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Postgame Transcript - Week 16 at Browns


Head Coach John Harbaugh

(Opening statement)- "First of all, the Browns, I think this is a really good football team. We knew that coming in. This is a highly motivated football team. They came to play. You could see it in pregame, and you could see it right until the last second. This team fights. We knew it was going to be that type of game. I think that's why [LB] Ray [Lewis] said what he said: to get our guys ready. Our guys were ready to play too, and our guys fought. It was a really gutsy, courageous performance, epitomized probably by two guys: [LB] Tavares Gooden, who dislocated his shoulder, and the thing was hanging off—he couldn't move it; and [S] Morgan Cox, who may have some serious knee damage. We'll see. We have to get an MRI, but it doesn't look good. He played the whole game. It happened on the first or second play he was out there, and he played the whole game with whatever injury he's got. It was unbelievably courageous. Their punt pressure—they recognized it, and they were going after him pretty hard there on the punt and field goal, as you would expect."

(On the two injured players)- "It just depends. If Morgan's got what we think he's got, which is some kind of a torn ligament in there, then he's not going to be able to play. I think with Tavares, we just have to see how it goes over the course of the week. I don't think we have any other injuries that I'm aware of—well, [TE Dennis] Pitta has a concussion from the first kickoff. We were short there, and [TE] Ed [Dickson] had to carry the load. It took us out of our two tight end packages."

(On containing the Browns)- "[RB] Mike Bell came in and did a nice job. This is a real legitimate running threat. It took everything we had just to control them. I don't know how many yards they got…101. They were hard-earned, legitimate yards, and this is a very physical offensive line. They've got some good backs. I thought [QB] Colt McCoy played really well. Scramble yards were probably some of those running yards. He's a real threat that way too. He kept his eyes downfield and made some nice throws. Our defense really played well. Our run defense was solid. We played great gap control. We were flat, wall, square. We were getting off blocks. I thought our secondary tackled. I thought our corners covered very well. If your corners play the way our corners play, that gives [S] Ed Reed a chance to do the things he does so well on the back end. It allows him to free up because he trusts those guys. That's been the key, you've seen in the last four-five-six weeks, the corners keep getting better, and it's been a big key for us."

(On clinching a playoff berth)- "Oh we're in? That means we're not finished, right? I don't want to put anything on camera that we'll have forever here, regarding playoffs, but we're in. We're in. It's just the beginning is what I told them. This is where it starts because we have an opportunity now to accomplish what we dream of and what we've worked for. We're not done with the regular season yet. We knew we had to get 11 [wins] to get in the playoffs, and it's turned out to be the case. Now we have to get 12 to have a chance to win the division. I know the chances of that probably aren't that great, but we also know that this is a good football team here that we just played, and we need to beat a good football team. That's still in front of us."

(On making the playoffs three straight years)- "Can I categorize it finally, somehow, with a word? I think it's successful. I don't care what or how. We're a play or two away from probably having the division clinched already, but we didn't get that done. We have nobody to blame but ourselves. We also have nobody to blame but ourselves for the fact that we made the playoffs. I'm proud of our guys. That's a great accomplishment—for coaches and players, and the organization. This organization is pretty special. Sometimes we don't talk about it, but you talk about [Owner] Steve Bisciotti, and Dick Cass, who is a great team president. Every time we need something to get better, Dick Cass says yes…Ozzie Newsome [as well.] We can go through the whole building. The maintenance people, the firemen; it's just a real special place. And to me, that's what develops a football team. It gives the coaches and the players a chance to be successful. That's the model. I think it should be the model around the league. I'm just really proud of what we have in place in our organization."

(On the Browns' improvement this season) - "This team over the last two years just keeps getting better and better. This is a legitimate football team. How many close games have they played in? You just go down and look at the scores and you're like, 'oh my goodness.' Then they dominate two of the best teams in the league—the Patriots and the Saints. We haven't been able to do that this year against that kind of competition. This football team is really, really good. They may have their quarterback. I think they're really well coached on both sides of the ball and special teams. We knew what we were in for coming in."

(On QB Joe Flacco's play)- "Joe made some plays. Golly. The touchdown throws were really incredible throws, and the scramble plays were tremendous. A couple of times, Joe was in trouble, they did a good job of covering the initial route. Joe was able to elude pressure when they had him in his sights. Then he got out and made some throws. That's what you see the top guys do. He's been getting better and better at that the last few weeks."

(On the onside kick to start the second half)- "I thought it was a really good call by them. A really gutsy call, but it didn't go 10 yards. [CB] Cary Williams did a nice job of getting over there, getting on top of it and recovering it. It really set the tone in the second half. I'm impressed that we capitalized. To go get the touchdown was big."

(On Ed Reed's jacket catching on fire by the heater)- "I did not see it catch on fire. I was over there and he told me not to get too close because I might catch on fire. I didn't realize that he actually had caught on fire. Actually, I did catch on fire in college. My shoelaces caught on fire. That was back in like 1981. I spent a lot of time by the heaters in college. What's my daughter say? 'Stop, Drop and Roll,' okay? We'll have to remember that."

(On Ed Reed in general)- "I think you've got your hook for your story: Ed was on fire. And he really was on fire. He just played so well. He's such a factor back there. If our corners play the way they've been playing, I think [Secondary Coach] Chuck Pagano has done a really good job on our back end. We're playing fundamentally, very well. That allows Ed to capitalize on his talents. I mean, it just makes a big difference."

(On setting the tone from start to finish)- "That's usually what happens. Somebody steps up and makes a play to stop a drive. It's hard to just say: well they might have a chance to go for it on fourth down. They're cutting us loose a little bit. They're protecting us. We're pressuring. They're max protecting, and we're still getting pressure. It's hard to get off the field straight up. Somebody comes up with a play. That's generally how you get off the field, and Ed got that job done for us today."

Joe Flacco

(On touchdown to T.J. Houshmandzadeh)- "When I got the snap I could see they were only rushing two guys, the safety was looking in and got caught up. T.J. made his break on the post drop and I had to throw it around the safety and the ball hung up just enough to get over him."

(On playing in tough conditions)- "Honestly, it was cold out there. I don't think the conditions affected us that much. I think we were able to do what we wanted within our game plan and I think we executed it effectively."

(On scoring after the onside kick)- "I don't know how ready we were for it. I heard a couple guys talking about it coming out of the locker room after halftime, to be ready for the onside kick. It gave us great field position and Derrick (Mason) did a great job getting to the ball and making a catch on the sideline."

(On making the playoffs three straight years)- "I think it says we have a solid team. It's a group of guys that go out and fight each week and stack wins on top of wins. We have been in every game this year and done a great job of winning good games. I think when you do the things we do each week, you give yourself a chance to make the playoffs."

(On finishing the game)- "In the fourth quarter, we felt we were in control. They did a good job early at making a play and taking the lead. We responded back with a field goal, got a turnover, and turned that into a touchdown. After that we felt pretty much in control."

Jameel McClain

(On his fumble recovery)- "Once I see the ball on the ground, I'm just trying to get to the end zone, but he pushed me. It was a good play, our offense was able to score off of it and that's all that matters."

(On turnovers and momentum)- "It's major for the defense to go out and play with the intensity that we did. It's Ravens football and that is the way it is supposed to be played."

(On covering tight ends)- "You depend on the person next to you for all of it to come together. There are 11 people out there and we all have to cover our assignment and that's what we accomplished."

Ed Reed

(On the game)- "It was a playoff atmosphere. Much respect to Cleveland. They have been fighting all season and we knew it was going to be tough. They hung around and gave themselves a chance to win; we just made a couple more plays."

(On the lateral after the second interception)- "You will never hear me say this, but that was a dumb decision. We were up and looking to get a turnover. I was hanging deep, reading the quarterback, but it was really about being in the right place at the right time."

(On the trick play by the Browns)- "We knew they were going to have something and we had that play covered. We just need to play the ball better. You're going to have those in every game, not just in Cleveland, but we were expecting some kind of play. It was a great throw by Massaquoi and catch."

Lardarius Webb

(On the interception)- "He (Browns QB Colt McCoy) gave us a sign and kind of checked into it. I kind of figured what he might run and at the end I was able to play the ball."

(On the offensive pass interference call against the Browns)- "When the ball went up in the air, I thought I was going to get an interception. He (Browns WR Brian Robiskie) pushed me and gave me enough that I couldn't jump, so when I did hit the ground I had to get up and tell the ref that he pushed me. I was lucky I got it. I've just got to get better. If a guy is going to push off on me they're not going to call it every time. It'll get me ready for the next game."

(On returning the ball)- "I'm getting better at it, but today it was really windy and cold. The most important thing is ball security. I had to keep calling for a fair catch because (Browns DB) Mike Adams is fast. They did a great job."

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