HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
(opening statement)"I think you got it from those guys; it was just really a team win. That's about the best way I can sum it up; a team win, and a team that finished the game in the fourth quarter under difficult circumstances. You guys are all making the point, [and] it's a good point; we kind of had the lead again, what's going to happen? The idea that you can play the play within the play and focus on what you've got to do within the play – not within the situation or the circumstance. The circumstance really doesn't matter; what matters is the play call and doing your job. Our guys did a good job of that today."
(on if RB Gus Edwards is the kind of running back who can help the team seal late-game wins) "Sure. Gus [Edwards] is unique. Gus is kind of a one-of-a-kind kind of guy, back-wise. He's a downhill guy, he covers a lot of ground, he gets his pads down, he can make cuts. He's unique; he's his own kind of guy. Every back has a different style, and Gus' style is very valuable to us."
(on if he thought RB Gus Edwards would play like himself today after not playing in 21 months)"Yes, I was just told 635 days, is that right? (SVP of Communications Chad Steele: "645 days.")Oh, 645. Wow, how about that? You never really know. He looked good in practice; he looked like he was ready. We were patient with him, in terms of bringing him back, but until you get in a game it's kind of hard to say, and he did a great job, obviously. He was ready."
(on RB J.K. Dobbins being put on IR)"Fair question. As he was going, he had a range of motion issue with scar tissue. So, we're working him through. He's making progress. We measure all that stuff, and he's making, I'd say, measured progress, probably what you would expect. He's a little impatient, which is in a good way, and he wants to try to speed the process up. This particular surgery kind of got into the conversation about three weeks ago. I think it's the same one that [New York Giants RB] Saquon Barkley might have had – I'm just speculating on that – and get the full range back in four to five weeks, something like that, six weeks, something like that. So, he just wanted to do it. He wanted to do it; he didn't want to go the slow road. If it doesn't work 100%, then he's kind of on the slow road again. He's making progress. So, there's no new injury or anything like that; he just wanted to take a shot at speeding up the process."
(on what a win like this can do for a team that has been struggling with beating itself)"No question. One thing is guys have confidence, and they believe in themselves. We've had some great wins so far this year, but there's nothing like doing. The guys were able to go out there in that situation and pick each other up. The offense was on the way to winning us the game, and we turned the ball over unfortunately, but it wasn't the end of it. It didn't start something negative. We stepped up, defense stepped up, special teams stepped up. Then, offense, we didn't get the first down. They're stacking the box [and] we decided to play conservative, but we got the time off the clock, and then the punt team came out there and finished it off. Then, the defense went back out and didn't give them something to make the play. So, I'm just kind of proud of everyone in that sense, and I agree with what you're saying."
(on P Jordan Stout's 69-yard punt and WR Devin Duvernay's 46-yard punt return giving the team two big sparks early in the game)"No doubt. We were kind of fighting for field position there. We've been on [Jordan] Stout a little bit in practice; we had some fun with him. He has a great attitude, and he's just a pretty confident guy. You just knew he was going to have a game like that, but it was huge in this game. And then the punt return ... We had them backed up, so give the defense credit. You keep them backed up, you want to hit a drive ball out of there, [and] we block it really well. Devin Duvernay [on] the edges, the way he sets up blocks. He might take it inside, he holds it, gives a trail blocker a chance to get into position and then jumps outside the way he did. He's just amazing with his punt returns."
(on what he saw from his vantage point on the Browns' long field goal attempt at the end)"I saw a long kick, so you're going to get a lower trajectory. So, [special teams coordinator] Chris Horton did a great job of calling a middle push rush. We've got great middle push guys, so we got some good push in there; I think I'll see that on tape. Then, guys got their hands up and Malik [Harrison] found the ball. So, I'm sure it was a lower kick, and he was able to find the ball. Sometimes, you don't find it, so I can't wait to see it on tape, but the fact that it was a longer kick and a lower trajectory certainly helped us on that, and it was a great call by Chris [Horton]. The other thing I'll just mention, [defensive coordinator] Mike Macdonald deserves a lot of credit. Not just Mike, obviously, but the whole defensive staff. That's a tough offense to stop, and that run game is really challenging, especially the boot[legs] and things like that; we did a really good job on the boots [and] the play actions, except for one play early in the game – the double seven route got us. I think Mike called a heck of a game. He kept his poise, his composure, he always does. [He] dialed up some blitzes at the right times. The guys have responded to him really well, so I just think he deserves a lot of credit for that win."
(on if he thought there was a chance RB Gus Edwards would be ready by Week 7 when the season first started)"That was pretty much the plan. There was some talk [about] Week 5, 6, 7, somewhere in there. That was kind of what the doctors, and [head certified athletic trainer] Adrian [Dixon], and [chief medical officer] Dr. [Andrew] Tucker were shooting for. So, they deserve a lot of credit. [Football performance coach] Sam Rosengarten and [head strength & conditioning coach] Steve Saunders, they all did a great job."
(on if OL Patrick Mekari was playing at right tackle late in the game because T Morgan Moses was injured)"No. He had had the issue last week, and I just felt like he had a tough duty out there. He had 'No. 95' [Myles Garrett] over there pretty much the whole game ... Not the whole game, but a lot of the times, and he was fighting like crazy. I just felt like he got a little fatigued, so we have Patrick [Mekari], and why not play him?"
(on QB Lamar Jackson only attempting 16 passes today and if that was due to the way the Browns defense played)"It's the way the game played out. It was just kind of one of those kinds of games where you're trying to win the game by whatever means necessary. I don't think anyone would probably quibble with the play calls in the situation. We're certainly going to have games where we throw it way, way more than that. Lamar [Jackson] did what he had to do to win the game. He managed the game, with the run game, he had so many good runs himself, he had some critical throws, protected the ball in the pocket against that pass rush. I told him after the game, 'Don't think you didn't win this game for us, because you did.' You can win a game as a quarterback a lot of different ways than just throwing the ball around."
(on questionable roughing the passer calls around the league this year and seeing the officials pick up a flag for that penalty today)"I give Shawn [Smith] and that crew a lot of credit, because that's not something you see very often. For them to have the wherewithal – and I don't know what the right word for it is exactly – but just the desire to get it right ... To take the time to talk it through and see what it really was, instead of just keeping the flag on the ground, was good. Not just because it was us, but because it wasn't roughing the passer. For them to do that and get it right, it was [what] they should do, and they deserve a lot of credit, and he deserves a lot of credit for that."
(on if he was afraid for a second that Browns WR Amari Cooper's late touchdown would stand if it wasn't nullified by penalty) "No ... Maybe a split, split second, because [the pass interference penalty] usually goes on the defense, right? But I heard right on my phones right away from up top, they said, 'That's offensive. That was a push-off. He pushed him off, extended his arm.' You don't always see it called, I'll say that, but it's a good call. It's the way it should be called. Marcus [Peters] is in good position [and] doesn't deserve to be pushed away like that. So, yes, a split, split second."
(on the consequential false start penalty that backed up the Browns final field goal attempt, and if it looked like a false start to him)"Yes, the left tight end. The left tight end moved, for sure. I also felt like – they were trying to draw us offsides with a double cadence – what the centers do a lot of the time is they'll move the ball. I thought he picked the ball up. You can't pick the ball up; you're really not allowed to move the ball in a hard fashion to draw someone offsides, but that's what I thought it was. Then, they said also that the left tight end moved, so they kind of got themselves on it, and that's what they called."
(on the fourth-down play where TE Mark Andrews was under center and pitched to QB Lamar Jackson)"The brilliant brain creativity of our offensive coaching staff. I don't know which coach gets the credit for it, but we've been working on that for about a month. We've had that in for quite a while, so to see it executed ... I told the guys when they came off, 'We deserve that; we deserve that to succeed, because I've seen that take a lot of practice reps up.' Mark [Andrews] does a great job with it, and it's well blocked. It's a really great play."
(on how the team is health-wise after the game with another game coming in four days)"I think we did. Do you have anything? (SVP of Communications Chad Steele: "No.")I didn't get anything from [head certified athletic trainer] Adrian [Dixon]; I think we're good. We'll know more tomorrow. [It's a] quick turnaround. We have to go to work. I told the players, they have about 18 hours and the coaches have about ... How long does it take to drive from here to Owings Mills, 18 minutes?" (laughter)
QB LAMAR JACKSON
(on what kind of relief it was to see the kick get blocked)"[It was] a huge relief. I feel like [we] heard the whole team just (breathes out emphatically)let that out. Shoutout to Malik [Harrison] and the whole special teams, because they did a terrific job today – 'Duv' [Devin Duvernay] on a huge punt [return], and like I said, Malik, and the rest of the guys, too."
(on pulling out a close victory)"I'd rather it not be close, so we're not around here biting our nails at the end of the game. But I feel like it just builds momentum, especially [because] we've got this quick turnaround Thursday Night, playing against a tough team. We've just got to keep stacking, though – keep stacking. Hopefully, these games aren't so close; [they're] coming down to nail-biters."
(on why it was hard to get a rhythm going in the passing game)"I mean, we only threw the ball like 16 times. I wouldn't say [it was a] bad rhythm. They made good plays; I got sacked on a couple; I had to get the ball out fast. I only threw the ball like 16 times, though, so I wouldn't say that. We had excellent runs. So, that's just what it was."
(on what the Browns were doing to make things difficult for TE Mark Andrews)"They were just scheming up [their] defense to take away Mark [Andrews], really. Two guys [were] guarding Mark sometimes; they [were] in and out on certain plays. That's just what they did. And like I said, we only threw the ball 16 times. Some plays won't go to him; it went to other guys."
(on what RB Gus Edwards brings to the offense)"All that power – we've been missing that a lot. We've got a lot of 'scat' backs, fast, elusive backs, but he [Gus Edwards] can do both. But we've been missing the power, and it showed today. He was hitting the holes and getting like five yards a carry sometimes."
(on if RB Gus Edwards allows him to run the ball more effectively, given that the defense has to key in on Edwards)"I don't know. I don't know. Probably, because he [Gus Edwards] is a dynamic back, and I'm glad we've got him back. Probably, though."
(on the fourth-down pitch play from TE Mark Andrews)"It was cool. (laughter)I should have scored – for real. I wish I would have scored on that play, but it was a dope play."
(on if he saw the flag for offensive pass interference on WR Amari Cooper right away)"No, I saw the flag. Yes, yes."
(on if he could tell that it meant a lot to RB Gus Edwards to be back)"I mean, absolutely. It meant a lot to us to have him back, too, because we missed him, too. He didn't just miss the game; we missed him, as well. I'm glad he got his two touchdowns today and iced the game for us."
WR RASHOD BATEMAN
(on how big of a win this was for the team) "Every win is a big win in this league, but today definitely was huge. Home game, divisional game, tough opponent, we really needed this, and it was important for us to re-establish ourselves in the division."
(on how big it was to get RB Gus Edwards back)"I mean, you saw what he did today. He moves the sticks, puts us in position to have positive plays at key times, and thank goodness we have him back in the lineup."
(on the team's offensive identity right now)"I think as we all do, we still have some things to clean up, but I think our execution is getting better. We are still finding out a little bit of who we are, but I think as we get our guys back, it is all coming together at the right time."
(on the defense's ability to close out the game)"What an amazing job today. I thought our defense has played well all season, but they really brought it home today. They stood up and made the plays when we needed them the most."
DE CALAIS CAMPBELL
(on the character of the team) "We've got a lot of fighters; a lot of fighters. We believe in each other, and we work really hard to prepare. But the biggest thing is that we want to keep getting better, and I think we are getting there at the right time of the season."
(on how big of a win this was) "You want to be your best at the right time. You want to keep peaking at the right time. This win goes a long way towards that. I think this team, the coaches, we're never going to give up fighting, and we play to win."
(on getting OLB Justin Houston and RB Gus Edwards back in the lineup)"When you get players like that back, that makes all the difference. Justin Houston came up big for us today. I thought he was the best player on the field when he was out there. And Gus [Edwards], the same thing. The offense looks totally different when he is out there. He made some big runs, got into the end zone [twice], and changed the way we played. He took the ball for us at some critical moments, and all of those things added up to put us in position to win the ball game. And it's not just them, it's everybody. Everybody stepped up today. We had opportunities today, and we took advantage of them. And we played our game."
(on how he feels about this football team right now) "I know who we are. I am feeling really good about us. This team has really good guys, we really love football, and we are dedicated to making the sacrifices necessary to win. When you win a game like we did today, it took sacrifices. We're talented, so I love where we are at right now, and I think we are picking it up at the right time."
RB GUS EDWARDS
(on how rewarding having a return like this is for him)"It's a blessing. I just want to give God his glory. It took a lot of faith, getting through everything and all the adversity I faced with the injury. I had a strong team starting with God, and I'm just blessed to be in the position I am here a year later."
(on the feeling of getting in the end zone) "It always feels like a release; you work hard all week, you go over the same plays all week, and you envision everything being a touchdown. It always feels like a release, but this one was special for me coming off the injury. Like I said – and I'm going to keep saying it – it's a blessing, it's a blessing."
(on if he anticipated having this much action in his first game back)"I felt good; I felt good, and I wanted to keep going. I wish I could have done more, but I felt good."
(on if this felt like his kind of game because of how many tough yards he had to gain)"It was a tough one. It started with the run; I felt like the run game, we got a little bit going. It was tough yards, but we did some good things with [combination] blocks and everything. Big shoutout to the offensive line on both of those touchdowns for giving me ... for making it easy on my part."
(on how he prepared physically and mentally to return to football)"I spent a lot of time on the massage table, in the tubs, [and] with the trainers just doing everything I could."
(on if he will keep one of his touchdown balls or another memento from today)"Yes, I'll probably take that first one; that was a big one for me."
(on if there was a time where he wondered if he would be able to come back this year)"It was tough; it was up and down, up and down. I wanted to be back Game 1, but it doesn't always work like that. I was on God's time. There's a lot of season left, and like I said, I'm even fortunate to be playing right now with the type of injury I had. I just have to keep building off of it."
(on if his injury was more than just an ACL injury)"Yes, it was ACL, hamstring [and] LCL."
(on what this win means for this team)"It was a must-win situation, big divisional game, a rivalry game. We have momentum now, and we just have to keep building it up. We're going to find out about ourselves in the weeks to come."
(on his emotions when he found out he would be playing today)"I just try to keep the game small and take it in like I always do. It's just football at the end of the day; you can't make it bigger than what it is."
(on how he feels physically after the game)"I feel good, but I'm about to go get back in those tubs, though." (laughter)
ILB MALIK HARRISON
(on sticking together and pulling out the victory)"This was a divisional game, so all week, we've just been harping on sticking together and doing our job whenever the times get tough."
(on his late-game blocked field goal)"It's a game-winning block, so I'm excited. It means a lot to help the team out. Like I've said in previous interviews, I just do whatever the team needs me to do. So, if I need to go out there and make a play on special teams or make a play on defense – anything at all – that's what I'll do."
(on if he's ever blocked a kick at any level before)"I was close in high school, but I think this was my first one."
(on the defensive performance)"Overall, I think we did well. We still had our ups and downs, but we won, so, of course, we did well. The D-line did well. In the first half, we shut down the run, and we shut down the run in the second half, too. So, yes, it was good."
OLB JUSTIN HOUSTON
(on how much he believed the team needed to come out with the win)"I think it helps. It just helps build momentum, and I think what we've been going through is just growing pains. I prefer to go through it at the beginning of the season than the end. We all know, you've just got to get hot at the right time. I love our team. I think we've got everything we need to win it. We've just got to continue to build and grow. That's what we've been doing, and it showed today. We had guys step up on special teams, defense and offense to make plays and get us this victory."
(on the team making plays late)"I think it's very big. We definitely needed that to show our hard work and the work we've been putting in. You all know we come out rolling, and we just die in the fourth quarter. But to stay in the game, continue to make plays all around, I think that's big for everybody's confidence in the locker room – coaches included."
(on the pass rush getting after the quarterback today)"I think it's very important. I know that changed the game a lot. If you can put pressure on the quarterback and make the quarterback uncomfortable, that creates a lot of turnovers. It helps the game. It changes the game. So, any time you can get turnovers and change the momentum of the game, that's big."
(on if he feels the pass rush is shaping into form)"I think so. We're building, and like I said, I think we're just building and growing in the right direction. I always knew what we had in the locker room; it was just a matter of time [before] we showed the world what we've got – and I think the best is yet to come. We're still building, we're still growing, we're still learning how each other works. 'JPP' [Jason Pierre-Paul] is new; we're figuring out how he likes to rush. It's more than just a one-man show up front. Everybody has got to be on the same page, and the communication has to be big when you're rushing up front. I think that's what we're learning how to do with one another and learning each other's style of rush. And so, once we put this all together, it's going to be amazing."
(on how he gets ready for a short turnaround on Thursday night)"Start right now – like, literally. Go home and … There's no rest time. I'll rest after Thursday night."
CB MARLON HUMPHREY
(on how that win felt)"It feels great getting that win. We got a chance to win two games in what, four or five days. But to get that finish at the end at home was huge. I think the fans were a big help with that. It was loud in there for a second. But you've got to keep fighting and trusting in the defense and trusting in your guys."
(on if seeing the 10-year celebration of the Super Bowl XLVII team motivated him)"Yes man, it's crazy. I was actually thinking about that as I came out of the tunnel. I saw these people in white. I was like, 'These guys aren't wearing jerseys.' (laughter) But it was really cool to be there. Hearing those guys' message on Saturday … Anytime you're in the presence of championship players, it's always just something you can take away. It's crazy – the message they kind of said, all three or four of them [that spoke to the team on Saturday] echoed, was just trusting in each other. So, that's what we kind of tried to do today, and we were able to get it done."
(on the challenges the short week presents with playing in Tampa Bay this Thursday night)"Yes, it's tough. I think one of the guys was saying he's about to go to the facility now and start recovering. I know I'm going to watch Sunday Night Football tonight, but I'll be watching Tampa [Bay] film as well. It's really tough, but you really can't … You can enjoy this win for a dinner, and then you've got to move onto the next one."
ILB PATRICK QUEEN
(on what he saw on his back-to-back tackles for loss)"[Defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] had a great call. Just sent me free, let me free, so [I] just went out there and made plays. That's it. Shoutout Mike."
(on if he feels like he's getting into a better rhythm now)"Yes, I'm really just doing my job, trusting what [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] calls and just doing my job. [I'm just] making sure I'm being accountable to my teammates, so whatever he calls, I'm just doing what I need to do and just playing like that. I guess if the rhythm's flowing, we're flowing. We're just going to see."
(on what was said in the defensive huddle heading out to defend a three-point lead with three minutes left)"It's just, 'Relax, just go out there and play ball.' We trust each other, [and] we all know what we're all capable of, so at that time everyone just does their job. We go out there, and we're going to make the plays, we're going to make the stops. Everyone just has to trust each other."
(on the emotional whiplash of seeing WR Amari Cooper's touchdown nullified by penalty)"My next thought was just what's the next play, get ready for the next play. So, I was just in there catching my breath, just waiting for [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] to call the next play, honestly, that's it."
(on if he feels like this was his best game as a pro and if his confidence is building)"I feel like I've had better games. My confidence is definitely building, obviously, but it's just a point of stacking and being consistent while doing that. I feel like in the past it was I'd have a game like that, and then it would go down, then I would have another game like that, then it would go down. So, it's just the point of being consistent with it now."
(on getting a lift from special teams)"We had faith in them to go out there and do that on the long field goal. We knew the guys we have up front to get a push and make things like that happen. So, special teams is what we preach over here; that's what it starts out with, and they went out there and did their job."
(on how gratifying it was to have a big game alongside ILB Malik Harrison, who made the game-winning blocked field goal)"It made me happy. You've got to see, on the replay, I was like trying to find him, trying to find him, trying to find him, and it's just … You can't describe the feeling, really, honestly. Just seeing somebody that you know who worked so hard to get to do stuff like that and be able to execute."
(on if this game was extra meaningful for ILB Malik Harrison, given his Ohio ties)"I'm pretty sure, because they had a chance to take him, and they didn't take him, and we scooped him up. So, I know he's probably happy about that – being able to come over here and be able to play for a team that has a standard like ours. So, I know he's definitely happy."
(on if he believes the pass rush is starting to get cranked up)"Yes, we've got all the faith in the world for those guys to go out there and make plays. And I was celebrating with Josh [Bynes], because I thought he had it right then and there. But everyone is just doing their job. [Defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] is going out there and calling the calls, and we just have faith in what Mike calls, and it's just [us] going out there and making plays."
(on if a game like this helps allow the team to relax and not overthink things)"When we say relax, that means just taking a breath and going out there and playing. I think some people were taking it out of context – relax as if we're up tight, and we're trying to do too much, when nobody is trying to do too much. I think it's just [that] everybody has got to slow down, play the play within the game and just go out there and just do your job and trust what the coaches call."
(on if he saw anything from RB Gus Edwards during that week that made him think he could perform the way he did today)"I knew Gus [Edwards], from the first time I've seen him practice since he's come back, that he was alright. So, just going out there and seeing the first run [and] actually just knowing that Gus is back, and he's doing everything possible to be 100% ... So, just seeing him get that first carry and doing what he does best, it fuels your team, for sure."
T RONNIE STANLEY
(on the character of this team)"To me, the ground and pound mentality is the identity of this team. And I think we are getting back to that, to who we are. But the thing is, I really think we played with the same amount of character and effort even before today. This game was a little bit more detailed, but honestly, we still have a lot to fix. We can be a lot better than this. We are happy to come out with a win, but our goal is to play at a championship level; we won't be satisfied with anything less, and we still need to clean up some stuff. We can be a lot better than this. I am not very satisfied with how we did as a whole today; we are very capable of championship-winning football."
(on converting on third and short opportunities) "It was great. Any time you can convert on third and short and get yourselves another set of downs, that changes the game. And today, with Gus [Edwards] in the lineup, it was awesome. We have to keep building on that, and we know Gus is a dominant downhill runner and he's going to gain yardage when you give him the ball."
(on the defense's ability to finish the game in the fourth quarter)"Defense played great really all game; we have full confidence in them. They are still working their kinks out, but they came up with a huge stop for us late at the end of the game, and really, all game long. I know they are going to continue to get better. I know they are not satisfied with how things went completely. I just think in general we need to get back to focusing on ourselves and being the team we are capable of being. We can be a lot better than this."
(on his personal progress)"I'm feeling good. I'm getting back in the flow, in terms of getting back my timing, my stamina. Week in, week out, I just need to continue to do the things necessary to get me back. There is a long-term strategy in place for me to come back to my fullest as the season progresses."