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Press Conference Transcript - Jan. 11

"OK, good to see everybody's here. Our usual, steady crowd, right? Obviously, it's an exciting opportunity that our guys have earned. You know, you earn it by winning a game like that – that everybody here saw – and now we have an opportunity to go to the next level and play the next team in the tournament, the Colts, who have earned their position and deserve to be where they're at. And we're looking forward to a chance to play them. I just think some things in the game really stood out. First of all, it was a fast start, obviously, but turnovers were huge, and then making points off of turnovers. Field position was big in that game, mostly because of the turnovers but also because of the special teams. I think our average drive start was the 50-yard line for the game, and theirs was the 35 [-yard line], so that's big. Pressure. Third down was a big difference; we dominated third down. And then crunch time – the end of the game, the end of the half – we were successful in both of those situations. So, that's why you win like that."

Do you feel vindicated that you're one of the last eight teams left after the inconsistency in the regular season?

"No, I mean, I just don't even agree with the premise of the question. You know, to characterize it that way, I'm not even going there. That's not how I see it, that's not the way we were. I think throughout the course of the season our guys were fighting. We lost tough, tough games against really good teams, against some pretty good quarterbacks. And I think it's been part of our process to become who we are right now. I've got no problem with our guys, and whatever inconsistency, as you say. Every team faces that stuff, and you fight your way through it and try to get better – specifically with those things. I don't think we're any different than any other team that way."

Was the decrease in number of penalties a combination of the low-calling officiating crew and the team playing smarter?

"Well, I think if you look at the last two weeks, you watch the tape, there wasn't much to call both ways. I thought it was a well-called game, but it was a very well-played game. That's it."

How is QB Joe Flacco feeling today and were you excited with the way he managed the game?

"I think Joe played well. One thing we don't care about here is numbers. That's for everybody else. Those numbers don't mean anything to us, and when Joe has to throw the ball 48 times to try to win a game, he'll do that. When we have to throw it 10 times to try to win a game, we'll do that, too. So, I think it speaks to really, the unselfish nature of these guys, of our offensive coaches, of Joe, of the receivers. Our receivers yesterday – first of all, they camp up [with], it was four catches, four completions – so it's stunning in some ways, but they were big ones, were they not? They were huge conversions on third down. And then the blocking… There were a couple of blocking situations where they got us the first down in two third-down situations because of [a] wide receiver block. There are a lot of ways to win a football game, and it's just playing football, and there are a lot of things that go into playing football, and he played a good football game."

What is your insight to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick saying that New England was outcoached?

"Well, I think our coaches did a really good job. Obviously, I think they have a great coaching staff, too. That's a really well-coached team. Nobody can deny that. But our guys did a great job. The game plan was good. I think our guys are playing very fundamentally sound football. Bottom line, players made plays. I mean the offensive line blocked, the running backs carried the ball, Joe threw the ball when he had to, guys made catches. Defensively, we covered, we pressured, we stopped the run. It's players that do that. I think we had some good ideas; we had a good week of practice. Nothing beyond that, really."

Was it part of your game plan to run the ball as much as you did?

"Well, I think you go into a game and you have an idea of what direction you want to go, but not necessarily how many times you're going to do something – the type of runs you're going to have up, the type of passes you're going to have up, what's going to be built off of what. Is the passing game going to be built off the running game, or vice versa? So, I think the run game probably was first in this game, with the passing game being built off the run game. It's been different in other games, and then you just see how it shakes out. Cam [Cameron] does a great job of having a feel for that, and he sees which direction it's going. You jump out to a lead like that and you're running the ball well, [then] it's probably something you want to keep doing."

How much has Flacco's injury affected his performance over the past two weeks?

"I wouldn't have any idea. It doesn't matter. It is just absolutely irrelevant. What you try to do is you try to win the football game, and what's Joe's done is he's done what he needs to do to win the football game. He's very much healthy enough to play and to play well. So, the more you guys want to make of the injury situation – that's great. I mean, make it really dire. You know, he's really in bad shape. He's fine."

Could you tell us about the Ravens' process when it comes to throwing a challenge flag, like on the punt that hit S Tom Zbikowski in the shoulder?

"In a situation like that -- you go back and you look at that situation with a turnover, deep in your own end, when it's going to have that kind of an impact in a game – if it's in doubt, we're throwing the flag. So, that's where we would start in that situation. We didn't have enough [time to make a decision to challenge the call]. You've got to go by what you see up top and what you see on the field. [In] that situation, it's on the other side across the field. Nobody on our sideline could see it. Our coaches are in that corner over there, low, looking through their bench. They didn't see the recovery part of it live, and they didn't get that up until after the commercial break when the Patriots were going to the line of scrimmage and we're trying to get a defense lined up. So, at that point we didn't really have an indication that there was even an issue on the sideline – in real time. And we didn't see it in time to communicate it to get the flag thrown. Now, I would say two things: In all honesty, we want to do a better job with that – if we can. I also think it's difficult because you don't see any more than is seen on TV. The crew that's doing the game sees the live feed throughout the whole commercial break and has a chance to analyze it. The coaches in the box do not have that opportunity. Obviously, there's nothing on the board. So, it makes it tough, and you just do the best you can with it."

Was it a case where the players involved couldn't even see that the Patriots' player was out of bounds?

"There was no indication from anybody at that time that we should challenge that until it was too late., and that's unfortunate."

What do the coaches in the booth see in a situation like yesterday's punt review and how soon do they see it?

"On the road game, they see exactly what you see on TV in that time. And, that's the timing. You can go back and look at your TV, if you TiVo'ed it, and just see when we saw it. And [you may] say, 'Well you know what, maybe we should have seen that.' I don't know; I haven't looked at that. But, we're going to try to do a better job in the future making sure if you could have seen it on time that we don't miss it."

The network went to a commercial right after the play, so should there be a rule that would require the network to stay longer with the action before going to a break?

"I haven't thought about that. There are some conversations that the live feed that the network has for their production crew should go into the coach's box. That's something that could be looked at. To me, that's the only thing you could really do."

Do you expect the Colts will key in on the run game in their preparation to play the Ravens. And, have you ever seen a team win twice in a row throwing 10 passes a game?

"Does it matter? Are we going to throw 10 passes this week? Is that we're going to do? If we do, it will be with the intention of winning the game. I can guarantee you that. I think Cam said he's hoping to go through a game and not throw any, right? So, that could be the game plan, and maybe we'll throw 50. Who's to say? It's a valid point. All that stuff, if you want to forecast the game and handicap the game and say, 'OK, can a team do it doing this and doing that?' That's great. You guys can do that. We don't forecast the game. We just try to find a way to put a game plan together that has a chance to win."

How far do you feel the red zone offense, in terms of being physical, has come since you faced New England early in the season?

"Well, it's important to run the ball anywhere. It's important to run the ball in the red zone, because the field contracts as far as throwing the ball. And [if] you get a pass defense, you want to run it. You get a run defense, you want to throw it. Anywhere on the field, but especially in the red zone, that's important. We've got to do a lot better in the red zone than we did last week offensively, and I would say defensively as well. [The Colts] got in there three times and scored twice [in the first game], and one time was a great play by Ray [Lewis] to knock the ball loose on the 1-yard line. So, that's going to be a huge part of this football game, and that's where we've got to excel."

Does it give the Ravens any advantage to come off a game where you held QB Tom Brady in check going into a game where you will play another top tier quarterback like Peyton Manning?

"No. Every week stands on its own. These two guys are different. They're similar in the fact that they're both great quarterbacks – Hall of Famers. They're different, and the offenses are completely different. And how they run their offenses is completely different."

What is the biggest challenge the defense has in facing the Colts?

"Peyton. He makes good decisions. More than any other quarterback in the league, he understands coverage. Tom Brady's really good at it, too, but [Manning] understands the weaknesses of a coverage and probably ID's the coverage better than anyone else. And the front, too. So he gets them in a great play. He's always looking for the right matchup. He wants to get a specific matchup and a specific technique against you, and hopefully, we can do a good job of defending that."

Can you talk about having a short week to prepare and does the advantage of knowing last week who your opponent would be if you advanced in the playoffs offset the short week?

"We would have done the advance [work] on two teams, and some people had to do three teams in advance. Obviously, it helps us to just have to do the one team, but the short week is a little bit tough. We'll just move everything up one day. So, we've got to condense that work. We've done a lot of work already going in. But as far as the coordinators making game plan decisions, that's something that they have to do [in a shorter period of time]. Instead of two days, you have one day to do it. But also, game-planning continues throughout the week, so maybe some of that gets pushed back a little bit. Tuesday will be like a Wednesday, right on out."

Did you expect your team to come out with that much intensity at the start of the game?

"Our team shows up that intense every week, with varying results sometimes. But from an intensity standpoint, our team always shows up like that, in my mind."

When S Ed Reed laterals an INT, does your heart jump? Do you like and encourage that?

"We encourage our guys to make good decisions, and good decisions are usually judged by the result. So, when it turns out to be a good decision, you can easily see why after the fact. My first thought, I'm going to be honest with you, when he was running up the sideline, is not to do it. My first thought is secure the football, but he had a situation that we do practice where he had Dawan [Landry] in great position. He had control of the ball – nobody was near the ball – and he had free access to get it to Dawan. So, he made a good decision and it worked out. We picked about 20 yards."

How do you assess the way that Reed has played coming back from his injuries?

"I think he's played really well, but the comeback part, to me, is the most impressive. He's worked hard. Every week you hope. With that injury, you just didn't know how fast it was going to heal, so he was pushing hard to get back every week. We did have hope, really, even in the Green Bay game we had hope that he'd be able to play, and then it pushed out three or four more weeks. But I thought he got his wheels back a little bit against Oakland, and he looked good in this last game. He looked like Ed Reed."

With the defense coming on strong at the latter half of the season, is it the players getting used to defensive coordinator Greg Mattison or the coaches making adjustments with personnel?

"It's probably a little bit of everything. We've gotten better at certain things. Every year stands on its own. We say every week stands on its own. Every year is different. It's a little bit of a different cast of characters. Different guys do different things well. Even from one year to the next, guys have been able to improve in areas, and they get worst in some areas. Maybe they get a little bit older – whatever the case is – and you've got to kind of work your way through that. There's always a transition, I'm sure, with a new coordinator and a new setup as a coaching staff. There probably was a little bit of that early, but I think guys did a great job of working through it together. [There was] no finger-pointing ever at any time. We were a pretty good defense early on, believe it or not, but we've become a dominant defense throughout the last part of the season."

Explain how LB Ray Lewis plays this game for so long and keeps getting better?

"Yeah, I'll tell you… Maybe check the history. I'd like to know if there has ever been a linebacker that has done it like this for this long and played this many snaps. He never comes off the field. I just think he works hard at it. He's in tremendous condition, and he knows the game probably better than any linebacker that has ever played – all parts of it – run game, pass game, the whole deal."

Can you talk about CB Frank Walker's performance yesterday and how he's been much maligned throughout this season?

"I'm glad you took responsibility, as a group, for the maligning for all these guys right here. I'm sure they appreciate it." (laughter)

[Reporter says:] "Well, I'm just saying we've all maligned him, and it's well deserved some of the time."

[Coach Harbaugh says:]"Well, maligning is sometimes what you guys do best, but that's part of it. *(laughter) *I think Frank understands, we all understand, that Frank is a really good football player. Frank has made the same kind of errors that every player makes, every coach makes, in the heat of battle, and some of those things get a little blown out of proportion too because some of those penalties he's had have been touch fouls that sometimes don't get called the other way. So, I'm going to defend Frank. I believe in Frank. I think he's a good football player, and I was happy to see the way he played this last week. If you want to talk about fundamentally sound corner play, watch Frank Walker against the New England Patriots this last week. It's training tape. So, he's going to be just fine next week."

Was this game one of CB Domonique Foxworth's better tackling games?

"Yeah, I think he's been a good tackler all year, not to say corners don't miss some tackles. And those guys are 180-pound-type guys, so they're in some mismatches sometimes. Obviously, I think our whole secondary has done a really good job of tackling. Run after the catch is huge. It's going to be big against the Colts, so we've got to continue doing that, but we did a nice job with it."

How is TE Todd Heap doing today?

"He's got some lower back-type spasms. That stuff can be tough, but usually you can work through that pretty well. So, he should be fine. All the other stuff is kind of like that – just bumps and bruises and things like that."

How aware were you of the Baltimore fan base at the New England game?

"Well, you always get it with the 'Oooooo' in the National Anthem. So, I'm always startled… 'Man, there's a lot here,' but then, to be honest with you, I kind of lost track of it. They were cheering throughout the course of the game, and I think they got louder because the opposing crowd got smaller, where at some point in time there was a tipping point, right? We had more fans in the stadium than they did, and at the end, to go over there and shake hands with those guys and then to turn toward the tunnel and to see that throng was really cool. They were excited, and it was great to experience that with them."

Do you feel like OLB Terrell Suggs had one of his better games of the year yesterday?

"Are you asking me to compare it to other games, to rank it somewhere? (laughing) I thought he played really well. See, the thing about Terrell is all the things he does are not always going to be the most flashy stuff. Yet, he had the flashy play yesterday, right? I mean that play, that rush he put on, edge-to-edge rush, sack, fumble, recovery, that's a play. You can't make a better play than that. Maybe you pick it up and run it in the end zone. I guess that's been done before. That's as good a play as you can make, and that's the one everybody talks about. But watch the rest of it. Watch his run defense. Watch how he plays screens, wide receiver screens where he's getting in the throwing lane. Watch how he's chasing stuff down from behind. That stuff – I think he's a complete football player."

Can you talk more about the team discipline yesterday, only receiving three penalties for 15 yards?

"I think we played… I don't know about that word. There's a lot that goes into that. There's more to football discipline than just that. That's an indicator. It's something we've worked really hard on. We've been disappointed in some other games. Guys played with good technique in some areas, and we didn't foul."

Working with defensive coordinator Greg Mattison this year, how much has he improved as a coach, and if so, what has he improved on?

"That's not something we really have time to think about right now. I've always thought that all of our coaches are… They're here because they're great coaches. They're here because of the body of work throughout their career – football knowledge, ability to relate to the players, the kind of people they are, probably first and foremost. We just have a great staff, and I think they've done a great job."

How much do you think the rest that the Colts have had will be a factor? They could have some rust and you could have some momentum. Do you feel like that's a factor in this one?

"To whatever extent it is, I haven't really thought about it. It's not really relevant to what we're trying to do. That's for them to figure out, I guess."

Do you believe in rust or momentum?

"You look at your own… I guess what I'm saying, guys, it's a valid question, but for us, it's not something that we're going to think about. It just doesn't matter. We've had… We're in a situation where we've had to play. So, we've taken that set of circumstances and tried to turn it into making us the best team we can be from one week [to the next] – to win the next game, be the best team we can be. A team like the Colts had a different set of circumstances, but they earned it, so they decide what they need to do to give themselves the chance to be the best team they can be. We're on a different path, so you can't really compare. Maybe someday we'll be in that situation. I hope we are, and then we can talk about that."

Last year the Ravens beat the AFC East Champion Dolphins in the Wild Card round then faced the No. 1 seed [Tennessee] and won. Can you benefit from that experience, and is that a perfect example of why it doesn't matter whether Indy had a week off?

"Every year is different. Obviously, the fact that most of our players have been in that situation before, I think our younger guys can draw on the experience of the guys that have been there before. But it's a different year, it's a different team. We're a different team, and this is a new week. We'll just have to see how it plays out."

When you're on the field, can you feel and see a tangible difference between a regular season game and a playoff game?

"People say that all the time, and they say the intensity goes up a little bit. My experience has been [that] I don't really see it. I think we go out and play with a great amount of intensity in every single game, and maybe that's because we've had so much at stake for the last three or four, five, six weeks. But, our guys play their hearts out every single week. There may be a little more electricity in the crowd. Obviously, you get that playoff logo on the field that kind of gets things jacked up a little bit. And, if you don't win, you're done. So that's all part of it, probably, mixed in there somewhere. But I just think from a pure intensity standpoint our guys go out and play as hard as they can every single week."

What did you say at halftime yesterday?

"Zero-0, like any coach would say. And, 'Let's go out and win the second half.' We're not letting up, not for one second, to paraphrase it. I think everybody was saying the same thing. It wasn't any message that we all didn't share."

Is there any disadvantage, just because the Colts rested the last couple weeks of the regular season and had a bye week, that you have to go back pretty far to look at tape and come up with a game plan?

"I don't think so, just because we pretty much understand what their offense, defense and special teams are built on. The difference is we've got to try and find out who's going to be out there playing for them. I think we have a pretty good idea. They're pretty much going to be at full strength. And then, how are they going to attack us? It's always a guessing game, a little bit."

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