way behind us. It's a new year, 2011. New pieces, new faces, and I'm just really proud of the way we came out and played today."

(on how they put together such a dominating performance) "I just think it was the makeup of… We have the right veterans in a lot of different places. I think personnel-wise, Ozzie [Newsome] and them have done a great job bringing in the right people. You look at how well our offense ran the ball today; Ray [Rice] ran the ball, but you have to give a lot of credit to our offensive line and a lot of pieces that we put together there. And then you look on the defense, the veterans and your stars made the plays, but there are so many guys who came in and made plays as well. So, I mean, it's a great makeup we have right now."

(on what he said at halftime) "The thing that I corrected everybody… Everybody was saying, 'We've been here before.' And I was like, 'We haven't been here before, because 2010 is 2010, and 2011 is a whole new year.' If you understand it that way, then you understand that this is a new team. Some people never went through the Pittsburgh rivalry, so why put them through that, you know, something that we went through [last year]. We're not talking about the Super Bowl champs, we're talking about the runner-up in the Super Bowl. So for us, the bottom-line was just to come out and be who we are. And that's the 2011 Ravens."

(on how they were able to get it done today) "Once you sit down and look at film, you do really see what all happens. I think the No. 1 thing for us is that if you're watching each guy individually, who made the plays, they beat their man one-on-one. There is no secret to that. When you line up and you play football, there is somebody to block you, and somebody for you to get around. I think a lot of players made a lot of plays today."

C Matt Birk

(on today's win) "It feels good. When you win, you feel good. We're playing at our place, certainly playing a division rival, and a very good team. Obviously the score is not indicative of the type of team they are. We just started real fast and were able to get on them rather quickly, which was fortunate for us."

(on having so much success at home) "Well, you've got to do that. It's hard to go on the road, so when you're at home, we use it to our advantage. We've got great fans. You know, communication is so key on offense; when you get up on teams in your building and get the crowd into it, get them loud for your defense, it makes the other offense's job pretty difficult. So, we've just got great fans and great defense, and I guess that's how we've had so much success."

(on the offensive line playing in their first game fully intact) "It obviously felt good, but it's not about the O-line, or the quarterback, or the receiver of anybody. It's not even about the offense. It's about the team, and we'll watch film tomorrow and see what kinds of things we need to work on. That's just what we're going to do. We're not going to go in there and pat ourselves on the back; it's one game, and there is a long way to go. It's all about the team."

(on how his knee is feeling) "Good. It feels great. Every time you win you feel a lot better than when you lose."

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