Postgame Transcript - Week 12 vs. 49ers


Head Coach John Harbaugh

(opening statement) "First of all, it was a great win for the Ravens. To the 49ers, I just can't say it enough. The job that he's done building that football team. That's a good football team. When you try to figure out a way to play those guys and beat those guys the way they're built, is pretty hard. When you play the field position game and never give them an opportunity to play on a short field. If you don't do that, and you don't make a mistake, you have a chance to beat the 49ers, and that's about it. Because if you maeka a mistake, they'll capitalize on it. The great drive they had at the start of the second half got them right back in there. I'm just proud of him. I'm just impressed with that team. I think, to be able to beat a team like that in a situation like this, it says a lot about our guys. Our players played really well. They played disciplined, physical football. I thought the running game, in terms of smashing it up in there, and then converting on third downs. That was the key to the game on offense. We had no sacks, and Joe [Flacco] converted on third down. Ray [Rice], the offensive line and Ricky [Williams] just pushed the ball forward and gave us a chance on third and reasonable. I thought the defense controlled the run about as well as you can and then had the sacks. I think the pressure was relentless. Alex Smith is almost impossible to get down. You guys saw that. He gets out of trouble really well. And, our guys did a pretty good job of managing that, even though you saw he made a couple of plays. And then the playcallers – I thought all of our coaches, coaching our guys and emphasizing fundamental football. I thought the tip sheets were excellent for a short week. They did a great job with our guys. I thought Cam [Cameron] called a winning gameplan. You talk about discipline and sticking to the plan and staying patient when he had to against his team. I think Cam Cameron deserves a lot of credit, and Chuck Pagano deserves a lot of credit for doing the same. He stayed patient. He called the pressure when he needed to call the pressure. He called coverage at the right time to not give them the opportunity for a big play. I thought our players played really well. I could name 46 guys."

(on Dennis Pitta's performance on third down) "Dennis has just been special. When they're playing man coverage, he got across the safety space. That's not easy to do. To jam that route back inside, and Joe [Flacco] found him, that was really impressive. Just all of the third down plays. It wasn't just Dennis. It was Ray [Rice] on a couple of third downs. I think Anquan [Boldin] had some big catches in there. Ed [Dickson] had some big plays in there. I'm forgetting one or two. How about Lee Evans? When he catches the ball and runs basically through a guy to get the first down. He was a yard or two short. That was a huge play for us."

(on the emotions of the Harbaugh family) "What's been really exhausting has been the short week. Just running across the field, I felt really humble. Really humble, just thankful. It's Thanksgiving, and we told our guys there is so much to be thankful for. God has given us a lot to be thankful for, but the main thing he gives us is each other. He gives us our relationships. Running across the field to my brother – he's my best friend, along with Mom and Dad and my wife. If you put yourself in his shoes, you don't put yourself in many other coaches' shoes, but you can put yourself in your brother's shoes – I'm really proud of him."

(on putting himself in his parent's shoes, being caught in the middle) "I think they'll be happy for us, but they'll be way more disappointed for all the 49ers players and coaches. I'm sure that's where they are right now, and that's where they should be."

(on how proud his parents are) "Yes, Dad and Mom. My mom doesn't get enough credit, either. Let's talk about Jackie a little bit. She's the competitor in the family. They should be proud. But you know what, this is about all families, and we didn't do anything different than any other family. Everybody sitting in here has brothers and sisters, and those stories that you heard, that you probably don't want to hear again, are the same stories that you had when you were growing up with your brothers, the people that are close to you, your cousins or whomever. To me, it's America. It's a great country. To have a chance to be a part of something like this, I'm thankful to the Ravens, thankful to Steve Bisciotti. This is what the stuff is all about, and it's pretty exciting to be a part of it."

(on if he's relieved that the Harbaugh vs. Harbaugh game is over) "It's just a big win for us. It's an opportunity going forward. It positions us really well. Now we have to conquer a game in Cleveland, one that's been plaguing us all year. You've all written about it extensively. It's a big challenge we have, but we have an opportunity now to get healthy, and that's what we have to take advantage of in the next couple of days."

(on if it is too early to talk about homefield advantage during the playoffs) "Well, it's probably too early, because you have five games left. But it's December football, and that's when you start thinking about things like that. But the only thing we need to be focused on is getting healthy, first of all, and the Cleveland Browns. That's something we've struggled on the road, and we have to go conquer that. That's going to be a really tough task. I know all of our guys are going to focus on that and take care of first things first."

(on Cory Redding's performance) "I thought Cory was special. Cory's probably the guy to talk about, but I'll also talk about Haloti [Ngata], talk about [Terrence] Cody, talk about the [defensive] front, [Brandon] McKinney. Those guys had a big challenge because this is a scheme, a very physical front, it's a scheme-run game, and they give you every kind of scheme you can get. Our guys played fundamental, defensive line play, really well, and that's what controlled the running game."

(on where the performance of the defense stacks up) "Well, it's the last one, so it's the best one. Because you're only as good as you last one or your next one. I'm really proud of the defense. Chuck Pagano, Clarence Brooks, Ted Monachino, Dean Pees, Roy Anderson, Teryl Austin, and every player. I'm really proud of those guys, just so proud of those guys."

QB Joe Flacco

(on the TD pass) "Dennis did a great job of really taking a great angle when he came across that [area].

(on if he felt extra sharp on third down) "When you have that kind of game plan, your line being so efficient on third downs, you have to come through. We had a lot of guys come through for us and just made some big plays in those situations."

(on how their defense played) "I think they said in there that we had nine sacks. It wasn't even because we were bringing a lot of pressure and stuff like that. We had a four-man rush and [had ]guys just beating their guys. It's good to see when you're on the sideline and guys can put pressure on the opposing quarterback."

(on if the team's in a position they want to be in) "Definitely. I mean, obviously we think we could be a little better, but for how the season's gone, we feel great about it, and we've got to just continue to do it. When we come back, we're playing Cleveland on the road. They're a good football team."

(on if the Ravens' long third-quarter drive wore down SF) "I'm sure; they've done a really good job of …limiting other team's possessions. They did it today, kind of, too. We only had three possessions in the second half, and when you have that, you have to be efficient."

(on how important getting a home playoff game is to the team) "That would be pretty cool, I think. Obviously, playing here, we're pretty tough to beat just because coming here, we've got a great atmosphere the fans created. We haven't had one since I've been here. It would really be beneficial to get one."

(on the team wanting to win this for Coach Harbaugh)"This is a big football game for our team. So, as it was real big for those guys, for John and [Jim Harbaugh], I'm sure, This was just a real big game for our football team, and we all felt that John obviously wanted to win this game. Any time you're really friendly with somebody, it makes a rivalry that much better and to go out there and play like we did, obviously felt great for us."

(on the new Fu Manchu look he's sporting) "Dennis Pitta actually has it, too, if you notice. Just trying to get everybody to do it, trying to get everybody to get on the bandwagon here on our offense. It's kind of tough convincing everybody. A lot of great teams; they always have their signature thing that they go through a season with, and we're just trying to create one."

WR Torrey Smith

(on getting a win for Coach Harbaugh) "It was a big one. We definitely wanted to pull this one out for him. It was a big game for us in general, but the fact that he is getting to go against his brother on Thanksgiving, it was a special day, and we are thankful to come out on top."

(on how big it was to convert third downs in the second half) "It was definitely big. That's the goal in the game – try to control the clock and convert. That's what good offenses do, especially in clutch times like that. When the game was going the way it was, it felt like whoever scored was going to win. For us to get the lead and maintain the lead by controlling the clock, it was big."

(on moving the ball on the 49ers' defense) "Just execute. Our offensive line did a great job today, our running backs as well. Anytime those guys are pounding the ball up front, and our running backs are running the way we are, it's tough against anyone, but we were able to move the chains."

(on TE Dennis Pitta's performance and what he does for the offense) "It helps us out a lot. We kind of complement each other. The more safety help they have to put on our outside guys, the more it opens up things in the middle for our tight ends. Dennis is pretty much like a receiver. He is smooth, he runs great routes, and he is smart. We are lucky to have him and Ed [Dickson]. Those guys are weapons for us."

**LB Terrell Suggs

(on whether the game plan was to get at Alex Smith)** "Well that's always the game plan, to get at the quarterback. But I think the number one game plan was to win the Harbaugh bowl. Coach tried to downplay it, he tried to play like, you know this is not me versus my brother. This is the Ravens versus the 49ers. And let's get the win. And it is what it is. But you know it was really important that we as a team we went out there and we really wanted to win it for him."

(on who had the idea to dump Gatorade on Coach Harbaugh) "The whole team. Definitely. we were going to win the game for him and then we were going to drown him."

(on the importance of home field advantage in the playoffs) "That's key. You know, when you get home field advantage you have a good chance of making it to the big dance. I think we have the best fans in the world. We win all of our home games and that's because it's loud and because our fans give us the energy, and we want to play well for them so home field advantage is key. We haven't had a home playoff game since coach has been here; we just want to take it one game at a time, but that's definitely an overall goal, win the division get it at home field."

(on whether they feel like they have a chance of getting home field advantage) "No it's a long season, and you all know November and December football is tricky, and you can't afford to give any away. You have to win the games you're supposed to win, and you know try to steal the o0nes that you aren't. We're going to enjoy this win tonight and then after the long weekend we're going to come back and get ready for Cleveland. So November and December football is very important, and we're just going to focus on the next point."

(on whether the team is sharpening their focus) "We've always had focus. Sometimes the game or the game plan gets away from us and we've given away a few games. So, as long as we always keep the game plan in our grasp and do what we do best, play Ravens football, feed every defense a lot of rice, and I think we've got a good chance of making a good run at this thing. But when we get away from ourselves that's when you never know what's going to happen."

(on what made them so successful at slowing down Frank Gore) "I think it was definitely our offense keeping the ball so long and sustaining drives and scoring points. Because then you've got to abort the run and throw the ball a little bit more. So, I think a lot of that is credited to our offense having the time of possession and field position. So we have to give our offense their due. We really wanted to make them one-dimensional. That was the game plan."

(on being a part of such a strong defensive performance) "I could have sworn we did something similar to this in '06 to another team. I mean the best defensive performance is the one where there's confetti falling on our face. So until then, all of these are just as good as the last."

(on why they were able to get so many sacks) "As a team? One, the scheme by Chuck Pagano. Our coaches, defensive line coach Clarence Brook and my position coach, Ted Monachino, they've been doing a lot of things getting all of us loose. How can we describe the play of Paul Kruger and Pernell McPhee? Haloti had a monster night. Cory Redding had a monster night tonight. It was a collective effort. When teams are doing it together they become scary. The Giants, the Vikings, Dallas those teams are getting a lot of sacks because a lot of guys are doing it not just one guy. So when you've got a unit that's playing in sync with each other, that's when you get a lot of sacks, they start to become contagious."

(on him getting three sacks after going through a low period) "It has been a little while but it's the NFL. I wish, I would love to line up every day and get three sacks, I would love that. But it's the NFL, It's not going to happen like that. Some teams are going to scheme and key me. But the number one thing is that we win. I got down on myself I was hard on myself like, 'Why ain't I getting them? Why ain't I getting them?' But there's a lot of guys with a lot of sacks with a team that's not very good and a team that doesn't have a chance with the playoffs. But, here I am. I have some sacks, and my team is 8-3, and we're going on a playoff run. So, I'm very fortunate and there's a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving."

(on what he said in his interview with NFL Network) "Yeah, one I had to represent Baltimore, Baltimore Charm City, the other is Ball So Hard University. We were just having fun. It was just fun. I was very fortunate that they asked me to come on, and I just let them know that we put on a show tonight. Despite all the flack you all have been giving us, we're still going to make a run for it."

(on Joe Flacco's new facial hair) "As long as we win. He can keep it as long as we win. But I think the moment we start not being ourselves that's got to go. He's the quarterback, he has to have swag. You don't see that kid from, you know, the kid from up north. You don't see him with one of those."

(on how Albert McClellan and Brendon Ayanbadejo looked playing for Ray Lewis today) "They looked good. We didn't give them 100-yards rushing. They looked really good. They didn't give up any plays. They made some plays. They looked good."

DT Haloti Ngata

(on getting nine sacks on the 49ers defense) "It's huge. I think we understand that up front, we needed to have a huge game, just because we are missing Ray Lewis, and we are kind of light on the back. Up front, we definitely had to have a big game, and I think we knew that. We did a great job today."

(on if the defensive line got into a rhythm) "Definitely. I think we could feel that, whoever we are going against, we probably had some good games against certain guys, and we started matching up against those guys and got a good feel. It was great across the whole front, and it's a great feeling."

(on taking 49ers RB Frank Gore out of the game) "Yeah, we had to. I think, up front, we knew that we had to stop the run early, especially because we knew if Frank Gore gets going, he is going to keep on going. He is a great running back, and I am just happy we got him stopped early and were able to get to the quarterback."

(on the defense stepping up without Ray Lewis) "Definitely. That's just a compliment to [Jameel] McClain, really. He did a great job of communicating with the guys in the front and the back. He did a great job of filling gaps too. It's great that Jameel could step up like that and if Ray Lewis ever steps out like that again, we know what we're going to get out of McClain."

DT Cory Redding

(on it being a great night) "What a night. It was awesome, man. We played great team football tonight. And we've got a lot of things on the line here, and we all know what we're fighting for. We had a lot of injuries, but didn't nobody blink. And we just came out here tonight and just played great team football to get this win for the city of Baltimore, our coach, John Harbaugh, and the rest of our team."

(on effectively stopping the 49ers' running game tonight) "That's first-and-foremost. First-and-foremost, before we do anything, is we talk about stopping the run. If you want to be a great defense, you've got to stop the run. And you know, Chuck [Pagano] dialed up some great defenses. We've been on these guys – even though it's been a short week – we dialed in on them real good about what they do. It's a lot of window dressing – they move this, that and the other – but once they get in the final formation, we know where the ball's going to go. And guys stepped up, we stayed in our gaps, we stayed square, and we were pushing their line. We had to dominate their line in order for us to win this game tonight, and that's what we did."

(on the team racking up so many sacks tonight)"It's Thanksgiving man, there's a lot of turkey. We had to go out there and eat. And that's the beauty of stopping the run; when you do that, you can pin your ears back and rush the passer. And we've got a lot of guys who are real great at rushing the passer; Haloti [Ngata] and [Terrell] Suggs, [Pernell McPhee], myself, [Paul Kruger], the list goes on. We've got guys that can just get out there and just get after the ball, and that's what we did tonight. The energy was just unbelievable, what we went out there and did tonight. We just got to feed on that, grow, and get ready for this division game next week in Cleveland."

CB Lardarius Webb

(on the pass defense tonight) "The front seven was just playing amazing. I think they had like eight sacks? (Reporter: Nine) Nine sacks. That explains it all. The front seven was working, making our job easy. So, hey, if the front seven keeps playing the way they played, then you'll see more games like this."

(on how much easier it is for the guys in the defensive backfield when the front seven plays that way) "It's very easy, because they have to get the ball out right now. They can't let their routes develop, because they are so quick. So, if we can just hold our technique long enough, our guys are going to get there."

(on the defense playing with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder) "We play our butts [off] every week. The only thing that we changed, we just wanted to get some turnovers in the back end – not the front seven – we want some interceptions. And we're just trying our best to get more than one."

(on his interception play) "I mean, it was simple. He tried to go deep – it was 17 [Braylon Edwards] – they tried to big boy me, you know, put a tall guy [against me]. And I played it well, but he had to get the ball out right then, so it made it easy on me."

TE Dennis Pitta

(on his TD catch) "It's one of those things – I had to cut across the safety's face and leverage him and give Joe [Flacco] a chance to throw me the ball. He put it on my chest perfectly, I shielded the safety and made the catch. What a pivotal play for us in that game, and it helped us gain the momentum and start to pull away in the fourth quarter."

(on scoring his first NFL TD) "It was fun, hopefully, there's more to come. But, what a big play in that game, and it was fun to have it there."

(on how big of a win this was) "It's huge. Obviously, it meant a lot to our head coach. We're excited to get a win for him. It meant a lot to this team and for our season and where we want to go. We enter December with all the opportunity in front of us, and it's really in our hands."

C Matt Birk

(on the offensive line not allowing a sack) "I didn't even know that. They're a great defense, first of all, a great defense. We just battled out there. And, giving up no sacks speaks as much as guys getting open and Joe [Flacco] getting rid of the ball quickly as much as it does to the protection. And the play-calling as well. We had a chance to stay balanced and ran the ball the whole game and didn't turn the ball over. That's probably the biggest part of all. We didn't give our defense any short fields. It's hard to go a long way against our defense."

(on the hype of "The Harbaugh Bowl") "I'm sure for the coaches, it was a unique situation, one that was really hard to prepare for with a lot of mixed emotions. But, for those two guys, they're probably glad it's over, they can breathe a sigh of relief, and now we can move on. Tonight just solidified that they're two great coaches with two pretty good football teams."

(on his plans for the next few days) "I'm going to be with my family, give thanks, celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow and get as much turkey in my system. If everything goes perfect, I'll catch a nap on the couch in the afternoon. That's about as good as it gets."

RB Ray Rice

(on his thoughts on the running game today)"I knew what kind of day it was going to be. If you look at the numbers, they're not going to be eye-popping, but, time of possession? Huge. They are a great defense, the best defense we've seen all year. We knew that going into this game. We've got similar personalities and similar style of play. But, time of possession was the key. I'm not going to sit up here and worry about the numbers because the way we won is more important than the numbers we put up."

(on the goal line situation) "The only that got me a little on edge was when we couldn't get it in from the one. It was just a bum play. We didn't get it done, and that's one thing they can hang their hats on."

(on if it is it tough to run wide on a fast defense)"No, we've done it. We did it last week against Cincinnati. It was just poor execution. Their front is different. They are a great defense, but I thought we had it. That's going to itch us for next week. We want to get down to the one and put a touchdown on the board. This game is totally different if we get a touchdown there. I'm not saying that we were going to blow them out, but if we score seven on that drive right down there, trust me, the game is totally different."

LB Jameel McClain

(on where the defensive line was today ) "Everywhere man. That's the way we're supposed to play. That's exactly what we did. Everybody got after it and played their assignments. When it was time to pin their ears back, they did a great job of getting after the quarterback."

(on beating two good teams in five days) "I really haven't had a chance to reflect. I will get a chance to go through that all tomorrow. It's great man, but what's better is getting this time off."

(on beating those two teams with Ray Lewis) "Exactly. We all can play ball, and that's what we're showing. Through this time off, we get Ray back and a lot of people have seen the growth in the linebackers, and have seen that we can step it up too. Now that we get Ray and Dannell [Ellerbe] back, it's going to get dangerous."

(on getting the "hay in the barn" [finishing the game] after a game like this) "It feels good. I am just looking into the crowd, looking at all the smiles. So, it's a great feeling to finish it off, and for the defense to play the way that we played. Like you said man, it was a great performance by the defense, but we have to give the offensive line and the offense a lot of credit."

(on Joe Flacco) "Joe Flacco for President, and the offensive line is Vice President."

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