Postgame Transcript - Week 17 vs Bengals


Head Coach John Harbaugh

(opening statement) "First of all, congratulations to our team for winning the game, finding a way to win. You get to this point in time in the season, and you don't look at how pretty it is or anything like that. Bottom line, you find a way to win the game, and you have to be happy about that and feel good about that. I'm proud of our guys. I think we have, over time, figured out how to win football games, tight football games. We've been in a bunch of them, that's for sure. And I like that about our football team – Derrick Mason's accomplishment is incredible. I told the team those other two guys [Jerry Rice and Tony Gonzalez] I think they're in pretty elite company with Derrick Mason. He's one of the all-time greats. What Billy Cundiff did – and the last time that record was set, it was indoors with the old balls – so now, he's got the new 'K' balls, and he's outside, kicking in the AFC North and places that he's played. I think that even tells you how impressive that record really is. Ed Reed leads the league in interceptions. He may end up leading the league when the day is over; I'm not sure, in interceptions, and he's done it in, what, 10 games. That was the difference in the game today. I think our defense was lights-out with turnovers, coming up with stops on third-down and fourth-down, playing great in the red zone, there at the end, especially. Obviously, I'm disappointed with the one they scored, and we'll look at that one hard, too. But, I think our defense played out of their minds. Offensively, I'm disappointed with some of the things we did offensively. I'm a little bit frustrated with some of those things, but we have to find a way to win the next game. But, we are who we are, and we have to move forward with that. I'm very confident that our offense, our coaches, our players and our team – that as a football team, we'll find a way to win from here on out. That's what our focus has to be."

(on if the early Steelers' lead against the Browns forced him to change strategy today) "I don't know. I didn't have a chance to kind of compare how it would have been if they were losing and what process we would've gone through. They got out in front so fast, you kind of just forgot about it. I think we focused on winning the game. We did get into a situation where we started getting some injuries. [Dannell] Ellerbe went down. Three or four guys went down for us that hurt us, and we weren't going to have a chance to substitute anybody out. We were just trying to hang on and make sure we could get substitution groups in packages on the field. When Michael [Oher] got tweaked – whether he could have come back in or not, I think he could have – we basically just decided not to put him back in at that point. Haloti [Ngata] – same thing. He probably could've come back in, but we didn't want to mess with that. Maybe those guys would've come back in, in a different situation."

(on if Oher leaving the game limited what he wanted to do on offense) "No. We can do [similar things] in our offense with those other guys."

(on how the Ravens match up to the possible first-round opponent) "We think we match up great against everybody. We feel good about our chances. We've been there before – we've been on the road before, and we understand that path. The bottom line is you have to win one at a time, for four games, and that's how it works. We've won two and lost the third one. We've won one and lost the second one. So, our goal is to win four. But, it starts with wherever we go next week."

(on if the Ravens like to go on the road in the playoffs) "I think we would've loved to have been at home. I'm disappointed we didn't get the home game for our fans. I think our guys love playing here. I think we have a big advantage here. But, we've been there before, and we're a mentally-tough group. I think our team reflects Baltimore. I don't think we're intimidated by the opportunity in front of us, and we'll be looking forward to it."

(on if not going to the Super Bowl takes away from the satisfaction of reaching the playoffs three straight years, or if the satisfaction remains) "I think it's both. You feel both ways. You feel like you want to get there and you want to win it, and that's the goal. But, I've never bought into the 'Super Bowl or bust' thing. This '31-bust' thing in the National Football League – that's a pretty high standard. But, we'll be disappointed if we don't win it all. But, we have to focus on the next game, and that's really what it boils down to. You win one, and then you have a chance to win two. Really, that's the only way you can look at it right now. But, I'm proud of our guys for what they've done the past two years."

WR Derrick Mason

(on whether the Ravens will be able to turn it on enough offensively to win in the playoffs) "We're going to have to. We can't allow ourselves to go into next week – whether it be at Indianapolis or Kansas City – and play the way that we played today. We've got to go in there clicking on all cylinders. We've got to make some things work, regardless of what is called. That's my thing now, whatever is called, make it work, because you can't have anymore excuses during the game or after the game. Whatever is called, we've got to go in there, we've got to make it work. However, we've got to find the right guy, we've got to run the right routes, we've got to find the hole, we've got to block. Whatever it takes in the postseason, we've got to do it."

(on what the problem was offensively today) "Cincinnati has a great defense. They played each and every team this year very strong, and the ball just hadn't bounced their way. But, for us, we've just got to go out there and make it work. I guess that has to be the theme of the playoffs – whatever is being called, we have to make it work. We can no longer point the finger. We've got to make it work as an offensive unit. There's no more excuses, because excuses are going to get you beat. The teams that make excuses are going to have to sit at home next week, so we can't make anymore excuses. Whatever play is called, we've got to make it work, so you can't blame Cam [Cameron]. Whatever it is, we have to make it work."

(on whether he was surprised to hear boos at the end of the first half) "It's disheartening, but they're the fans. You've got to understand they come to the games to see guys perform and [see] guys make plays on both sides of the ball. When the score is 6-0 going into halftime, they're a little disappointed and we've got to understand. We take it with a grain of salt and move on because wherever we go in the playoffs, we're going to hear boos, too. Whether the score is 6-0, 14-0, it doesn't matter, we're going to hear boos. So, you take it for what it is worth and move on, come out in the next half and try to get better."

(on whether he wants another shot to beat the Colts) "I don't care who we play because Kansas City is just as good as Indianapolis. Wherever we go, we have to win a football game and move forward."

(on whether the Ravens know much about the Chiefs) "We played Kansas City, what, a year ago? We played Indianapolis, what, a year ago? We know them both. The good thing about both teams, I think… With Indianapolis, we've played them a lot. That offensive and defense system [in Kansas City] we've seen before. That offensive coordinator [Charlie Weis] and defensive coordinator [Romeo Crennel] were in New England. We're kind of familiar with what they do. They're playing hard, just as well as Indianapolis is playing hard, so wherever we go, we have to win a football game."

(on making the playoffs three straight years and whether anything less than a Super Bowl championship means nothing) "Why should we be proud if we make the playoffs? If you don't win the Super Bowl, nobody remembers you. It's good, in a sense, that you give yourself an opportunity to get to the Super Bowl, but if you lose in the first round, second round, AFC Championship game or the Super Bowl, nobody remembers you. The only team that people remember are the guys holding up that Lombardi trophy. So, I'm sure that's fine a little bit, but in the big picture if there is no Super Bowl, then we're starting back at Plan A."

(on whether there was any desire to have the starters rest in the second half) "Why? We didn't have the game won. The score was 6-0, and why pull the starters when we're not consistently going down the field. We wanted to go out with a win and go into the playoffs with momentum."

(on becoming the third player in NFL history with 60 receptions in 11 straight years) "It's a blessing. To me, it's an honor. It tells me that one, I've been able to last for a long time. I've been able to go for so many years without missing a game. And people that I've played with, the offensive coordinators that I've played under and the quarterbacks that I've played with, have had a lot of confidence in me to go out each and every game and make plays. That says a lot about the offensive coordinator and the quarterback, because if they don't have confidence in me, they're not going to throw me the ball. So, for me, go out, be consistent and stay injury-free, and play football the way I've been playing it since I was about eight or nine [years old] when my brothers would beat me up. (laughter)"

C Matt Birk

(on the win against the Bengals) "We won you know. Offensively, we didn't play very well, but the bottom line is that we won. Regardless of what's happened up to this point, it's all in the past. It's a cliché, but it's a new season, a new mindset, it's a one-game season. And that's it. Played well, didn't play well – it doesn't matter. We'll find out who our opponent is later today, and we'll get ready for them."

(on playing in the fourth quarter knowing that the game didn't mean anything) "Football is a game that's not like basketball or baseball. You just can't take it easy. Regardless of what it means or doesn't mean. You have to play hard. You have to play your butt off, because if you don't, bad things happen to you, and to your teammates. I think it's just kind of the way we're made as football players. You never have the pads on and just go out there and go through the motions."

(on the Ravens' running game today) "It wasn't consistent, and that's probably why we didn't put up as many points as we'd like. We'll put on the film and learn. And whoever our opponent is next week, we'll just focus and prepare like we always do. Practice hard, prepare hard, study hard and see what happens."

(on the keys to winning in the playoffs) "You need to talk about things mentally. The season is in the past. It's a long season, it's a grueling season, but now you have to find a way mentally and physically to perk up and bring everything. You have to turn it up a notch because it's playoff football. It's different than the regular season. Whoever you play is going to be more than a formidable opponent."

QB Joe Flacco

(on beating the Bengals today) "It wasn't a great day, but we got a win. You have to be happy about that. We're going to the playoffs for bigger and better things. That's the important thing right now."

(on handling the Bengals' pressure) "Those kinds of things happen. Third down situations, they're definitely going to come after you and put pressure on you. The best thing you can do is not turn the ball over. The one interception I had today, I thought I had a touchdown pass. Todd Heap was wide open, and the guy came all the way from the middle of the field and made a good play."

(on Cincinnati having five of Flacco's 10 interceptions this season) "Yeah, I had one today, and looking back at the other game, there are a couple that I'd like to have back. The other ones, they just happened."

(on the flea-flicker to Todd Heap) "It was just a screen, I wanted to be patient. They were coming, but as soon as I threw the ball to Todd, I could tell there was a big area of field for him to go."

(on passing Ben Roethlisberger for most wins in his first three years as a quarterback) "Winning football is the name of the game. That's what we try to do every week. This team has been great he last three years. I'm just glad to be a part of it and have my input to it. Hopefully, we can go get four more, and that's what we're trying to do. I think we have the team that can do it."

(on the keys to winning road playoff games) "It's just a football game. It's going to be a great atmosphere no matter where it's played. Going on the road is just something we have to do. I don't look at it any different than any other game. It's definitely great to play here [M&T Bank Stadium] and have your crowd on your side, but a football game is a football game. And a playoff game is extra special. I think that's how this whole team looks at it."

WR Anquan Boldin

(on the Ravens scoring 13 points off of five Cincinnati turnovers) "I don't know, I don't have much to say. It's just one of those days."

(on the Ravens making the playoffs) "It's the first step for us. It's the first goal you set coming into the season. At this point, everyone is 0-0. It's anybody's game."

(on the key to being successful in the playoffs) "Everybody has to be on the same page. Everybody has to believe in each other. Everybody has to have the same goal. There's nothing that you really do significantly different from the regular season to the playoffs. Guys just have to clue in to what they are doing, and pay attention to detail. You have to believe."

(on the Ravens compared to other successful team's you've been on) "I think we have exactly what it takes to win a championship. And that's not me just saying that because I'm here. I've been with other teams, and I've been to the Super Bowl. I don't think we had half the talent that we have here. So I definitely think we have what it takes to win it all."

LB Terrell Suggs

(on his throwing a punch at a Bengal) "I was getting into it with him all day, exchanging words, I could have cost my team. I've got to be better in that area. Luckily I got away with one. Usually I don't get away with anything. They were too busy looking for the spot of the ball."

(on if he'd rather play KC or the Colts) "It doesn't matter. Either way, it's going to be tough. This is [the] playoffs. I mean it's January football, and either way it's going to be tough. We're definitely going to have to perform better. We've got to be prepared to play 60 minutes, especially in the playoffs because if you look around the league, everybody that's in the playoffs took care of business today."

(on if the Ravens have the momentum heading into the playoffs that they'd like) "Going into the game, we had some momentum, and we were fired up, and then they made some plays and naturally that can crush momentum, but we got the 'W.' We're definitely going to go back and look at the tape tomorrow, and we're going to get our corrections made and get ready for these playoffs. First things first, 12 wins is 12 wins. If we were 4-12, you all would be writing exactly how terrible the Ravens are, but we got the 12 wins. By any means necessary, we got it done. This is the NFL. This is the highest level of football, and we won 12. So you can't take away from that. But you've also got to look at match-ups. Cincinnati, they do a good job matching up against us. Others play them, and the other teams have a good day. But when they play us, their defense looks like the 85 Bears, Carson Palmer looks like Joe Montana in his prime. It's just match-ups. They match up really well against us just like we match up really well against Cleveland and Pittsburgh and all the other teams around the NFL. They do a good job of matching up against us."

(on ending the three-game losing streak against the Bengals) "I didn't even think about that. I was just happy to get the win. I didn't want to go into the playoffs with a loss. You don't want to have that sour taste, and you've got to prepare for a playoff game after a loss. It's good we got the streak going. Now maybe we can get something rolling against them like we did a couple of years ago. Like I said, we got the 12. We snapped that streak, and we're ready for January football."

(on watching the score of the Steelers-Browns' game ) "You look at the score at first, it was 14-0, then it was 14-3. And then it just went all downhill. I was like 'them boys [took] care of business.' You've got to know what team that is over there. I knew Cleveland matches up with them well, but they had some injuries, and they're a veteran team, and they were going to take care of business regardless. They were going to be ready to play."

(on if anything less than the Super Bowl will be a failure) "Absolutely. There's only one winner, and nobody asks who took second place. We don't get satisfied on moral victories. It's been years around here we've been number one in defense, number one in turnovers, but we have no hardware to show for it. Nobody even knows that because we didn't win the Super Bowl that year. So definitely, anything less than Dallas is a failure."

TE Todd Heap

(on what he accomplished getting out there today) "It was good to get out there. I feel like I wanted to get some reps and get my feet back under me. I thought I got that accomplished and to get a win on top of it, albeit not the way we wanted to, but 12 wins is 12 wins, there's nothing wrong with that."

(on if there were any physical setbacks today) "No. No setbacks. Nothing to write about. I'm just excited to get it going, get my feet back under me and get it going next week.

(on the flea flicker) "It was a play we practiced this week. It caught them off guard, and we caught them rushing in towards the passer, and it was as wide open as I've seen a screen play like that in a while. Our guys were blocking downfield, and it seemed as if I were setting up blocks. I wasn't really doing much but setting up blocks. Our guys were staying on their guys, and it was a big play for us."

(on if he's got a preference as to who the Ravens would play in the playoffs) "At this point, it doesn't really matter because right now I think we're just excited to be in, and who we're matched up against and who we play, it doesn't matter, we're just looking forward to it at this point."

(on how he feels at the end of this season compared to seasons past) "I feel pretty good right now. I haven't played in a few weeks so all of the little bumps and bruises have had time to heal. I feel like I'm where I want to be right now. I'm feeling as good as I have since I've been to the playoffs in my career."

RB Ray Rice

(on if this performance was enough to get the team to Dallas) "When a team has your number, let's just face it, they're in our division, and the teams we're going to play now are going to be familiar folks. We know we have to do a better job on offense going forward. With that being said, it's a new season. I'm glad we won this game because it was personal. It's personal when a team has your number and beats you three times straight. But right now, our focus is on the next team. They're not too many teams sitting at 12-4. That's a major accomplishment, and it's the most wins I've ever had in a season. I'm going into my third playoff run with experience under my belt, and this is a different animal. The games are just like this. We've got the experience, the ability to win down the wire. Right now, it's all guts and glory. It's the playoffs, and that's what it's all about."

(on the couple of runs he had that he almost broke for long gains) "That's my defender, that's my guy, I have to make him miss. There's a few times where we ran a play where I got up to that guy.

(on not fumbling all year) "I had a fumble-free season. I don't know how many carries, but I had a fumble-free season. I feel pretty good. On the play where my shoulder made contact with the ground, I was wishing the ball was in the other hand. That way I could have used my off arm. But I knew it wasn't a fumble."

(on if the Ravens don't win the Super Bowl, will the season be a failure) "I wouldn't say a failure. Look at our record, and look at what we overcame. If it panned out any different, we're 12-4, we could easily be a two seed. In the AFC, everybody's playing marvelous football. Every team that's on top of us, New England, Pittsburgh, we could've beaten those guys. That's how close the margin of error is at this level. When we play them, it's going to be one of those games where it's a full four-quarter game."

LB Ray Lewis

(on if this the way to roll into the playoffs) "What better way? We started a legacy along the way, up and down, up and down, up and down, putting these pieces together every day. At the end of the day, you end up 12-4, not a bad season. Now we go for the second half of the season."

(on if it matters who they play and where it is in the playoffs) "I think one reason it doesn't matter for us is because our defense travels well. We play extremely well on the road as well as home. Our track record says we'll play anybody at any time anywhere. Any time you can pack up a great defense like that and take it on the road, you have a chance to win."

(on if they were paying attention to the scoreboard at all today) "To who? We didn't need to. It's different from years past. We weren't going into this game hoping for somebody to win to get us into the playoffs. We had already clinched, and if something changed on any other side, then it changed. But if it didn't, then we came in and took care of our business. We went from 11 to 12 [wins], and that's the most important thing. I just think it's huge. You go through the whole course of the year, and you look at the top teams around the league, and you find yourself sitting at 12-4, that's an exciting time. I think it goes back to zero now."

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