Postgame Transcript - Week 12 vs Buccaneers


Head Coach John Harbaugh

(opening statement) "Obviously, congratulations to our team. It was a very important victory. It was a win that we needed to get us to December to compete for the things we hope to compete for. Obviously, we have a pretty big game coming up next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers, so we're going to start getting ready for that. Injury-wise, we have Dawan Landry, who got dinged. We'll just have to see how that goes. We'll just have to see how far that goes as far as concussion-type issues. Le'Ron [McClain] had an ankle [injury], so we'll see how that shakes out. Michael Oher has what I'd characterize as a sprained knee right now. We'll just have to see how that stuff looks.

"I thought Tampa Bay played very well. They showed a lot of poise for a young team. It's interesting when you look at their football team. For a young team, they have a lot of poise and they don't rattle easily. Josh Freeman's scrambles – I thought that was the biggest part of their offense, scrambles and check-downs. He did a nice job of scrambling; he got some yards. The biggest pass play, I think, they had was a check-down to the tight end over there who was in protection. So, he does a good job keeping track of where everything is at and making some plays that way. I thought our offense closed it out in the final drive. That was good to see. Those first downs were big. Not putting our defense back on the field – at the end of the game in that situation – was really important. I was disappointed in the fact that we didn't close them out earlier. I think there were some plays where we had an opportunity to make, but we didn't quite make. If you look at the screen pass – on the block in the back – it was very disappointing, obviously. We had a chance to bury them –

and then with the interception – it was so close, but we didn't quite pull it down. Those would have been plays where we could have really separated ourselves in the third quarter. We had some opportunities to separate from them in the third quarter, which we didn't quite take advantage of. And I think that's the biggest thing I'm disappointed in."

(on if it was designed for WR Derrick Mason to get a lot of looks today) "That's by coincidence. It's just the way they covered and the way they covered him. The way the progression read takes you to a certain receiver – that's what it was. It wasn't anything else. You guys can have fun with some stories, I guess, but I didn't think about that until you mentioned it. It's just the way it worked out."

(on if injuries began to thin out the availability of players) "I don't think we really got to the point where we were thinned. If we would have lost another guy on the offensive line, we would have been at the edge. That's what you'd hope for. You're built to have guys go in and play, and play well. Cary Williams had to take some snaps for Josh [Wilson] at one point. I don't know what else we had. We also had to adjust for the fact that we didn't have a fullback. We didn't have a regular personnel fullback, so the two tight ends took over."

(on RB Carnell Williams) "I think there was one run where he kind of got loose on us there. I don't know if he got 10 or 12 or 15 [yards], or whatever he got, but he's good. The key thing with him is not letting him get started. I think we did a nice job of not letting him get started. We thought maybe we could strip some balls out of there, but he did a good job of protecting them."

(on the plays that got called back) "The overturned challenge and interception – There's nothing we could have done about that. Cory [Redding] tried to pull it in, but someone bumped into him and ended up knocking it loose. The block in the back [call] is one that you really don't want to have that mistake. There's no reason to do that. You just can't block a guy in the back. I don't care what the situation is. It was a tap. I don't even think it affected the play at all, but you just can't do it. You gave them the opportunity to make the call and they made it. The other challenge on their sideline – We never got a good look at it, on the catch they had. Really, we wanted a timeout more than anything, and I thought we'd take a shot. Instead of calling a timeout, we take a shot and see if we could get it overturned, but I don't think we had a real good angle on it."

(on if he is looking forward to the hype of Steelers week) "All the hype and all the talk? What are you talking about? What was the talk last time we played them? Was there talk or was there mutual respect exchanged? If I remember all the stories, that's exactly what I read, so let's not be changing history here. We respect them. Will something get said that's funny or challenging? Is it going to be a rough, tough, physical game? Are they going to come in here talking and our guys will be talking? It's that kind of game, but I think it's pretty well-documented that these two teams respect each other. That's been established, so I don't want it to be framed in a different way than it has been. Let's look at this year. Let's look at last year. And let's look at what's been said. And I think you'll find it's been pretty respectful. I don't ever remember it being anything else. Now, do we feel very passionate about this thing? Is it important to us? It always is. We've got two arch rivals going at it, so that's what's exciting about it. So, am I looking forward to it, to answer your question in a roundabout way? The answer is yes. We're looking forward to it."

(on if he watched the scoreboard today) "I didn't hear about the Steelers' game until right now, so that was one I missed when the scores came up, unfortunately. Other than that, I don't really know any other scores. I'll check them out here in a minute."

(on DT Arthur Jones getting his first NFL action) "I'm not sure how he played. There was nothing glaring that he did bad, so he must have played pretty well in there. I'm looking forward to seeing how he did because he's a guy we have really high hopes for."

(on if this victory will be celebrated less with the upcoming Steelers game) "Probably. They'll celebrate and enjoy this one. We deserve that. This is a big victory. This is a 7-3 NFC team coming in here that's been on a roll. You saw how well they played. That's the kind of football team they are, so I don't think you ever want to diminish this victory. It's one we really needed to get to where we're going, but it's a game that's bridged us into December. It gives us an opportunity to accomplish some things. Now, we're playing the biggest game of the year."

QB Joe Flacco

(on he and Derrick making big plays in the first half) "I don't know. I think whatever they were playing they were kind of giving him free access over there to do his thing and run his little stop-routes. That's what it really was. They were just leaving him open, and he was doing a good job of getting back to the ball and making plays."

(on Todd Heap's touchdown pass) "I threw it to him and the first thing I looked at was Ronde Barber starting to chase after him. I was just hoping that he would kind of clamp his elbow down and not fumble. I saw Ronde really burst. After that initial burst, Todd got the separation. That was really great to see him get in the end zone there and get us a touchdown "

(on whether he expects Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh to have talks with him this week) "I don't know. I'm not sure if I completely understand what you're asking. Do I expect them to have chats with me?"

(Reporter answers, "It seemed to work for Derrick last week.") "Oh I got you. That was not really a chat, it was more of him yelling at me (laughter). [He was saying], 'What were you doing, Joe, I was wide open?' I don't know if they want that. I don't know if that's a good matchup for them. Me vs. them? I think I might have to handle them a little bit. We'll see. Anquan and those guys are going to want the ball, so I'm sure they might think about that if you let them know."

(on whether anybody yelled at him on the sidelines today) "No. I'm sure guys were ticked off at times, but nobody came up and confronted me with it."

(on whether he was aware that he broke the Ravens' record of most passing touchdowns) "No. Vinny [Testaverde] didn't play here that long, so it's not really that much of an accomplishment. 52 touchdowns? Come on. Hopefully I can make that a little bit higher for somebody else to break in the future some time."

(on how big of a win this is going into December) "To set us up at 8-3… Pittsburgh is 8-3, too, and we beat them once. Now we've got to get ready for them to come in. But we have some tough games ahead of us. Every team we're playing in our schedule has the ability to play really well, and they are playing really well right now. We're going to have to come ready to play each week, and it starts with Pittsburgh."

(on whether he feels good about the offense) "I don't know. The second quarter was huge for us. Without that, we weren't able to accomplish too much. We ran the one screen and even if it doesn't go for a touchdown, it's a big play and it gets called back. I'm not sure about that play. We hurt ourselves at times. We made it a very slim margin. If we didn't hit on every single one of our plays, we didn't leave ourselves room to overcome things. If we miss one thing, the series was over. You'd like to be able to give yourself a little bit of room for error, and still be able to get those first downs. We just kind of put ourselves back a couple of times. We'll take a look at it. We definitely would like to play better, though."

(on whether the 4 sacks were coverage issues) "Yeah, a little bit. The sacks don't really ever bother me. You're going to get sacked. It happens, and you've got to do your best to overcome it. A couple of them happened in the second quarter, and we were still able to put some points on the board. We don't like to see them. I know a couple of them, I looked up at the stakes, and they were probably 10-yard losses. They're the ones that kind of hurt you. We'll take a look at those. I think they did a good job. They blocked a safety on one, but he came free. I don't know what happened in the other ones, so we'll see. They did a good job down field making me hold the ball and then getting to me."

(on what gives the team an extra push at home) "I don't know if we have an extra push or not. It definitely helps when we have our fans and Ray Lewis coming out of the tunnel and all that going on. We feel like we play pretty well everywhere we are. It just so happens that we have a really good home record right now. I can tell you that I really enjoy playing here. It's a great place to play. It's a great stadium to play in, and it's always a lot of fun."

(on whether this game felt as close as the score was) "I felt like we were in control. We were never really threatened until the end of the game there. That's the way it is. You never know when you're going to have to go out there and put together a drive. We got the ball back with three minutes left, and they still had two timeouts and the two-minute warning. We had to do a good job there and put the game away because they had just gone down and scored a touchdown. You never know what's going to happen when you give a team the ball at the end of the game. Our offensive line did a great job. Ray [Rice] did a great job on that second down, making a catch. We were able to put the game away, so that was definitely good."

TE Todd Heap

(on his long touchdown catch and run) "You're never expecting to be that wide open, but Joe saw the same thing I did. We've run that run play a few times and with the play-action, the safety kind of bit up, the linebackers, everybody was flat-footed, and Joe saw the same thing I did. I think his eyes got as wide as mine did. It was a good play, and we needed the touchdown at that point."

(on possibly getting caught) "You don't want to get caught in that situation. Obviously, I think the biggest thing would be from the teammates. Other than that, I felt like I had a pretty good run at it, so I didn't feel like I was going to get caught. I was expecting to get to the end zone once I saw nobody in front of me. I felt one guy coming from behind me, but I didn't feel like he was gaining too quickly."

(on how long they'll enjoy this before thinking about the Steelers) "About when we're done talking to you. In the NFL, you've got to enjoy wins. I think, our locker room, the groups of guys we have, that we really appreciate every single one that we get. But at the same time, we know what's in front of us. We know that when the Ravens play the Steelers in December, it usually has a lot of meaning and this game coming up definitely does, so it'll be a statement game for us. We know what's in front of us."

(on the loss of Oher and McClain) "I don't know if Michael's down or what his status is. I think the thing that changed our offense more than that was having Le'Ron McClain down. That takes away some of our personnel groups and our formations that we are used to running. It's tough without a fullback in our offense, but obviously Michael's a huge part of our offensive line. He's done a great job this year, and we missed him in the second half of this game."

(on how all of that affected him) 'For me, I'm doing a lot of the same things. I might have to switch up and play a little fullback sometimes. But with Dennis PItta in there, he was taking a lot of that role. I think the biggest thing was it changed up our personnel groups, and we don't run a lot of the same plays out of different personnel groups. There's some plays that are similar, but the offense just changes completely without our fullback in there."

(on how he feels physically) "I feel great. All season long, I've had just one nick here, and one nick there and been able to play through all of them. Right now, I feel really good, especially for this point in the season. Just knock on wood, [I want to] keep it going."

(on the offense's final drive) "I think, on the sideline, once they went down and scored, everyone kind of looked at each other, and we knew what we had to do. Once we got out in the huddle, we talked about all we need is two first downs. We knew we had to move the sticks twice, and the game was over. We didn't want to put our defense back out there, and I think they appreciated that as well, to take the pressure off of them. Ray Rice made a great catch. The offensive line, everybody blocked and did a great job when they knew it was coming. We'd like to have the game put away sooner, but to finish it with a drive like that, I think it said something about us."

LB Ray Lewis

(on whether he owes DE Cory Redding one for his dropped interception) "Owe him what? Owe him what? We're 8-3. I don't have time to talk about anything else. We're 8-3, bottom line, [and] it's good to come in and play the way we did. We weathered the storm all year, kind of talked about it all year, the way we really just put our backs against the wall. We went to a lot of opposing places, and for us to be sitting here – I've been around a long time – for us to be sitting here right now, 8-3, getting ready to fight for the division next week; that's a huge, huge thing for our ball club."

(on whether he loves the shape the team is in right now) "It doesn't get any better. You go around and in the entire National Football League, most importantly, you go around the AFC, and you see where we're sitting at right now. We're in the perfect position. We control our own destiny."

(on what the key was to today's win) "Just playing our game. We knew they were a very young ball club, we knew they were going to come out and fight. And I think overall, defensively, we kept the ball in front of us, we shut down their run game. I just think overall we played a good, team game today."

(on the mentality that there's no looking back and no looking ahead at this point) "You can't, you can't. You know, last night coach [Harbaugh] spoke about it, 'When we come back in this locker room, you will feel the best ever if we come back in here 8-3.' And we're 8-3 right now. And I tell you, I've been around so long, I'm telling you, it's a beautiful thing to be sitting here right now and be playing for the division next week, at home. The season just doesn't get any better than that. And once again, I've got to keep saying it; for us to be the position we're in, as healthy as we are right now [is great]. You know, we get people back, up-and-down, you saw [Le'Ron] McClain and a couple guys went down, but now you see those guys walk by in the locker room. It's just an exciting time to be [a Raven]."

(on whether the 24-hour rule becomes the 12-hour rule with Pittsburgh up next) "No. 24-hour rule is the 24-hour rule, no matter who is on our schedule. And we understand, we don't play all the way until next Sunday night, so we do have a long time to sit and rest." And for the next three weeks [it's similar]; we had it this week where we had a 4:15 [p.m. game], next week it's 8:15 [p.m. game], then the following week it's Monday night. So, you kind of have to take advantage of that, too. To really, really get more rest than you would normally get on a 1:00 [p.m] game."

CB Chris Carr

(on whether he got a little banged up at some point during the game) "I got hit when I wasn't looking on a punt return on defensive-stay when I was blocking. And I was just standing there, and some guy came up and wanted to cleat me, so hopefully he should get fined on that. That's unnecessary. *(laughter) *If there should be a fine, he should get fined for that. Unbelievable, I haven't gotten hit like that since college."

(on whether Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman helps the team to prepare for a similar QB in Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger) "Yeah, it's similar, but it's different, because when you're a corner, you're covering different receivers, and they're used to Ben scrambling around. They've been with him for a lot of years now, especially Hines Ward. And so, as the defensive secondary part of it, I think Josh Freeman's a young quarterback, so they're not used to him escaping all the time like he has been. So, it kind of prepares you, but they're different receivers we're going to face, and when they see Ben scrambling, they're going to know, 'Hey, do I need to come back for the ball, do I need to go deep?' And it makes it that much more difficult because they have that experience doing that. So, this week it was kind of similar, but not quite like Pittsburgh."

LB Jarret Johnson

(on what the team can take heading into Pittsburgh Week) "We did a lot of good things, but we also did a lot of bad things that we can learn from. I wish we hadn't given up that last drive, but then we put them away, and that's championship football. We made some stupid errors, I had a couple of bad errors today, but overall, we played four quarters and got the win. That's all you can ask for."

(on not letting a young team like Tampa Bay back in the game) "I think we got on them early, and I think the turnover we made where we held them to three, that was big. If you let a team like that score and build some momentum, they can be tough to put away. We went up 17-3 at the half and that's big. For a young team to come back, that's even tougher. I've got a lot of respect for them, they've got a lot of physical players."

(on facing QB Josh Freeman) "He was a lot bigger in person, a lot bigger than I thought he was going to be. But I was really impressed with him. He threw the ball well, but we got him off his mark, and he made some inaccurate throws at times. But overall, I was impressed with his control of the offense. He was really calm. He got out of some pressure, out of bad situations; he's a really good quarterback.

(on facing RBs Carnell Williams and LeGarrette Blount) "We always take it as a challenge. Every NFL team has some pretty high-profile backs. They may not be the highest profile, but this kid (Blount) really brings it. I was impressed with how hard he ran. Big kid, physical guy, and they can bring it. But we always take it as a personal challenge, especially last week giving up all those yards."

WR Derrick Mason

(on getting a lot of balls thrown his way today) "I think it just happens. You know, you read the defense and you go from there. We've got so many guys that are able to catch the ball that defenses just have to try to pick and choose what they're going to stop. And they were playing me one-on-one or either off-coverage a lot, so Joe [Flacco] looked my way today."

(on whether he expected that he would get that type of coverage going into the game today) "I mean, they've done some of that. Watching film, they've played a lot of off-coverage, a lot of cover 2. They weren't a big Press team. So, we knew they weren't going to get in our face, but they showed a little bit more off [coverage] than usual, but that's because, I believe, we have the ability to get down field. And we've thrown some deep passes against teams, so they wanted to try to take away the deep pass and they gave up a lot of things underneath. We just took what they gave us and kept moving."

(on whether you forget about this win quickly because the next opponent coming up is the Pittsburgh Steelers) "We're going to treat it like any other game. It's a game that we've got to win. Obviously, it's a divisional game and it's for the lead and it's the Steelers, but we've got to go in and prepare how we would prepare for any other team. And that's make sure we're executing the way we're supposed to in practice, and pick out the best game plan and try to beat a very good Pittsburgh Steelers team.

WR Anquan Boldin

(on the penalty call that negated RB Ray Rice's touchdown) "It wasn't a hold at all, it was a bogus call."

(on whether the officials told him why they made the call) "They didn't say. I mean there's no way you can explain to me that I was holding him."

(on whether the team will send in the tape and ask for an explanation) "I mean, honestly, that doesn't do anything. The game is over, it's said and done with, so that wouldn't do anything."

(on how the offense clicked today) "I think we played well at times. I think we had our drives where we put it together, everybody played well, and then there were certain times where we shot ourselves in the foot."

(on whether the defenders were paying more attention to him and bracketing him more than other receivers) "A little bit, a little bit."

(on whether that frustrates him) "No, I'm fine. As long as we're 8-3, that's all that matters."

DE Cory Redding

(on his play today) "I'm feeling more confident in this defense and what they are allowing me to do. I'm having so much fun playing Ravens' football. I can't wait to go out there and compete every week."

(on stopping Tampa Bay RB LeGarrette Blount) "The key was executing our game plan. We came in today with a solid game plan. We felt so strongly about it. And for the most part, we executed it. Being the good back that he is, he finds holes. He kind of squirted out on the one, so we got upset, and the defense took that personally. We came in at halftime, made our adjustments and went out there and played football."

(on his near interception) "Man, I had the ball in my hands right next to my body. One of my teammates came in, sure enough it was Ray Lewis, and stripped me of the ball. That's right Ray, you stripped the ball [laughs]. I had the interception, but it is all good. We won the game, and that's all that matters."

(on the offense running out the clock) "Just to see the clock go down, and our boys running the ball and getting first downs. Then Ray [Rice] with the spectacular catch, that's good, good, good possession by them. It was a good job working the clock down so that we could win."

RB Ray Rice

(on his fourth quarter reception) "The guy had my whole right arm. I just had to try to make a play. It was just a great throw by Joe [Flacco]. And when I look at the play I might be amazed at what I did. I mean, my whole right arm was gone. I could not funnel the ball because he had my whole right arm. I just wanted to make a play for my team. I wanted to put us in a position where the defense didn't have to go back out there. [The Ravens' defense] fought all day. I just wanted to give us a chance for us to finish it. I think we earned their trust a little bit today. We just want to build together as a team.

(on the Tampa Bay defense) "It was a tough game. That is a good team. Look at where they came from, look at their record, they have quality wins. That team is going to be a playoff-caliber team. You have got to win at home. You have got to protect your house. If you look at our games, we have a nice little stretch of games coming up."

(on the touchdown reception that was called back) "I never doubt my skills coming out of the backfield. The play was set up right. I didn't see the call [illegal block on Anquan Boldin], but the call was what it was. Bottom line is that you have to finish the play. When it's all said and done, it will still be on the highlight tape because it was a great play."

(on next week's game against Pittsburgh) "Next week is setting up to be a great showdown. It's 8-3 versus 8-3, with basically a lot at stake. It's hard to beat Pittsburgh twice, but they have to come here. We got them at there place, and we just want to get one here now."

(on the Pittsburgh game deciding the division) "That's looking a lot down the road. First task at hand is to beat them. If we beat them, we have another one after that on Monday night. Look at our schedule, we have a lot of things going on the next couple weeks. We've got to build up and go after them."

OLB Terrell Suggs

(on Ravens defensive play today) "I think we did an excellent job. We let a few plays get away, but they are professionals too. They watch film too. But, I think we did a really good job."

(on Buccaneers QB Josh Freeman) "He really loves the checkdown. He did a good job of getting the ball away right as I was getting there. But that's what good quarterbacks do. We said it all week, he was a [Steelers QB Ben] Roethlisberger type. He's a good young quarterback, but he faced off against a team of destiny today."

(on next week's game against the Steelers) "The Steelers are coming in. It's Pittsburgh, if we had to play the game right now, we could play it. They're our division rivals. Our teams are similar, and we just don't like them, but we respect them. It's going to be championship football."

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