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Ravens-Dolphins Post-Game Quotes (1/20)


Opening statement: "I appreciate everybody being here. [I] just want to start off with this. This is something that was said to me before the game. It just was meaningful to me, so I'm going to share it with you because I think it's the right thing to do. It's a [Bible] verse – 'Greatness, power, glory, victory and honor belong to you, because everything in heaven and on earth belongs to you. The Kingdom belongs to you, Lord. You are the head and the ruler over everything.' There's an amazing spirit on this team, and I just want to give honor and glory where it's due. With that, [it's the] first-ever AFC Championship game played in Baltimore since 1970 when John Sandusky, [WBAL-TV sports director and Ravens Radio play-by-play announcer] Gerry Sandusky's dad, was the offensive line coach here [with the Baltimore Colts]. We're excited about that, and our fans are going to get the chance to cheer just as loud or louder than they did in this game. They were amazing. [There were] six false start penalties [on the Houston Texans]. I thought our fans were incredible. It was deafening out there. Credit to our fans, first of all. Coaches and players I thought did a great job. Second-half adjustments were really strong, and Lamar [Jackson] just played out of his mind along with our defense. Everybody did. [I'm] proud of our guys. [It's the] first step. [The] next step is in front of us, and we find out who we play after tomorrow. We're looking forward to it."

What was the locker room like at halftime, and what was said?*(Sal Paolantonio)* "The locker room was good. I think everybody was kind of a little edgy. We were all a little edgy. I talked to [the players] last night. I don't even know how we feel. None of us know how we feel. We're excited for the opportunity, but we're edgy, and we're mad. We have a lot to prove, and I thought that was the feeling in the locker room at the game. Everybody just took a deep breath and said, 'Alright, it's 0-0. [We] gave up a big punt return, and it's our game to go win. We have to go take it.'"

Over the past two weeks, did that memory of the 2019 AFC Divisional round loss to the Tennessee Titans linger in your mind and to those that were on that team?*(Kyle Goon)* "I don't know. It's a good question. I just think for those who were here, it's not something you forget, but it wasn't really at the forefront of our minds. It's just a different team. It's a different opponent, but it's not something that you want to experience again. We've been through it once before, so it's probably part of it."

How about the defense with their dominating effort?*(Cordell Woodland)* "The defense was just as good as it could be. That's a good offense over there. That's a good quarterback. C.J. Stroud deserves a lot of credit. They're very well coached. Their offensive line is really good and tough. It's tough to get to the quarterback. Then, he gets out and starts rolling around [and] starts making plays downfield. I thought our guys chased him, and I thought we plastered [their receivers] downfield. Our coverage was just outstanding. We covered as long as we needed to so many times. He still made some really good throws. [They] have a heck of a running back [in Devin Singletary]. I thought our defense was just as good as it could be."

What did you need to change when making second half adjustments at halftime?*(Jeff Zrebiec)* "We talked about just [having better] pass rush lanes. We talked about what defenses we were going to be in. Offensively, we talked about completions and about our profit game. Let's get the thing going [and] not try and push the ball downfield quite as much. I think it also helped open up the run game. Lamar [Jackson] did a great job. A lot of that was his thinking as well. He was all over it – what we felt we needed to do in the second half. [It was a] collaborative effort, for sure. [Offensive coordinator] Todd [Monken] deserves a lot of credit. I thought he called a great game, especially in the second half. [Defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] was on fire."

Coming into the game, did you get a sense that you would get this kind of performance from QB Lamar Jackson?*(Jamison Hensley)*"Yes, I really did. We talked about it. I thought Lamar [Jackson] was going to play great, but he's played great all year. Just now, it's more important than ever. He's been locked in from Day 1. That's his term, and we've all ran with it. I think he's directed this whole thing. Like he said, we have more work to do."

Were you surprised how much the Houston Texans' defense blitzed?*(Jeff Zrebiec)* "No, not at all, because they had success doing it the first game [in Week 1]. They picked their spots. They've been a good blitz team. We expected it. We prepared for it. We worked on blitz stuff for two weeks, and Lamar [Jackson] did a great job [against it]. The offensive line did a great job. We had our moments. We had to make a few adjustments in terms of how we were picking [the blitzes] up. They changed up a couple things for this game, too. We had to flip our protections."

What kind of adjustments were made to beat the blitzes in the second half?*(Mike Preston)* "I think we just did a better job getting the ball out on time. I think [offensive coordinator] Todd [Monken] called a different game. It wasn't so much hold the ball and try to push the ball downfield, which Lamar [Jackson] did a good job. Once Lamar was able to sit back there [in the pocket] and just pick [the defense] apart and get the ball out quick, he just did a great job with that and then took control of the game."

How many more dances do you have left after your latest dance in the locker room?*(Jerry Coleman)* "It wasn't me. It was everybody. [Tight ends coach] George Godsey started it off, because he wanted [them to play] 'Party Train' by The Gap Band. I don't know what song it was. I should know that song. It's my era. George got it started, and we all got in there and danced. I just want you to know that it wasn't just me."

Is there an injury update to RB Gus Edwards after he left the game, and what did you think of RB Dalvin Cook's performance?*(Bo Smolka)* "Gus [Edwards] is OK. I thought Dalvin [Cook] was really a spark. He did a nice job of finishing the thing off at the end when we needed to run the clock out." (Bo Smolka: How about RB Justice Hill's performance?) "Justice [Hill] had a great game. Justice had so many runs throughout the game, and at the end [he had] a couple hard runs. I told Justice, 'Man, you're really, really talented but your heart's even bigger.'"

How meaningful is it for this team to be the first in franchise history to host an AFC Championship game?*(Rocco DiSangro)* "It's meaningful, and now we have to get to work and go win [the AFC Championship]. That's the challenge."

With regards to that edginess the team plays with, is this win over the Texans in the AFC Divisional round an albatross off the team's back?*(Kyle Goon)* "Our guys are going to stay edgy. I don't know whatever you want to call it, but they're determined, and they're motivated. It's going to be a great team coming in here [to face us in the AFC Championship] next week, and we're going to have to play our best football. I promise you that's all these guys are going to be thinking about."

What happened on the Texans' punt return for a touchdown?*(Kyle Phoenix)* "Jordan [Stout] will probably tell you it wasn't one of the greatest punts he's ever had. It was into the wind. It was really a tough punt. The drop was tough. [It] got into [Steven Sims'] hands fast. We were skewed to the left more, because we thought it would go left more. I thought [the Texans] blocked it really well. He's a great returner. I'm proud of the fact that the rest of the game, we got it under wraps. I give them a lot of credit. That's a very good special teams unit, and it was a great return by them."

Why do you think the designed runs for QB Lamar Jackson were so effective even knowing there were always going to be eyes on him?*(Jonas Shaffer)* "Yes, but you have to put eyes on the other guys, too, because our offensive line blocks. The downhill runs were effective, and then you have to put a lot of resources into stopping those runs. They should give the offensive line and the running backs credit for forcing all that attention inside. Lamar [Jackson] is so good getting the ball back outside."


On how it feels to make it to a conference championship game:"Oh, it feels great. All praise to the most high. Praise to God for allowing me to be here with this group of men. I was on the couch about six months ago – five [or] six months ago. This is a blessing – to be here right now – from looking back at where I was six months ago."

On the difference in the second half:"I mean, we started playing our style of football. [We were] shutting stuff down on the defensive side, and the boys started getting it going in the run game on offense, and everything started coming together."

On the City of Baltimore last hosting an AFC Championship game over 50 years ago:"Oh my God. I didn't know that. *(laughter) *That's crazy. I guess we're all in the same boat. We all want that special thing around here, and I'm just glad to be a part of it and chasing it with this group of guys together. So, shoutout to the squad." *(laughter) *

On the fans' energy tonight:"Oh, yeah. It was crazy. I loved it. We're going to need them next week. I love you all, fans. You all keep bringing that energy. You all keep us in the game [and] keep us going. We're doing it for you all and our families. So, shoutout to them for coming, showing up and supporting."


On being here on this night and in this locker room:"This feels great. It feels amazing. You just have to appreciate the moments. I just thank the Baltimore Ravens, the whole organization, for bringing me in and putting me around these great people. From the moment I got here, you can feel the energy. They welcomed me with open arms."

On getting on the field and making a big run:"It felt great to help the team in any way. Like I've said all week, I don't care what my role is. If I get a chance to help this team, I'll do it any way I can. That's my motto."

On this team's culture:"That's the thing. Everybody loves being around each other. I've been on some good teams, and you enjoy going to work when you are on a good team. But this team is something special. We just genuinely enjoy each other. That's a good trait to have."

On the locker room at halftime:"There was nothing magical. Nobody came in and said anything except [Lamar Jackson]. He just came in here and said, 'Everybody get their energy right'. And that's it. We started to execute. The coaches didn't come in here and say anything special. It was just [Lamar Jackson], and he said, 'Let's go, 'O' [Offense].'"


On the offensive line:"Yes, I've got to thank [the offensive line] around me. They help me. They make my job easier. I just go out and do what I do. So, it's way easier on me."

On what clicked for him in the second half:"We knew what was going on. We just needed to get some plays to get us started. 'Duv' [Devin Duvernay] got us started, and we went from there."

On the message at halftime:"There wasn't really a message, because we knew what we had to do. It was just time to turn it on now. Like, 'Let's go. We've got to pull away.' And we knew [that the] defense was going to get stops. We just had to score the ball."

On experiencing his first playoff atmosphere at home:"It was fun, especially to be at 'The Bank' [M&T Bank Stadium]. You can't go wrong playing at 'The Bank.' It was one of best experiences so far, so let's keep it going."

On QB Lamar Jackson:"Lamar [Jackson] is a magician. Like, you're going to see him there, then you're going to see him in the end zone. So, I'll call him a magician, because you never know where he [is] going to be."

On the feeling after getting this win:"It was fun. Like, we danced a little bit, and we had a good time, but we still know we've got to win two more. And to win two more, you've got to go out, practice hard and execute everything you've got to."

On being on an offense that runs the ball so well:"It really makes it easy on receivers. [We] catch [some] balls [and] block, but the running backs are getting it done. I'm thankful for them. And we just added 'D-Cook' [Dalvin Cook], so it makes it easier for us."

On how he would describe QB Lamar Jackson's demeanor today:"I mean, [Lamar Jackson's] demeanor [has] been the same all year – from the first game. From the first game to the last game he played, he had the same demeanor. So, I wasn't expecting anything else from him [other than], 'We've got to win.' And he determined [that] he's going to do what he's got to do to win. So, we all just put everything on the field to try to win."

On if it's fair to say that the team was rusty in the first half:"I wouldn't call it rust. I would just say, we were getting our groove back. That's like not dancing for two years and then you're trying to get your groove back, and now you're dancing." (laughter) "So, we're back. We're back. We just had to get our groove back."

On if anything was said at halftime that helped the team find their groove again:"No, just, 'Play football. Do what we do best.' That was all."


On how he feels about his performance: "Amazing, man. We put in a lot of work. The O-line, Lamar [Jackson], defense, special teams – we all stepped up and helped this team win. That's really all you can ask for."

On how the team can prepare for next week's game: "It's nice that we don't have another bye week in between this, when you're just sitting on the edge of your seat, ready to play. But we're just going to continue to do what we've always done from Week 1 – just prepare, work on our details, work on our execution – and go out and win another game."

On how special it was to play in front of this crowd and bring a conference title game to Baltimore: "I love this city. This team, we love this city. We just want to be able to provide the excitement for the city. They show up. No matter if it's a road game or a home game, they're going to always show up for us, and they're going to cheer their butts off. So, we're going to continue to win for those guys."

On what it's like playing with QB Lamar Jackson:"I [haven't] ever played with somebody as special and talented as [Lamar Jackson], and he does it week in and week out, week in and week out. He's a winner – a bonafide winner. No matter what the situation is, I know he's going to make a play. I'm just glad he's on our team [and] not anybody else's."


On if the team was edgy or angry during halftime in the locker room and if the first drive in the second half allow him to exhale:"I was [angry]. We had no other choice – the offense as a unit. We just weren't putting points ... Well, we scored once. The first half, [we threw] the ball a couple times in the first half, but we didn't really have success. Our defense was playing lights out, but we're not responding. So, we just had to dial in at halftime. Like Coach [John Harbaugh] said, 'Get the ball out quick and let the defense play us honest,' and that's what we did."

On him saying he was more prepared for this game than he was before and if he felt like that showed up in the adjustments the team made in the second half:"I believe so."

On what he was feeling and what was said during halftime:"It would be inappropriate if I said it right here." (laughter) "But, we weren't really doing anything to their defense – they were playing great. That offense was playing great as well, but we weren't doing our job with out unit. In the second half, [we] started putting points on the board, started moving the ball, moving the chains and started looking at ourselves."

On the TD pass to TE Isaiah Likely and was he asking for it: "No. The receivers call for the ball, [and] the tight ends cough at the ball when they feel like they have it, so that's all he was doing. I feel like he was getting grabbed a little by No. 24 [Derek Stingley Jr.]. But I Just had to place the ball [and] throw it back shorter because he was undercutting, and he went up and made a great catch, and the rest is history."

On the team going to the AFC Championship game and if it's starting to feel like it's getting closer for him to hold the Lombardi Trophy:"No because we have to finish. It's still [the] playoffs. We're not in the dance yet, but I'm looking forward to next week, to be honest with you. I'm not even thinking about the Super Bowl until we handle business."

On it taking the half for the team to click and how much he thinks that's a result of almost three weeks of not playing a game and being back in the groove: "Everything can play a part in it. You can't just say ... We were rusty. It was windy, [and] it was cold as heck out there. Everything played a factor, but the thing about our team is we came out [in the] second half, and we did what we were supposed to do – put points on the board."

On how much control he had had this game compared to past playoff experience: "Definitely. I have the keys to the offense, and when I see it, I just try to put team in the best position that I could."

On going into the tunnel after his second rushing touchdown and what took him all the way back there and what was it like coming out of it:"I don't know what took me back there, but what happened when I came out, 'Mo' [Morgan Moses] got the camera [and] me and Ronnie [Stanley] were taking pictures. That's what happened when I came out [of] the tunnel. I just saw it, and I was off to the races." 

On if he was surprised the Texans defense blitzed as much: "No, I wasn't surprised. They were having success [in the] first half with blitzing us, soft blitz and zero. They were doing their thing, but we watched a lot of film. We were prepared, we just made little mistakes protecting the blitz and getting the ball out on time. By [the] second half, I felt like we were doing what we were supposed to do."

On who did most of the talking at halftime in the locker room:"I did. A lot of cursing at halftime. That's why I said it was inappropriate." (laughter)

On what had OC Todd Monken's trust in him meant to him this week:"It means a lot for your [offensive coordinator] to trust in you to be out there and putting our team in a great situation. That's all I need, and we're going to go from there."

On if he has heard the media saying he's had only one playoff win and does that motivate him:"You know I heard that." (laughter) "I saw it. Yes, I see it, but it is what it is. I don't really care about what people say. I'm trying to win day in and day out. Every time I'm on that field, I'm trying to play to the best of my abilities. Those guys just had our team number in the past, but it's a different team. Like I've been saying, we just have to stay locked in on what's ahead of us."

On how the Texans defense blitz affected the offense:"When they were trying to disguise their blitz –or hold their blitz – I'm looking at the safeties, I'm looking at the linebackers, I'm looking at everything, and I'm getting the ball out. If they have a counter for their blitz, I have to account for it on my side, so I just have to do what I do [which] is dish the ball out to the guys that are open, and that's what we did."


On the atmosphere today:"Always, playing at M&T Bank Stadium is an experience. Hearing that crowd noise when the defense is out there, the excitement the crowd brings gives us that extra motivation and it is unbelievable."

On the difference on the offense between the first half and the second half of the game:"During halftime, the talk was that we knew we took their best shot. So, everybody got on the same page. Everybody was in high spirits and knew we had 30 minutes of ball left to play. We looked at it as if it was a 0-0 game and we just needed to go out and execute."

On how much they celebrate winning the divisional round: "This is my first playoff win as a Raven. So, it's definitely a blessing and I'll be joyful about it. But as we are always reminded, it's always about the next game and it is right around the corner. Our goal now is two games. We're blessed with this opportunity, and we are going to go out next week and take the next step."

On his touchdown catch:"It was a delayed corner route. [Derek] Stingley Jr. played it great, and he tried to play it over the top. So, I just threw my hand in the air and caught it at its high point."


On what it says about this defense that it only permitted three points without a sack or a turnover: "[It was] just resilient. They were driving the ball quite a few times, and we just stayed in there [and] held our ground – bend but don't break. Everybody locked in when we absolutely needed to. We got the job finished."

On if the way the defense hit set the tone: "Yes. That's how we're supposed to come out. That's how you're supposed to play the game. We don't shy away from that kind of stuff. There was a lot of jawing back and forth. Some people probably thought we shouldn't have been playing like that in the game. That's just what we do. We like that kind of stuff."

On his vantage point of the locker room during halftime:"We know what we're capable of, and we weren't putting that out on the field. When you have guys like Lamar [Jackson], who's upset about that kind of stuff, they usually don't tend to talk that much, but when he does, it's very vocal. You have to sit up and listen. The guy has something good to say, and he was rightfully so, in the right place to say what he said. That's when it's our job to just keep getting [the offense] the ball back and let them do what they do."

On if he had absolute faith that the defense would respond in the second half:"No doubt. We all know what we can do. That's why, [at] halftime, it got edgy, because we know what we can do – just saying, 'The game shouldn't be that close.' Give those guys respect and all the credit that they had to close like that."

On what QB Lamar Jackson's performance says about the player that he is:"[Lamar Jackson] isn't done yet. He has a lot left to prove. He wants to prove that. That's why he's so hungry. That's why you can see it in his eyes. You can see it in the way he talks [and] the way he's acting right now. He has a lot to prove, and he's going to prove that."

On if there's a different look or feel from QB Lamar Jackson this season than in the past: "Yes. [Lamar Jackson] has always been that same guy to me; it's just [at] another notch right now. He knows what's in reach, and we just have to take that one game at a time, one play at a time, one day at a time [and] one practice at a time. We'll be able to achieve that thing."

On if this was a game where he could feel that his team was well-rested and took it to a team in the Texans that were coming off a great game last weekend: "I don't really know, because we practiced. We don't practice soft, either. We had the pads on. We did what we had to do. That's a tough question, honestly. Me personally, I don't care about the rest. I think any week you get to suit up, you've had enough time to recover [and] do what you need to do. We got the advantage of that; cool, we earned it."

On how he would describe the gameplan against Texans QB C.J. Stroud after coming off such a great performance in the AFC Wild Card round against the Cleveland Browns: "Just do our job. [The Houston Texans] like to take shots. They like to do a lot of gimmick stuff to get guys open. [The] Cleveland [Browns] just had bad eyes. They were doing a lot of stuff. They just really had bad eyes late in the downs. That's what we just did. We just played smart, played to our rules and did what we had to do."

On if the plan was to get QB C.J. Stroud on the move and off balance: "Definitely. Any time you've got a guy like that, who can put the ball anywhere, you've got to get to him. And give those guys up front credit, because we weren't blitzing a whole lot – four-man rush – and getting there. So, I give those guys a lot of credit up front."

On the crowd's influence on the Texans' offense: "Yes, it got loud. It got loud quite a few times. You could see [that] they had some false starts here and there. That's how we need 'The Bank' [M&T Bank Stadium]. We need it rocking like that every time."


On if he stepped up his pregame speech:"I did not. It was just from the heart, and I felt that it was just what the guys needed to hear, and I delivered. We got the job done out on the field."

On what it meant to allow only 3 defensive points during a playoff game: "We know who we are, deep down, each and every guy in this locker room. So, all we have to do is go out and play to the best of our abilities. And if we do that, nobody can touch us. If we get complacent, then people can hang with us. That's the mindset we have. It's about being consistent."

On the physicality of the defense early that set the tone:"At the end of the day, they're grown men as well. But I know my motto is, hit everything that moves. And I throw that out to the defense, and the defense feels the same way. It's about imposing your will on your opponent throughout the game and nine times out of 10, they will break. That's just human nature. That's who we are, and we just have to do what we can do to the best of our abilities. If we do that, that's all she wrote."

On the doubters because of past playoff experiences: "If I'm not mistaken, there are 11 people on our offense, 11 people on our defense, and 11 people on our special teams that play, and so no one else matters. They don't put the pads on, so who cares what they have to say? At the end of the day, it's just an opinion. Everybody has them. But none of that matters to us in this locker room, and honestly, I don't really think too much about it."

On the loud home crowd advantage: "I know it's going to be rocking next week in the AFC Championship game. But it was huge today. Coming to the M&T Bank Stadium, I was a witness to it last year, how loud and how hostile the environment can be as well as this year. They love their football and the way they come out; I don't know what they could be on. Maybe it's liquid courage. *(laughter) *But they got at the top of their lungs, and it's definitely a big part for us. And I was talking to some of the edge rushers earlier in the week and they enjoy it even more because knowing the snap counts is going to be more predictable when it is that loud. So, make sure you guys come out loud as crap next week."

On what it means to be one game away from the Super Bowl: "Next game up. So, that is our mission. We do what we do, but it's going to take one week at a time. So, whoever we play next week, they are coming to M&T Bank. And as I said before, whoever comes here has to get dealt with. There is a villain to every story, and we have a Cinderella story. So, on to the next."

On stopping the Houston Texans' running game:"That was huge. All week we talked about stopping the run and that is with any team. If you stop the run and make a team one dimensional, it's going to be very hard to do anything. And that is a credit to the big dogs up front. I think we have the best front seven in football starting with our four up front and then the best two combo in the league, me and [Patrick Queen] in the middle. So, when you look at it like that, you stop the run, make them one dimensional, that's when we let the ball hawks in the back make the plays that they do."


On what the performance means: "This is what we knew what we could do. I don't think anybody in this locker room is surprised about how we played today. It just shows you the work that we put in last week [and] all season. But yes, we weren't surprised."

On keeping the Texans' offense out of the end zone:"They made big plays against other teams, but we knew they didn't have a chance if we eliminated big plays, and we did that today. We just played our style of football, played with good eyes, good communication and [made] it hard on everybody on the field."

On what the message at halftime:"Nobody panicked. Going to halftime, it was 10-10. Yes, nobody panicked. We knew that we got their best shot in the first half, but we just needed to get in a rhythm on defense."

On what QB Lamar Jackson means to the team: "Shoot. [Lamar Jackson] is the head of the snake. He's just making this whole thing go. He's the MVP for a reason. I think once again, he showed it today. What he does out there is phenomenal. It's special. He's a special player, but yes. That's crazy."

On what it means to host the first AFC Championship game in franchise history:"It's crazy. I'm going to enjoy this one first, but the city deserves it. We're playing for the city. Baltimore deserves it. But I'm excited. I'm excited."


On how difficult the kicking conditions were because of the wind:"The wind was definitely a factor today. I'm glad we were able to knock down the kicks that we did have today, and like you said, especially to just get us started, to catalyze the momentum and scoring. Tyler [Ott] did an excellent job of throwing back 12 o'clock laces. Jordan [Stout] got the ball spotted pretty quickly and accurately, and [we] were just able to follow through on the ball, pick a target and commit to it. In that direction, it was a little bit easier to navigate. Going to the right of our bench was ... It was just a matter of picking a target line close to the middle and then striking the ball as solidly as possible. On the PATs and field goal we had at the end of the game, going that direction, it was definitely a little bit more of a challenge, but that's something we expect when we play in our stadium. I don't know if I would necessarily call it an advantage of ours. I'll let any and everybody else say that, because I'm just focused on making one kick at a time when we're out there [and] when we have the opportunity. Fortunately, we were able to come through for our team today in a significant way."

On being the last player left from the Ravens' 2012 Super Bowl team and if he expects guys to talk to him about that experience: "You just have to stay focused on the task at hand, stay focused on one game at a time, and then break it down into smaller parts than that. That's something that we've been talking about the whole season. Our team leadership and everybody ... I don't think I can leave out a name when I talk about team leadership. It's part of the reason why we don't put the 'C's on our jerseys, because everybody in this room is respected or whatever version of leadership that they bring to the table. That all [being] said, our leadership, like the veteran guys, the heartbeat of our team – Lamar Jackson, Roquan Smith, Patrick Queen [and] Kevin Zeitler. Again, I could name every person in this room. We've all talked about taking it one step at a time, one play at a time, one meeting at a time [and] one pain-staking training camp practice at a time, knowing that we have the potential to put ourselves on a glorious road, to put all of our fingerprints on Tiffany Silver in a few weeks. That's something that we have talked about. It's real, and it's out there for the taking. This team I think is built to handle the challenge accordingly."


On the Texans' only TD occurring on special teams:"It is what it is. This team, we have a next-play mentality. Those plays are going to happen in games like this. But our team, we have a warrior's mentality; whatever happens, happens. [The] offense played well, defense played well [and] special teams still played well, even after that."

On the crowd's energy today:"It's big. Having our crowd behind us [on] big plays, big stops, it's amazing. And this energy here, it's contagious, and it just helps us on the field more and more."

On if he was aware that the City of Baltimore last hosted an AFC Championship game over 50 years ago:"I am now. But it's time for us to come out here and do our job next week. We're going to go in the film room, watch what we did and come back next week getting ready to go."

On how the adversity faced during the season, including the schedule, travel and difficult opponents, helped prepare them for the playoffs:"I mean, we knew what we signed up for this year. We started off in training camp talking about what the year was going to look like, and we just put our head down and continued to grind and continued to work hard. And we come out here in the games, and we just take it one play at a time, one step at a time [and] one game at a time. That's what we do."

On when it felt like the team had full momentum today:"It was 0-0. It's always 0-0. You come out from halftime, and you just get in it and continue to – play after play – do what you've got to do to make plays. Our offense did a great job, our defense did a great job, and we came out with the victory."

On where this ranks amongst the best defensive performances of the season:"We want to take the ball away, but three points [allowed], we'll be happy with that."

On if it's even more impressive to limit an opponent to three points without getting takeaways:"Yes, we just do our job. Our coach [defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald] calls a good game, and we just come out here and do what we've got to do to get off the field."

On if the plan was to force QB C.J. Stroud off his spot:"I mean, we've got guys everywhere who are doing their job, and if [C.J.] Stroud runs off his spot, that's because we've got guys rushing him, and we've got guys covering. Rush and coverage work together."


On starting slow but finishing strong in the second half: "We started off sluggishly in the first half, but we had [some] days off; sometimes it happens. I'm just proud of our team. We were able to turn it on in the second half."

On what he's seeing from QB Lamar Jackson this year: "Lamar [Jackson] is a special talent who is a great guy, a great leader and just watching him flourish, it inspires everyone else on the team to push even harder."

On reaching the AFC Championship game next week:"It's an excellent opportunity. We know we're going to have a hell of an opponent, no matter who it is next week, and we're going to have to make sure we focus in this week and bring our 'A' game. Even though we had a good half, what we did today won't get it done next week."

On the feeling in the locker room and the celebration:"It's big. Playoff games – you never know what's going to happen. Things could happen at any given time, and obviously, we were able to pull it out, so we're going to celebrate this right now, and we'll figure it out going forward."

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