HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
(opening statement) "OK, thanks for coming out; Merry Christmas Eve. What questions do you have?"
(on if he wants to watch the end of the Bengals-Patriots game)"I shouldn't; I'm on a hot mic right now. (laughter)"
(on his thoughts on putting this game away)"Yes, it was just a really important game. As Gus [Edwards] just said, these games are all playoff football from here on out. This is a really valuable game. This is something that we talked to our guys about; when you win games in September and October and into November, then you put yourself in position to win meaningful games in December. Meaningful games in December are just hugely valuable, as you can see, as you know. Then, you have an opportunity – when you win them – they really count for something. To do that tonight, the last few weeks, it's tough; it's hard to win. Teams in this league are really good, and that was a very physical team we played. We're very, very happy with this victory."
(on the physicality of this game on both sides of the ball) "That's the thing; I think they deserve the credit. It's players – it's players who win games. You guys all want to watch the end of this [Bengals-Patriots game], huh? (SVP of Communications Chad Steele: "That's it; that was 4th-and-15.") Alright, alright. Players win games. I think that as Gus [Edwards] said, you win, and you lose as a team. So, to see our guys come through, I think this team as stuck together. They've had each other's backs all season. All the other stuff, and the criticism, and the noise and the harshness of some of it, is just how it goes. It's what we sign up for when you're involved in this, and it's OK. The point is that you stick together, and you find a way to get better in every kind of single area. So, right now where we're at, I'm excited about where we're at because I feel that when we really get going, we can kick this thing into gear maybe at the right time. We've been fighting for that; we keep fighting for that every single week. So, let's keep trying to get where we want to be in terms of how we play, but along the way, you have to win games. The physicality – to your point – the physicality is what won that game."
(on officially clinching a playoff berth)"Yes, are we? (SVP of Communications Chad Steele: "Yes.")Oh, OK. It feels great. Yes, great. Congratulations to our guys; to clinch the playoffs with two games left is pretty remarkable. It's not done too often, and it's something to be really proud of. I'm really happy with that. It will probably sink in tonight later."
(on if QB Lamar Jackson was close to playing this week and if clinching a playoff berth affects their approach to playing him over the last two weeks)"I haven't thought about that; players play when they're healthy and ready to go; that's really all we do. When the player and the docs come back and say, 'Hey, it's time,' then [as] coaches, we build him into the gameplan. That's really how [it works]. To think about it beyond that is just kind of a waste of energy and time. All the players – including Lamar [Jackson] – Lamar is working very hard to get back. The trainers are working very hard to get him back. I'm optimistic in so many ways, but focused on our team and the next gameplan with who we have, really."
(on what it says about this team to have overcome so many things on its way to clinching a playoff berth) "It says a lot, thanks for asking that and pointing that out, because I feel like this is a high-character team. [Ravens owner] Steve Bisciotti often says, 'Character is always rewarded in the end.' I feel like in games like this, you see that character rewarded because they put the work in every single day, [and] they never bat an eye. Yes, they get frustrated, they get disappointed, they want things to go smoother sometimes, but they stick together bottom-line, and they work really hard. To see them rewarded with an early clinch in the playoffs, heck yes. That's something very notable and to be excited about."
(on the big passing plays today and the passing game in general)"A lot of different things. I thought we made some huge plays. Mark [Andrews] obviously, and they're doubling him out there. 'Snoop' [Tyler Huntley] found some guys. We had a great scramble play to Sammy [Watkins] down the right side. I thought we really made some plays, and the rest of it is going to continue to come together and get better. You just have to do what you have to do in a given game to win. Our defense played phenomenal – the run game was great – but our defense played phenomenal. Our defense gave up how many points, right? And to do it in a way – that's a good offense; that's a hard-running offense. You can see how powerful that wide-zone scheme is. We hung in there, we made tackles when we had to, none of them [runs] got out on us. Then, we were able to get them stopped at the end. Third downs, fourth downs, goal-line plays, to get those stops in those critical situations speaks to the point that was being made back there in the back of the room just a second ago."
(on DT Justin Madubuike having a big game with DE Calais Campbell out)"I do. I'll going to tell you what; he's been playing great all year to be honest with you. He's been dominant, really. He's twitchy, fast, powerful. [Justin] Madubuike played great. I thought our edge setters played great, you know who those guys are; I could name them all. How about Travis [Jones]; Travis came in and played really well in this game. I thought Isaiah Mack came in and played very well, to give you another name. All the defensive linemen. Broderick Washington always plays a physical style of football. So, [I] really like those guys."
(on Marlon Humphrey's performance today, including his FF)"Yes, that was classic Marlon Humphrey; [it was] great to see. He got the tough assignment; he got [Drake] London. He was following him all over the field, and that's a tough job. The dude's 6-foot-5, and he's really good and the quarterback and he have a connection. So, Marlon had a heck of a game. I thought Bandon Stephens came in and played very well, to be commended, coming in for Marcus Peter. The safeties are playing well, [Kyle] Hamilton. Of course, Marcus Williams and Chuck [Clark]. There's nothing going really deep on us. It's hard to throw the ball down the field on those safeties right now, so I feel really good about our entire defense."
(on if there's any commonality between why the defense keeps giving up points right before halftime)"After a while, you start to think, but it's been like … There was a penality on that one, there was a block in the back on a screen that wasn't called. It's plays that keep drives alive, and they've been kind of these things where you look back and you go, 'Wow.' Or, it's great throws and catches; last week there were a couple throws and catches that were kind of eye openers, like, 'Wow, this guy picked one off the ground.' You don't want to overreact either. You start overreacting, and then you start making mistakes by changing things you shouldn't change. So, I'm not too worried about it, but all of our guys would like to see those stops."
(on if this was one of the coldest games he's been a part of)"The one in Green Bay was colder; do you remember the one in Green Bay a few years back? That was colder, but maybe I didn't have as good clothes. I have to commend our equipment staff; we had some really warm equipment, so it was good. You know what, the fans. How about all the fans that came to the game today? It's Christmas Eve day, it's zero degrees. It's not exactly ideal outdoor sport weather, unless you're an ice fisherman or something. Who'd really want to do that? I don't think that's about fishing anyway, is it? (laughter)Maybe coming to the game isn't either; I don't know, but [I'm] really, really, really proud of our fans. They were loud, they were into it. It was a smaller crowd, but it was a really loud crowd, and I'm really grateful for those fans."
(on what QB Tyler Huntley leading the team to a 3-1 record says about him)"It speaks for itself, it really does. I think what Gus [Edwards] said is right; it's a team effort, and Tyler [Huntley] has led the team. He's played the position very well. He played a really solid game today; he made throws when he needed to make them, orchestrated the run offense. A lot of that stuff is the quarterback making checks at the line too, sometimes that goes unnoticed. [He] had some quarterback runs that were tough runs. [I am] just very proud of Tyler Huntley."
(on RB J.K. Dobbins not having any carries after the halfway mark in the third quarter)"No, that just kind of got to be a Gus [Edwards] deal at that point in time. Gus was coming downhill. J.K. [Dobbins] could have been in there probably. When he was in there, maybe we threw it; I don't know what happened, but it wasn't any kind of the plan other than we were running some zone plays, and I think those kind of fit Gus in a certain way. Those guys are a real nice one-two punch."
(on if he emphasized winning to clinch a playoff berth to the team this week)"Yes, we let them know. We talked about that, and then we said, 'What's the bottom line? What are we going to concern ourselves with?' and they all said, 'We have to win. We have to win, and to win, we need to play our best football game to date.'
"I'll probably just finish with one thing if you guys would just ... It's Christmas Eve night. So, I want to [share] just one scripture verse, if I could, and then just say something. So, 'Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests.' That verse was made popular, by the way, by Charlie Brown and by Linus, would you guys agree with that? Linus said that. It's pretty meaningful. Then, I just want to say tonight, for all of our team, our organization, we are grateful. We are grateful for the people God has put in our lives – the fans, each other, the media, our opponents – and the journey that our creator has carried us on. We're grateful to celebrate this most holy night, for the gift of salvation, to ponder and wonder that our creator would show us the love and the relationship that was made for us by becoming as us in all our humanity and reaching down and grabbing us and holding us up in his perfect love. That's what we celebrate tonight. Please everybody have a blessed and holy Christmas Eve and a very Merry Christmas."
QB TYLER HUNTLEY
(on if he felt that he had more of a rhythm in the pass game)"Yeah, you could say that. We got a good rhythm going, but really our run game, our defense did a great job today."
(on if there was an effort to take more deep shots in the pass game) "They just gave us some good looks to throw it down field. In previous weeks, teams have been doing a good job of trying to keep everything in front of them, but they gave us good looks to throw the ball down field. But no, we have shots in every week's play calls."
(on his touchdown pass to WR Demarcus Robinson) "It felt great. Just scoring touchdowns, period, is like tears of joy. It meant a lot to our defense, how much they are working hard to not let other teams score and then we punch it in the endzone. It plays a great role in that."
(on how his shoulder felt while playing in the cold) "It was cold, and it definitely held up. We played four quarters, got the win, so that's all."
(on being proud of keeping the offense on track with the absence of QB Lamar Jackson) "With a great player like Lamar [Jackson] and what he brings to the NFL, that's missed on the field. We just go about trying to win 1-0 on the weekend. We just keep chewing away at that every week."
(on his expectations for the offense and where it is headed) "Well, we're 10-5. That's where we're at, 10-5. I think if a couple [teams] lose or win, we're in the playoffs today and it's a Merry Christmas. That's where our offense is at."
(on if the team has kept track with the Bengals and the playoff standings) "No, we're just playing the game. No, not really."
TE MARK ANDREWS
(on the old school style of Ravens football today) "It was good Ravens football. Shoutout to the defense who had a great game. Special teams and all that. But when you get a day like this, cold weather, and adverse conditions, anytime you come out victorious, it's a good win."
(on the cold weather) "Personally, I don't really care. I'll play in anything and I've played in worse. Both teams have to deal with it. Obviously, it's a factor, but we're just glad to get the win."
(on what it meant to get that red zone touchdown in the first half) "Good moment, just finally able to push it in. [Demarcus Robinson], good catch, Tyler [Huntley] good throw. Just trying to build off that, continue to put the ball in the endzone and good things will happen."
(on the length of time the offense was off the field between the second and third quarter) "Yes, I was talking about that on the sideline. I think we were off the field for about an hour. That's a little bit unusual, but the guys did a good job of staying warm, staying ready, and that's not an easy thing to do on a day like this. The wind, the chill, and all that stuff makes it hard, but that was good to see. And shoutout to the defense, because they were on the field for a long time, and then they stopped them deep."
(on the celebration in the locker room after getting their 10th win today) "There's a lot of hard work that we put in to get where we're at right now. So, it's taking advantage of that and not looking too far forward. Just taking it each week at a time, and as we move towards the playoffs, it's about being the most well-rounded team we can be."
(on the running game pulling off runs of 10 or more yards)"The backs that we have right now are seeing the hole very well, they hit it at the right time, and everybody else in front of them are working. The guards are pulling, the tackles are working hard, it's everybody. It's the receivers outside, the tight ends are doing a lot. It's just guys continuing to work, and that's just the type of team we have. We have guys willing to do the dirty work to get big plays."
S CHUCK CLARK
(on what he saw from the Falcons' offense that allowed for a productive day defensively)"I think we just had to play the type of day it was – battling the elements. We knew it was going to be a little bit different ball game, and we had to just be physical, for real, honestly. And just get our job done."
(on what it means to clinch a playoff berth)"It's huge for us. We got to finish out the regular season strong and we know we got one more guaranteed game. That's all we wanted though, is to get one more guaranteed [game] and keep moving from there."
(on the focus of finishing off these last two games strong, despite already clinching a playoff berth)"Winning these last two division games ... [If] we get the division, we know that'll help set us up in even better position. So, we're trying to get it here at 'The Bank' [M&T Bank Stadium] for that first playoff game."
RB GUS EDWARDS
(on how it felt to end the game on the ground and run as they wanted) "I feel like we ran well the entire game. Everybody had the, 'Had-to'. The O-line wanted to run the ball and we did it with purpose today, and I'm really proud of the guys for doing that."
(on if he feels healthier as the weeks go on) "Yes, I feel like I'm definitely approaching where I want to be. It's been hard; It's been a long ride, but I've got my running mate with me, J.K. [Dobbins], and we're just pushing each other out there and building off of each other."
(on if he likes running in the cold weather) "I'm from New York. I'm kind of used to these games, but whatever comes you've got to be prepared for it. We had no choice but to run the ball today. A lot of guys don't want to tackle in those conditions, and we did a good job doing that."
(on if the running backs were excited to run the ball 11 times on the touchdown drive) "It's great, it's great. Like I said earlier, the whole offense kind of had that, 'Had-to.'. Everybody wanted to run the ball today, and we did it with purpose and kind of tag teamed them too, so it was a great feeling."
(on the pride he has when the running game has late-season success) "I love it, I love it. It's a great feeling when your number is called upon and you're able to produce. That's what we get paid to do. I feel like we're at a good spot right now run game wise, and as an offense we're going to keep getting better as the time comes. Every game from now on is like a playoff game, and we have to just fight, keep fighting and building off of where we're at."
(on QB Tyler Huntley's performance the past few games and the offense not playing to its standard last week) "When we lose it's not on one person; we lose as a team. We're all on the field together. We all could have done something better the last game, but we won today, on Christmas Eve. We have to enjoy this one and keep going off of it."
(on having RB J.K. Dobbins as a running mate) "I think we push each other. As a unit, we kind of have similar styles. J.K. [Dobbins] is very good between the tackles. I don't think he gets enough credit for that. He breaks a lot of tackles, and when I see him out there making those runs, making stuff happen, it motivates me to go out there and produce too."
S KYLE HAMILTON
(on the defensive performance today) "The past few weeks, and today especially, our defense has been showing up. We get in situations that seem tough in the game, whether they're on a two-minute drive or in the red zone, but we've been bowing up every week."
(on the secondary depth and guys stepping up in other's absence) "That's expected in our 'DB' [defensive back] room. I feel like we have one of the deepest rooms in the league, and everybody is talented enough to perform and make plays. There's not a drop off in the room at any position if somebody goes down."
(on the weather conditions)"It's more between plays that's worse. I don't think it really affects your actual play, and our equipment staff does a great job on the sideline of keeping us warm. We have heated benches and [other] heaters and stuff like that. So, really, the only time when your cold is when you're out on the field, so I think we do a good job with that."
(on embracing his unique role on defense) "I've never been the type of guy to say, 'I'm playing this position and this position only.' I want to do whatever I can to help the team, whether that's running down on kickoff, blocking on punt return or playing in the slot. Whatever the team needs me to do … And I know, like I just said, we have a really deep 'DB' [defensive back] room, so I'm just trying to get in where I fit in at this point."
DT JUSTIN MADUBUIKE
(on the defense playing well and not allowing a touchdown)"I think it's just well executed football on defense, us just believing in each other. Communicating, especially during the fourth quarter when everybody is tired, heavy-winded. I feel like everybody believed in each other and we got the job done by just executing, by just playing, technique."
(on playing in the cold weather today) "It's cold! It was cold. One of my coldest games I've played, but you know, we were warm. Took care of ourselves and stayed warm on the sidelines so we would be able to execute on the field."
(on whether he felt more responsibility on defense with DE Calais Campbell not playing)"A little bit, for sure. He's one of our best players on the team. When he was down, I know that on the defensive line, we have to step up, and I feel like we did that tonight. I feel like we had done that, for sure. Executed at a high level, especially in the fourth quarter, having great knock-out punches on fourth down and third down. So, yeah, for sure."
(on if the defense had set goals to achieve for the game) "Every team that we play, we always want to knock out the run. We take pride in that as a defense. I feel like we did that. There was a little bit of runs here and there, but I feel like we executed definitely when the stretch came down to it."
ILB PATRICK QUEEN
(on starting fast and defending the run) "We started fast, and that's what we've been preaching – start the game with a kill and end with a kill. Credit to them; they were running the ball really good on us, and it got to the point where we just had to stop it. We had to bow up in the red zone, in our red zone, so it came down to us being able to get stops in the red zone."
(on the third-down stop on a Cordarrelle Patterson sweep) "We just knew when they came up to the line, and [Desmond] Ridder came up to the line and made the check. We just knew he wasn't about to be sneaking the ball. 'Ro' [Roquan Smith] and 'Marlo' [Marlon Humphrey] made a good play and Chuck [Clark] got the ball out, which was really a forced fumble. We just made a play."
(on what it means to tough it out in difficult weather conditions) "It means a lot. There is a lot at stake, and we know that we control our own destiny. So, I think it's just a testament to this team – how we come out and just want to battle."
ILB ROQUAN SMITH
(on how it feels to be in the playoffs) "Oh really? That's pretty awesome. You know that's what we play the game for to be one of those teams that make it to the playoffs. That's where the chase to the Super Bowl starts, you know, getting to the playoffs. Just one game at a time, you know, that's great. Happy to be in there. Just got to keep chopping away."
(on the hope of going to the playoffs when he was traded to the Ravens) "Absolutely. When I heard that I was getting traded here, besides my heart dropping for a minute not knowing where I was going ... Then I heard Ravens, I knew every year this team has a chance at competing for the playoffs, regardless of if I was here or not. So, just knowing I was coming here surrounded by a lot of good teammates, you know, and the coaching staff is amazing. I'm just happy to be here, but we're just getting started."
(on not allowing a touchdown today as a defense) "I think we are playing really good. But I always think there is room for improvement. I think there are little things that we can clean up. You know, we just can't get complacent and just have to learn from the mistakes we made out there today. But, it was an awesome job of us, sticking together, bending but not breaking. I've got a lot of respect for the guys inside the room and all over the defensive side of the ball."
(on if the cold bothered him at all since he played in Chicago) "Yeah, it didn't really have an effect. I heard a couple of guys talking about the storm. I thought it would actually be a little colder than what it was, but when you have those heated benches and then you have your Vaseline, everything like that, it's pretty good normally."
(on the goal line stop at the end of the game) "Yeah, I knew he wasn't going to sneak because we had some guys inside of both gaps. Then, I knew he was saying he was checking back and reloading to the original play. I figured it had to be something off tackle, so I wasn't quite sure. But, when they did it, I saw it [and] I just tried to do my best to get over there."
WR SAMMY WATKINS
(on the big first quarter catch for 40 yards) "It's just so great to be back in this town with this team, and I was so blessed to be able to make that big play in the fourth quarter. Just ran the route and my guy bit on it, and [Tyler Huntley] made a great throw. It feels so good to be able to contribute so quickly, especially when it led to points on that drive."
(on being back with the Ravens) "Man, I am so blessed. It was just a week ago I was sitting on my couch wondering who, if anybody, would call. And then to get the call and come back to a team that I have so much respect for, the organization, the people. I feel like there was a plan laid out for me and I'm so happy to be back, with a chance to go to the playoffs, and who knows what else."
(on describing where he was when he got the call) "It was crazy. I was in a not great situation where I was before, and I'm just sitting around and I get a call from Eric [DeCosta] asking me if I'd like to return, and of course the answer is, 'Yes.' I can't even describe how fortunate I am to be in this position with such a great organization."
(on today's game) "This is just what the Ravens do. They do whatever they have to do to win a game. They gut it out, play hard, and do whatever it takes. Offense, defense, special teams. Everybody plays a role on this team. They're hard to play against and easy to play for."