HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening Statement: "The objective was a win, and it begins and ends with a win in the playoffs. I'm proud of our football team for finding a way to get that done. I thought we got stronger as the game went on, that was really the story, [with] a lot of little subplots in between. Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs. I think they are a really, really good football team. First class organization, good young players, great veteran leadership, and you can see why they've had the season they've had. This place was on fire the whole game. It's a great place to play. So for us to come out here and pull out a victory in an environment like this, I think is a great accomplishment."
It looked like your offense took the fans out the game as it progressed:"I don't know – it seemed like they were at the game right there until the end. It was 23-7, they were still loud. It was still deafening out there. Give them credit. They didn't jump out of the game too fast, but our offense did a good job of controlling them, I think, because they're just such a loud stadium. It's one of the loudest places in the league, no doubt."
On how much the team rallied around what S Ed Reed's family is going through:"I think what Ed's family is going through, what the Reed family is going through, is a big part of this victory. That's what will be remembered by our players. We're a family, and the Reed family is part of the Raven family. And the Raven family is part of the Reed family. That's the way it works with our team, our organization. For Ed to do what he did under the circumstances and to play the way he played, to lead the way he led, that's just an incredible thing."
On the scene when the team gave Reed the game ball in the locker room:"It was a pretty emotional scene when Ed gave the Reed family the ball. That was for his brother. Our prayers are still with his brother for his safety, and may God hold him in the palm of His hand."
Is this game an exhibit of the importance of a quarterback having playoff experience?"I think that's a great point. I hadn't thought too much about that, but Joe [Flacco] has been now in six road playoff games, he's won four of them, and I thought it showed. That's a great point. He made some plays when he had to. A quarterback's got to make plays in games like this: scramble plays, throws. The receivers did a great job of making contested catches. Todd Heap, Anquan [Boldin], 'Mase' [Derrick Mason], T.J. [Houshmandzadeah] – contested catches when the guys had…This is a very good coverage team, and Joe making plays with a great pass rush bearing down on him, that was probably the difference in the game."
Would you be disappointed if you hadn't gotten another shot at the Steelers this season?"No, we'd be happy to see them out of it (laughing). But, hey, that's the way… It seems like poetic justice – Pittsburgh in the playoffs at their place. One of these days we'll be good enough to earn the right to play them at our place. It will be a 60-minute game, and I'm sure they'll bring their 'A' game, and we'll try to bring our 'A' game'. We'll see what happens."
Will it be different playing in Pittsburgh after winning your last game there?"Maybe. It will be interesting to find out. I'm not sure. We'll see. I hope so. I hope that's part of it. Whatever we can pour into that game, whatever we can draw from, it's going to be important because they're so good. They're just a real tough team to beat. I don't care where you play them. I think that was proven last time at our place. We respect them. We know what they're all about. They know what we're about. We know what kind of game it's going to be. But we do enjoy playing against those guys."
On what makes TE Todd Heap so tough to cover:"Todd Heap has got great hands, first of all. He's 6 foot 5 plus, he's got good speed for a tight end. I mean, great speed for a tight end, good speed for any receiver. Great body control, great hands. He's tough as nails, that's pretty much a cover-tight tight end."
Does Heap get the national respect he deserves?"I don't know. I haven't really looked at it. But, if people don't think he's one of the premier tight ends in the league, then I'd say no. If there's anybody out there that doesn't think Todd Heap is one of the premiere tight ends in the National Football League, then they probably haven't paid attention over the course of his career."
On the Ravens defense causing turnovers against a Chiefs team that protected the ball well all year:"They do a great job. I think Kansas City's backs do a great job of protecting the ball. Their quarterback, Matt Cassel, is one of the top quarterbacks in terms of protecting the ball. That had a lot to do with their success. For us to be able to turn them over the way we did was huge, obviously. That's how you get off the field against a team like that. They run the ball really, really well. They get a little bit of a crack, and all of a sudden those two fast backs [Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones] are out there and they're running away from you, as we saw. Turnovers were important."
On the momentum gained from the Ravens' fourth-down stop in the third quarter:"Yeah, that was big. I thought two things: I thought the drive at the end of the half was a real momentum changer, because we hadn't gotten much going. We had the early drive, got stopped on the one for the field goal. They started to run the ball on us a little bit. We were able to take it down the field and get the touchdown. And then that one, fourth and one, they had the chance to score. I'd have gone for it. I thought he [Todd Haley] did the right thing, and our guys just played the play tremendously well. The foot play to a speed back like that is tough to defend, and our guys were all over it."
Did you think you would need a 3 in turnover differential to be able to win the game?"I don't think we thought we'd need a 3 to have a chance to win it. Any time you have a 3 your odds go up real high."
On if the last two games being the Ravens' highest in scoring defense means that the unit has gotten in a groove:"We want to keep getting better at everything we do. We're the third-ranked defensive scoring team in the league right now, so we're not too shabby. We've been third in the league for the last three years, so we've got a little tradition here of playing defense. I'm proud of the way our guys play. The bottom line is points. You can talk about yards, you can talk about all that stuff, but points is what counts. Finding a way to win. And I was proud of our guys."
You've won a playoff game in each of your first three seasons as head coach. Are you allowing that to sink in at all?"No. There's no sinking in right now. We have one down, and one to go, and that's how we look at it. This is the playoffs. There is no season, there is no schedule, there is just next week, and we'll be back in there Tuesday. I'm sure our guys will be watching tape tomorrow. It seems like we played them [Steelers] just yesterday, so we'll be ready though."
On how good of a week it's been for the Harbaugh family:"I would say humbly, thanks and praise and gratitude to the good Lord above, and that's really where it belongs. I'm proud of Jim, I'm proud of what he's accomplished. And I'm really happy for my mom and dad and my sister Joani [Crean]. We've had a lot of good friends, a lot of people that we care about in the Ravens organization, at Stanford, people that are here today, standing right back here. We love them, and if there's any credit that's where it belongs. Thanks for asking."
QB JOE FLACCO
Were you shocked by the final score? "Not really, I mean we were out there playing it was a good physical game. They were a tough team. We were able to keep going, keep going and keep going today. We got some turnovers and we were able to kind of pop out there."
On the play of TE Todd Heap: "It was huge. It's tough for the safety and the linebacker to cover Todd. He was big underneath for us today. That's the way he is."
How many different combinations did the defense have? "You know when we put him outside we were going to see if they were going to put a safety on him. Are they going to put a corner out there? Early on, they put corners out there. I think he caught one on a corner anyway. Inside it's tough though. You are not going to cover Todd with a corner. You're obviously going to put him up against a safety. It's a good match up for us. He did a great job catching the ball and getting some yardage after the catch."
How did it feel to finish off a team? "It felt really good. It was a really good team victory. They were a tough team but we were able to kind of pop out the other end and keep it going today. It feels good to do that in the first round of the playoffs."
Is there a part of you that's unfazed by this? "I don't know. There is a little more hoopla coming into playoff games. The crowd was really into it today, but it's a lot of fun to come on the road in places like this and just be confident in yourself, be confident in your teammates, that you're going to come and get a job done. That's really how we feel. We don't have any doubt that we are going to come in here and win the football game. That's how we feel and that's what we showed today."
TE TODD HEAP
On QB Joe Flacco's performance today: "The guy has come in and taken us deep in the playoffs. I think he takes those things (previous playoff performances) with a grain of salt because he has so much confidence in himself. I think it's just a matter of putting all the things together. I think today we were able to do that as far as a team win. Offense played great, defense played great, special teams played well, and that's what we need in the playoffs, the whole team working together to get a win. They [the Chiefs] were a good team. I think we just kept putting pressure on them. Toward the end of the game we were able to pull away."
Coming into the game did you feel you could get as open as you did? "I am always confident I can get open: the way they were playing it, the defenses we were getting. We were successful early in the game. I think we kind of figured we could keep going back to some of those looks, some of those plays. Joe kept gaining more confidence in just putting the ball out there, and, obviously, I felt good about the matchups out there. So all those things combined, we were able to keep converting and making big plays down the field."
LB TERRELL SUGGS
On the score of the game: "It's playoff football. I really didn't care what the score was. I really didn't care how we won, just as long as we won. I didn't care if it was pretty or ugly, I just wanted the 'W'. Here we are, we got the 'W'. Now we are getting ready for the second game of the playoffs. We have to put this behind us and move forward. We need to correct the mistakes we made today and hopefully they won't occur next week."
How did this team rally on around the Ed Reed family tragedy? "Ed and the Reed family are going through a lot right now. Who's a better teammate than Ed Reed? He didn't have to play today but he chose to play. It was the simple fact that we wanted to give him three hours of peace. Let's go out there and have fun with your football brothers and we started doing that. We were like, 'We're going to have fun out here. We are going to let [go of] everything that we are dealing with and will deal with it after the game, together.' Just kind of how we've been doing it so far. It definitely was an emotional win for him and the rest of us, too. We really wanted to play for him and have fun with him, just kind of give him peace, put his mind at ease for a little bit."
FB LE'RON MCCLAIN
Talk about the performance of the Chiefs defense: "The Chiefs defense is a great defense. They have some young guys over there making some plays. We felt like if we established what we'd been doing, if we got back to what we do, which is being that hard-nosed offense and keep them on the field that it would show. We did that. We executed plays and got the job done today."
Are there any players on the Chiefs defense you prepared for, specifically? "91, hands down, Tamba Hali. Tamba Hali is a great, great player. All of them are great players but we had to take it out on him."
Should Tamba Hali be in the Pro Bowl?: "Oh yeah, hands down. Great guy, high motor, great football player. You see that every week. People can't block him because he's a great player and you saw that today."