WEEK 16 POST-GAME TRANSCRIPT
Head Coach John Harbaugh
"Congratulations to our football team, first of all, to our players for finding a way to win. Sometimes we say it's not perfect, and it's not pretty, and it was not, but in this league and this environment against this football team, the Cleveland Browns – they made it tough on a lot of people this year – our guys found a way to win the game at the end, and that's what counts. 8-0 at home for the first time in the history of the franchise is a tremendous accomplishment. And credit goes to the players, first. It goes to the coaches, but it also goes to our fans. I think over the course of time since the Ravens came to Baltimore, and for my experience here in the last four years, there's not a better stadium in the league than M&T Bank Stadium. There's not a better bunch of fans than Ravens fans, everywhere, but especially on gameday in Baltimore. So, on behalf of the players and the coaches, we are giving the game ball to the Ravens fans for this 8-0 season, and we'll find a spot at The Castle for this and display it very prominently to our fans here for that purple wall. So thank you to our fans, thank you for what you do, and you are a huge part of an undefeated season at home."
(on if he was going to go through with the play on the fourth down in the fourth quarter) "I can't divulge that. That's a very good question, but I can't divulge that. I thought Joe [Flacco] was getting to a play there as the clock was running down. I thought he did a good job with the cadence. He did a tremendous job with the cadence in that situation. He did get them to jump. It's tougher than you think not to jump in that situation and try to get a run stopped. I'm proud of Joe on that one. I thought Joe played really well, just across the board. I was a little disappointed with some of the drops. It wouldn't have been a game if we'd have converted on the third down, two or three times where we had some drops in there. We probably could've broken up a pass in the end zone, too, on the interception. We've got to do a better job of that. We did a nice job of that in the first half, making plays.That was probably the story in the second half."
(on kicking to Joshua Cribbs on the PR-TD) "We wanted to pin the ball over on the left sideline, and we didn't. We kicked him a ball that we don't kick very often, and I think when you give a returner like that an opportunity like that in space, in those kinds of conditions, he made us pay for it. It was not good coverage, it was not a good punt, and we have to do better than that. That's really what got them back in the game."
(on if they switched to the other side of the field because of the wind) "It was primarily because of the wind. I think what you saw is both punters and both kickers were kicking to their bench pretty much the whole game because there was a cross-field wind, so that was the gameplan for both sides. That's what we were doing."
(on Shayne Graham's performance) "I thought it was good, especially on the field goals and the extra points. He did a nice job of knocking it between the poles. It's not easy to do that, coming in to a new operation. The kickoffs were adequate. It's not going to be a great kickoff day anyway. So, I think he did a good job of that as well."
(on how losing Marshal Yanda may have affected the running game) "I'm pretty sure Andre [Gurode] came in and did a nice job, just watching from the sideline. It always affects you losing a player like Marshal Yanda. He's the guy that's been in there taking the reps, so that's always a factor."
(on injuries in the game) "Right now, David Reed's injury looks serious. We will see. We'll obviously have an MRI tomorrow. That did not look good. The concussions – we had two: Dannell Ellerbe, I think looks pretty decent. I don't have a report yet on Cary [Williams]. And Marshal [Yanda] – he's got a rib contusion of some kind. So, we will just have to see how it progresses during the week."
(on how today's win puts the team in good position to earn a home playoff game) "Well, that's where we're at. We knew that we had to win two. Now, we have to win one. It's going to be an incredibly difficult environment [in Cincinnati] against a tremendous football team that we have a great rivalry against. I think that's pretty much the way the NFL wanted it to be set up, and that's the way it's set up."
QB Joe Flacco
(on if he's disappointed that the game wound up being so close) "A little bit. I was definitely disappointed out there just because it's not big things that we didn't do. It was just little things that we didn't do very well in the second half, and it could've gotten us beat. These guys did a great job; obviously, the special teams return got them back in the game, and their offense did a good job going down and scoring a touchdown there. But we could have corrected that just with little things, just hitting on them and keeping the chains moving and putting a couple of points on the board there."
(on if there's concern that they aren't playing their best now) "San Diego, we just kind of, we just got hit. They got us. It happens sometimes. In this game, I don't think we didn't play well. I just think we had a couple plays where we could have done the simple thing better, and we would have been perfect. I see where you're coming from just because of the way the game looked today, but I don't think we didn't play well."
(on the fourth-down play where they drew the Browns offsides) "It works sometimes, I guess. We got them. John was like "There's no way they jump.' And you never know…so in that situation, we got fortunate. You [hope] it isn't going to come down to that. But hey, it did come down to it, and that's what we needed today, and that's what we got."
(on if there was a play called there) "Come on, you guys can figure it out. The play clock was at two seconds, and we hadn't snapped the ball yet."
(on when he had ever seen it work in that situation) "I don't know if I've ever been in position for that to happen. It's never worked."
(on playing without Boldin) "We didn't throw the ball a lot. We missed a little bit. We had a couple of drops. There's certain things that I could get better at there and help those guys at, and there's certain things that we can work on just as a unit. Obviously, missing Anquan's a big thing. He's a good receiver for us, but I like to think we can have confidence in everybody who is out there and really improve. But all those guys are capable, and all those guys are really good players. We just need to go into the game and give them confidence, and that starts with me, just feeding those guys confidence, and putting the ball on them making it easier for them so they can get themselves going and they can start making those plays."
(on the pass to Ray Rice for the TD) "They were playing man-to-man; they were a deep safety in the middle, and we've been running some flat routes. The linebacker that was covering Ray… had his nose up in there. He was kind of trailing from behind. He kind of stepped up. He might have been waiting for Ray to come back over the middle or something or kind of protect and deal with a dog on, but as soon as he hesitated, Ray ran right by him, and it was pretty easy from there.)
(on the first play of the game, with the pass interference penalty) "He beat the guy. He got over the top of the corner. I didn't really get a great ball in so I didn't get it out there as far as I would have wanted to, but hey, huge, pass interference in the NFL is a great thing. That puts us right down there. We kind of hurt ourselves with the false start on first down there. But to be able to score after a false start on first down down tight like that was a pretty big accomplishment and proved to be a pretty big score in the game."
(on talking to guys after drops) "They beat themselves up a little bit, but yeah, you say something to them. But everything done. What are you going to do? I mean, the play's already over. They already dropped the pass; there's no real point in dwelling on it and getting upset about it. You've got to move on. There's going to be plays to be made down in the future, the rest of the game. You have to have those guys make them."
(on what it feels like being one game away from their goal) "We've been in that position a lot since I've been there. It hasn't been this position. It's been a position, hey, we've got to win this game to make the playoffs. We've got to win this game and we have a possibility of winning the division. We have had a lot of games where we have to go win in order to really put us where we want to, and it's just another one of those. It's going to be against a good team, a division opponent, a team that's fighting for the playoffs themselves. We're going to have go in there and play a really good game to get a win."
WR Lee Evans
(on playing without WR Anquan Boldin) "When we're missing a guy like that, everybody has to rally, everybody has to step up. In the first half, we got off to a good start, and in the second half, we just didn't play well, and that starts with me."
(on if he is concerned about the level of play over the last two weeks) "I don't know if it is a concern, but obviously, you do want to play better. At the end of the day, you do have to find a way to win games. We were able to do that today, and we can build on that. Next week, our job is just to win one more."
(on what he felt he could do better in the second half)"I don't know. We'll see. I put it all on my shoulders that, obviously, I wasn't where Joe [Flacco] wanted me to be. Until I can go back and correct that, we'll just see where things fall."
(on Joe Flacco getting him the ball to establish a connection) "We had opportunities, we just didn't make the best of them. That's the bottom line, when you don't make the best of them, you can't really earn that trust. Until we get it corrected, it's just going to be like it is."
WR Torrey Smith
(on playing without WR Anquan Boldin) "Anquan not being out there, that's our leader. We definitely needed to step up. Compared to the way we played today, it's not really acceptable. We have things to work on. Joe [Flacco] did a great job today. It's on us to finish some things for him."
(on the pass interference call on the ball that was intended for him) "It was big for us. If they're going to grab and hold on me if I get past them, that's OK, but even if it is pass interference, I would still like to make the catch."
(on what happened in the second half) "Simple. It was just execution. It really wasn't anything special. We executed in the first half, and we just didn't in the second half. We need to be more consistent in what we do."
(on the team's performance the last two weeks) "Well, this week we won, last week, we didn't. At the end of the day, that's all that matters. We know there are things that we have to improve upon. We have shown we can do it, it's just a matter of us being consistent."
RB Ray Rice
(on today's game) "First of all, I want to give credit to the Cleveland Browns for the way they played today. It's hard to beat a team twice. We knew they were going to come in here, and their emphasis was going to be on stopping the run. They played a solid football game with a veteran quarterback, and they drove the ball, and we were just glad [to get to] 8-0. Like you said, [being undefeated at home] has never been done here before. It was a great team win, but it was a must win for us. Hey, it wasn't pretty, but at the same time, we got the job done, and we get to feel good and leave for the holiday."
(on the touchdown pass he caught) "I saw man coverage from the get go. I said, 'If I get a step on him, I got him.' There is only one negative in that play, and that is if the safety plays it. So, it's either the ball is on you fast, or it's a homerun. So, I saw that safety go with Lee Evans, and I knew I was one-on-one with him. It was a great call by [offensive coordinator] Cam Cameron and great execution by me and Joe [Flacco]."
(on the offense's support in getting to 1,800 yards from scrimmage) "I've never been a guy who thought I could do it all by myself. I owe a lot to the offensive line. It's a collective effort. I am just glad I am able to stay healthy, perform and do a great job for my team."
(on Ricky Williams helping him stay fresh) "Ricky Williams and Vonta Leach are the best things that have happened to me this season and as far as my professional career. Ricky comes in, even on pass routes. He can do it all. I know when Ricky comes in, we are not going to lose anything. It feels great to know, and obviously, he is a guy that I looked up to growing up."
(on his health status for the next few weeks) "Me? I am still fresh. This is the time of year where you obviously have to take care of your body. Me being a younger guy, but I have learned how to be a pro. Taking care of my body is number one, especially at the running back position. I am getting the carries now, but I am also getting some catches. I am mixing in and out, and I like to get the best of both worlds."
(on the Cincinnati Bengals) "If you look at where they were at in the beginning of the year, it was a three-way race. We know they are tough. They play a similar front, like Cleveland, with a 4-3, and their guys get after it. They have a very similar structure to the way the Cleveland Browns have."
CB Lardarius Webb
(on if he thought he re-aggravated his toe injury) "I don't think I re-aggravated it, but it is a little sore. I just could not leave my team hanging. Not that the other guys couldn't do a great job, because they could, but I just felt like I would be leaving them out, so it was important for me to be out there today."
(on Joe Flacco drawing Cleveland offsides at the end of the game) "I thought that was the greatest play ever. In fact, the two greatest plays were when [Brendon Ayanbadejo] tackled them on fourth down and Flacco drawing them offsides. Those plays were way better than my interception. I do feel bad for their guy [Phil Taylor]. He must feel like he let his whole team down. I have been in his spot before. He is a rookie? Oh, he is a first-round draft choice? He is good."
(on what he saw on the interception) "It was third-and-short. He ran to the flat, and he kind of had a step on me, but the quarterback didn't throw the ball hard enough, so it gave me a chance to make a play, and I caught it. I didn't think I was going to catch it, but I made it, and it was a nice little play."
(on his confidence level) "Confidence is up, and it's all about my film study. It seems like I am trusting my film study now, and I am just going with what I see all week. I study my butt off for those tests, and I know the answers now."
TE Ed Dickson
(on his touchdown) "It's just a read-play on the goal line. I give him a little move, and then go overtop of him. They did a pretty good job of covering it on the goal line, but Joe (Flacco) made a good read and put it on my back shoulder. The offensive line gave him enough time, and it was a good play-call."
(on having two straight weeks with a touchdown) "I think we're getting into a pretty good rhythm. There were a couple of balls I could have had; I missed a couple of third-down conversions. We live on third-down conversions. I'm going to be going back and look at the film, and I'm going to be grinding it out. Those two plays I didn't make are the ones I'm going to be thinking about, not the touchdown."
(on the tight ends being key third down receivers) "We pride ourselves on being the go-to guys on third downs. I had two opportunities today to make plays that I let get away from me. Both plays are going to be in my mind until next week. I'm going to go back to work to see what I can do better to finish those plays. I'll be ready for Cincinnati."
DT Haloti Ngata
(on going 8-0 at home) "I think it shows that we can play well at home. If we can get a home playoff game, we know that definitely helps us out. There are some things that we need to fix this week when we get ready to take on Cincinnati."
(on stopping Peyton Hillis) "I think that you can see he's running full sprint from the time he gets the handoff. He's a guy that, once he gets rolling, you've got to be careful because he can run over some guys. He's a great running back; if you let him go, you better make sure your defensive backs can tackle too."
(on stopping the Browns in the fourth quarter) "We knew they were going to go for it on fourth down. We knew it was really important to get that stop. Offense did a good job at the end making sure they stayed on the field."
(on watching other games) "You look at it, but you can't worry about it. You can only control what you do. I think it was good enough just for us to get the win."
S Bernard Pollard
(on the Browns end of half drive) "I was trying to get the defense, and they just snapped the ball. Playing defense, the way that we did at the end of the half, was big. We had some plays that we shouldn't have given up, and we have to fix that. But we're excited. Anyway that we can get a win we can. We have to be pros. God has blessed us. We have to be thankful that we got this win and got out of here, relatively, injury free."
(on Peyton Hillis) "You just have to be sound with a running back like that. If you give him a hole, he's going to hit it. At times today we were sound, and at times we weren't, and it showed today. We have to get better. We have not reached our best point yet. We reach our best point when we hold that trophy up. We have to get back in this thing, and get ready to play football next week."
(on replacing the injured Cary Williams) "I thought Jimmy (Smith) did a good job stepping in. Chris (Carr) came in in our nickel package. We've got to heal up a little bit, but there are no major injuries. We have to iron out this thing, and we have to play football."
(on winning their 11th game of the season) "11 is big. Every week, we're trying to get that number in the win column. To be able to do that, and move forward, is exciting."
(on being 8-0 at home) "That's exciting, but we have to fix the other part though. We're going to get better but it's exciting to pick up 11 wins. Next week we're going on the road, into a hostile environment, and they're going to give us their best shot. Today they were down, and they were fighting back. I thought it showed a lot of courage with us to hold them off and get the win. We're going to get better. We're going to get sound. We're going to iron this out and get ready to play football."
C Matt Birk
(on getting a big win today) "Yeah, obviously our goal today was to win, and we did that. We go 8-0 at home, and we've got one week left in the season. To have home field and a bye within our grasp, that's a good thing. And the great thing, too, is we won, but there's obviously a lot of things we can learn from and a lot of areas we can get better in. So, we're pretty grateful."
(on whether he knew the Browns were going to jump offsides at the end of the game) "No, I'm not psychic, I didn't know." (laughter)
(on whether he felt that the defense was jumpy or antsy) "I mean, it was a big play, and you never know. We tried the first time, it didn't work, and then Joe [Flacco] did a good job of selling it and going through his cadence again, and it worked."
(on what it's like when a plan like that actually comes to fruition)"Well, it's a good feeling, because then we took the knee three times and won the game. Essentially, the game was over after that. So, it was a hard fought win. It wasn't pretty, but it was a win."
(on losing G Marshal Yanda to injury) "Marshal's a great player. Anytime you lose a guy like that, it's unfortunate, but next man up. And Andre [Gurode], same thing when Ben [Grubbs] went down, he kind of goes in there, and I give him credit. After playing center forever, it's hard to go in there and play guard, but Andre went in there and is physical, knew his assignments, and it shows you, you've got to have depth."
OLB Terrell Suggs
(on today's game) "It went all the way to the 12th round, and we did it. We had to go to the scorecards; they weren't going to let us knock them out. They fought. But, it just goes to show, if we want to go on a championship run we've got to be tight; offense, defense alike. So, we've just got to get it done."
(on how important it is to get a home playoff game) "It's big, man. We want a chance at winning, and you've got a better chance to do it when you're at home. And our fans, like I said, I consider myself to be a player of the people, and we are our best team when we're in M&T [Bank Stadium] and our fans are rocking. So, we definitely need a home playoff game by any means necessary."
LB Ray Lewis
(on never having a perfect season at home before) "I've never been perfect at home in 16 years of football. And that's amazing, because as good of teams as we've had here, we've always found to lose one or two, here or there. But I think this year we really made our focus on taking care of home. And our team came in, and we did a great job taking care of home. And this is the result of it; being able to go 8-0, and sitting where you want to sit at the end of the day."
(on still having work to do next weekend) "Yeah, big game. Big game next week; it's no secret. A division foe, we know each other; they know us, we know them. And they did what they were supposed to do today, we did what we were supposed to do today, Pittsburgh did what they were supposed to do today, New England did what they were supposed to do today. So, everybody did what they were supposed to do today, and so next week boils down to a big week for everybody. And you know, 24-hour rule, win, lose or draw. No matter what it is, go home, spend a great Christmas – Merry Christmas Baltimore – but I think we know what's at stake. And at the same time, the Bengals have a lot of pride over there, too. Marvin Lewis is going to definitely have them ready to play."