*Head Coach John Harbaugh *
Opening statement: "First of all with injuries, Bernard Pierce and Torrey Smith had concussions, so we'll have to check those out later this week. Tandon Doss twisted his ankle. We'll see how that is tomorrow. Albert [McClellan] had a hamstring issue, but he came back out there and played at the end. This is our loss, no less than the last three losses were our losses. We didn't get a very fast start. We had some self-inflicted issues around halftime. We had some self-inflicted issues. We couldn't get anything going until late, so that's where we are at. We understand that. We are going to work to improve. The most important thing to understand is that, and our guys understand this, every goal that we have, starting with our first goal which is to win the AFC North is in front of us. It's still there, and every dream that we have, which is the ultimate dream is still available to us. And that's what you keep in mind. It's a tough league for tough guys, and you have to find a way to put it behind you, improve, address the issues, own them and move on. That's what we plan on doing. That's really the message. It's going to be the message now. It's going to be the message next week. It's going to be the message going forward. That's where we are at, and that's how we see it. That's what we're planning on doing."
(on if he thought they were a stronger Broncos team than he thought they would be) "I really don't have any thoughts on that right now. I think the Broncos deserve credit. They are a very good team. They played very well and took advantage of some things … I thought the play at the end of the [first] half was a great play, obviously, jumping the flat-route. They are a heck of a team. They deserve credit."
(on if there was any thought on calling a timeout after WR Torrey Smith's catch at the end of the second quarter) "We talked about that, and we talked about time management … There were 34 seconds when the ball was snapped with three timeouts left that's going to give us time to run three plays. That's plenty of time. Throughout the course of the drive, we wanted to score, but we didn't want to leave a lot of time on the clock. That's a strategic call. We have a number of plays we run with no-huddle that are not kill-the-clock plays, but they are run-route plays, and that was the play we had. And we thought that gave us a great chance to score, and that's what we ran."
(on if he thought the pick-6 in the second quarter was a momentum changer in the game) "Sure. I think that's a big play. Any big play in a game like that is going to turn the momentum. It's a point swing."
(on whose call the Joe Flacco INT play came from) "That's coach's call. That's my call. We run that a lot. We've done that a lot this year. We've done it over the last few years. There's a number of play calls that we have in that situation. Joe [Flacco] is trying to stick it in there for a touchdown. The kid made a great play. That's what happens. That's football."
(on the biggest factor of not having a first down for the first 21 minutes of the game) "We didn't do the things we needed to do to convert. We didn't run the ball well enough to get in third-and-shorts, and we didn't convert."
(on the assessment of offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell's performance) "I'm not into assessments right now. Everybody fought like crazy and did their best. We have a lot of capable people. It's not about that, and it's not going to be about that. You guys can talk about that. What we're going to do is we're going to work on achieving our dream, achieving our first goal. That's what we've been doing and that's what we have to do. We aren't going to get bogged down with that."
(on if there was thought to go for a two-point conversion on TE Dennis Pitta's second TD) "No."
(on regarding challenges this time of the year with injuries) "We understand that's part of it. You have to do whatever you can to overcome it, and that's what we've been doing. Getting healthy is going to be important for us. That's something that I think we are getting closer to doing. If we can get healthy and get strong down the stretch here, that will help us."
RB Ray Rice
(on how he thought the offense performed under offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell's first performance) "We didn't do really good. We didn't come out, we didn't execute. And, the way the defense played in the first half, and to hold Peyton Manning – I'm not sure what the numbers were – the defense played a heck of a game. It was our job to score. We'll take this one. We'll put it on our shoulders, and we'll get back to work. We have the New York Giants next week."
(on what kind of differences he noticed on the offense) "The plays were the same. The playbook was the same. Same play calls, we just didn't execute."
(on if he has talked to QB Joe Flacco about taking care of the ball) "I'm definitely not the quarterback. I'm definitely not giving the quarterback any advice. I run the football. It's my job to protect Joe [Flacco]. He has a great quarterback coach in Jim Caldwell. I'm sure coach Caldwell will give him that kind of advice."
(on having all of their goals still in front of them) "It feels awful [the loss], but it's about the team that gets hot right now. We're banged up. I don't know how many starters were out today. This team … We are trying to find our way back healthy right now. All we need to do is get one win. There is no sugarcoating. We're banged up a bunch. It's late in the year. It's not getting any easier. We either put it on our shoulders, get it fixed, or we'll weed ourselves out like the other teams in the league."
(on how much injuries affects execution) "We all practice. We're all professionals. We got many reps in training camp, so we always feel like the next man up is going to get the job done. That's not an excuse to get the job done. We have to get it together."
(on if he feels the playoffs are slipping away) "We just need one win, one win. We built a 9-2 record, but that's not the case right now. One win."
(on what he thinks it's going to take to get the next win) "It's going to take a collective game. We'll get down in the red zone and score. The thing about football is the offense can be playing really well and then the defense is not playing really well, it's lopsided. Today the defense was playing really well, and we didn't. Last week, it was the flipside. We have to find a way to come together and play as one unit. [We need to] feed off each other. When the offense is playing well, the defense is playing well and special teams [is playing well]. We need to try to some way correlate that and put it all together for one mission, because you see the teams with good offenses and their defense isn't correlating, their record shows. That's where we are at right now. One week we're hot, one week we're cold. We have to find that middle gap where we can put it all together. We need one game, and then the playoffs are right there. We'll get that one game, and then we're in The Dance. We'll get some guys back healthy, and we'll be ready to go."
TE Dennis Pitta
(on his long TD late in the game) "In that situation, it's always tough. That's the thing about this team, we just keep battling. It wasn't looking good, obviously, at that point in the ballgame. There's no quit in this team. We're not going to stop playing. We're going to keep going out and trying to put points on the board as best we can."
(on how concerned he is about the team's play)"I don't think it's concern. We've just got to be able to learn from this loss and the last two and do what we can to prepare ourselves and get a little bit better. This was kind of a crazy week for us, with all that went down, but bottom line is we just didn't execute as well as we would have liked throughout that ballgame – and especially early on. We had too many mistakes and put our defense in bad situations. We've just got to get a little bit better."
(on the changes this week and if the team was still adjusting) "Well, fortunately for us, there wasn't a whole lot of turnover in the staff. You know, position coaches are the same. That gives us a little bit of consistency from last week to this week. There's always going to be a learning curve, a little bit of an adjustment. You know, I felt like [new offensive coordinator] Jim [Caldwell] called a great game. We just, as players, didn't execute as cleanly as we would have liked, and there's a lot of plays out there we would like to have back – myself included. There were plenty of plays I'm disappointed in and would like to have back and be better at."
(on how long that adjustment takes) "I don't know. All we can do is put this one behind us and realize what we have ahead of us. We still have an opportunity to win the division. We still have an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot and do all that. And so, we've just got to go back to work, put this one behind us and there's no doubt in my mind that we'll be able to do that with the character guys that are in our locker room and the leadership that we have. We're going to get it done."
(on the early self-inflicted problems) "We're going to give credit where credit's due. The Denver Broncos are a good football team all around, offensively, defensively and on special teams. As much as we would love to say it was all our fault – and a large part of it was – I feel like we shot ourselves in the foot a few times and made some uncharacteristic mistakes, that we certainly can improve on and clean up. But at the same time, that's a good football team, and they made it hard for us out there."
QB Joe Flacco
(on if he thought about calling a timeout before the interception play) "No, you know, because like John said, that's one of our plays that you kind of get a flat and a fade, and it's kind of like going up and clocking the ball. It's kind of like calling a timeout in that situation because it's one of those things that, you know, you catch it and get out of bounds, you catch it in the end zone, or you throw it away, and you live for the next down. I just made a mistake, there's no other way to put that. I made a mistake. I wanted to have the fade, and I came down to the flat, and the guy undercut it, picked it and went the whole way. It's just a mistake on my part."
(on if any of the offense's problems in this game can be attributed to getting used to Jim Caldwell as offensive coordinator) "I don't think any. I think it was a matter of us going out there and not doing some of the simple things right early on, and it kind of took us a while to get into that groove that really needed to be successful, and our defense was playing really well. As much as we weren't playing very well in the first half, we still had that opportunity at the end of it to go down there, put points on the board and really put a touchdown on the board and then get the ball coming out of the half. That could have changed the game. It's a 14-point swing, and that really hurt us."
(on how the team's struggling in December, a time they usually play well)"In December, we have been a winning football team, but at the same time, I don't know if we've been climbing up into the playoffs. Obviously, we've lost three straight games, and some of them are close, obviously this one wasn't too close, but we have to keep our eyes forward and look ahead. I don't know what we got out of this game. We obviously don't feel very good about it right now, but hopefully we got a little better. We had a couple close games, like I said, to not win and then this one, we just came in and couldn't get it going, and the game spun out of control. I threw an interception at the end of the first half. We've got to hold on to the ball. Like I said, we've just got to keep moving forward, keep our eye on the prize. Everything in this league is 'what have you done for me lately,' and we've got to continue to move forward and stay confident because nobody's going to be too high on us except ourselves. We've got to go out there and seize whatever opportunities we have ahead of us."
(on how this tests his leadership and that of coach Harbaugh) "It tests all of us. It tests our leadership. It tests our toughness. We believe we have a tight locker room. It's going to test that. We're a 9-5 football team, and it feels like we're 0-14 right now. But that's just the feeling that you have right after a game like this. It's going to test a lot of things, and it's going to test a lot of things in us guys. We believe we're pretty stand-up guys, tough guys, guys with character. We're going to be able to look at ourselves in the mirror when this thing is all said and done and honestly say that we are those type of guys or that we're not those type of guys. I believe that we are, and you're going to be able to see that over the next six, seven weeks, however long we have left."
(on what's the key to doing that)"Just staying together. I believe we have a locker room, we all believe we have a locker room [that is] one. In order to get through this, we have to go home and look in the mirror, first of all, and work as one to get better and win football games. I believe that's the kind of people we are, and that's the kind of guys have and the kind of coaches we have. It's going to take toughness to get yourself us, pull yourself in there and do the work you need to do in order to give yourself the best chance of winning on Sunday."
(on his level of concern with the offense) "I don't look at it like that. Things like that happen. You have to go back and look at why they're happening, and like I said, just little things."
(on if it's tough getting beaten and seeing the stadium so empty late) "Always. I think this crowd is incredible ever since I've been here, I assume before I got here. So yeah, you want to go out there and give your best performance to these guys every week, home or away. And then when you come out and get beat like this, it's tough on you because you want to give them that performance, and obviously it's tough on those guys. They want to see us win. They're entitled to do it the way they see, and we're going to do our best from here on out to make sure that we can come give you guys a good show and put wins on the board."
(on the interception and if he changed his mind at the last second) "No, I was just reading it out. The fade was just taking a little bit longer than I wanted. I was probably a little bit late on it because the sideline was squeezing with [Anquan Boldin] and all that. In hindsight, I should have just taken the ball and thrown it over Anquan's head and lived for the next play."
(on trying to make the tackle on the interception) "I'm not quite fast enough to get to him. I was trying to take the angle to get to him, and they had one guy that actually did get a little piece of me that I had to run around a little bit. You do something like that, you know it's going to be a big play, and you just try to do all you can to minimize the damage."
(on if there's added pressure on him with the coaching change) "I mean, the reality is, probably yes, but the bottom line is we have to go out there, and like John said, we have everything ahead of us. We're a team that believes that we can step up and win games. That's all we have to do. It will be part of our character and toughness, and all that will be tested – mine, our team's – because there's always pressure on us, and if there's a little bit more now, then there is. I think that's part of being a tough person, pushing through."
S Ed Reed
(on if things are starting to spiral out of control) "No, we just lost three games straight. I wouldn't say spiraling out of control, but it's been bad these last three weeks. Obviously, we have been kind of decimated with injuries and everything. With those key injuries, there is really no excuse for it because we are a great team, but it just kind of got out of hand early, and we didn't play a great game as players. I think the best three players today that only really came to work were LS Morgan [Cox], P Sam [Koch] and K Justin [Tucker]. I'm sure there were a bunch of great plays, because it's not as bad as you think it is when you're on tape, but as a player, as a single player, as an individual, right now I am embarrassed as a player to come out and perform the way we have. You have weeks like that. We're not the only team that lost today, and we still have two more games. But, as a Ravens nation, as a player, I am embarrassed for our city."
(on if the difference is getting the injured players back into the lineup) "It's part of it, but we're professionals. We have to come to work every week, not to say we didn't come to work [this week], we did, but today we didn't. Denver is a great team, though. I know a bunch of guys over there. I didn't shake hands today because I was just hurting as a player for the mistakes that we made personally as a secondary. There wasn't really more to it than that. Those guys played a great game. They came out and they executed their game plan to a tee. They did exactly what they wanted to do, and they made plays."
(on the play where Broncos RB Knowshon Moreno hurdled him) "I was not expecting him to jump, honestly. I couldn't react because I was just dealing with a lot of sickness early in the game. I just wasn't all the way into it, honestly. I was dealing with flu symptoms and everything. I just kind of watched him jump over me. I wasn't expecting that at all. I thought he was ready to put his head down. I saw him gathering himself, so I was like, 'There's no way he's going to jump.' I thought he was just going to put his head down like most running backs do when they see [defensive backs]. They want to kind of perform a little bit. A leap for two yards, you can have it. I should've known better though, because last time we played them, I kind of hit him a little bit. Great play by him. It happens."
(on what he saw from Broncos WR Eric Decker's double-move touchdown) "I was [the] inside [assignment]. I didn't see him get the double move until we got to the sidelines, and we talked about it. I didn't know it was a double move on that play. I told the guys before the game that I kind of felt like No. 87 [Decker] was the guy that [Broncos QB] Peyton [Manning] was going to go to. It wasn't going to be [Broncos WR] Demaryius [Thomas] as much. I thought it was going to be No. 87, and sure enough, it was. My whole key was to lean to No. 88. I figured we could handle Decker, but Decker is a great player also. I have a lot of respect for him, so we just have to do a better job going forward."
(on how concerned he is about the team's recent three-game losing streak)"It's a season; it's part of the season. We have a big game coming up this week against New York, and another big game after that. Concerned? A little bit because, yeah we do have the injuries, and you are at the end of the season, and you lose three straight. You still have games, and you still have a lot of football to be played, a lot of practice, a lot of corrections we could make. And we have to make them. If we don't make them, then it won't be a concern. It will be us home in January during the playoffs – somewhere I know we don't want to be. It hits you in your heart when you lose three straight and you had an opportunity to close out your division the last three weeks. It's terrible. It's what all you guys have been saying about us right now. Regardless of us not listening to it or not worrying about it, it's just been the truth. We've just acted on it to come out and lose today."* *
(on if the lead in the division gives the team a false sense of security) "No, not at all. I don't know what it is, outside of the mistakes that we made as a secondary and the things that we did as a defense. That's the only thing that really concerns me and the only thing we [the secondary] try to correct, I try to be a part of correcting. I can't make corrections on special teams or on offense. [We can] only recommend things to players, but at the end of the day, I have to start with me and try to correct my mistakes and make myself better for my teammates to win."
(on if Broncos QB Peyton Manning was clicking on his play changes at the line of scrimmage) "I felt like it was Christmas, and not for our side. We were in a giving mood, honestly. I don't have to go back and watch the tape to know that we gave up a lot of things versus just letting them make plays on us, or them making the checks. I thought, honestly, we didn't play. We did not play football. That's why when I started this, I said I was embarrassed, because I didn't think that we played football as a whole, as a team. It's like you're out there lackadaisical, like you are just better than everybody. You are not. You have to come to play football every week. This is the NFL. You have to be on your game, and nobody is safe. That's why we lost a coach last week. There has to be a sense of urgency for every man. There has to be something to every man to know that your job is on the line, including me. That's why I said I have to start with myself. We have to make corrections. There were a lot of mistakes made today."
(on if embarrassment is a powerful motivator going forward) "For myself, yeah. I can't speak for every man. I say embarrassment because that's the word that hit me today after what we did. Denver could have still won the game if it had been closer. I probably wouldn't have been as embarrassed if we had played a different game. I know we are capable of playing a different ball game - we've done it all year. All of the sudden, you lose three, and you can blame everything. I can sit up here and do this interview all day and answer your questions about how bad we played today and how bad we played the last three weeks. It can only trickle down. Like I told the guys, negativity, losing, it trickles down. That's what's happened these last three weeks. We haven't bumped it out yet and came back on top. So, that's what we have to do, and we have to do it against the Super Bowl champs from last year, the New York Giants, who have a great team. I'm sure they probably feel hot today after what they did in Atlanta. It's going to be tough. We knew it was going to be tough. We knew this stretch was going to be tough. We knew this schedule in the offseason. We knew at the end of the season, we had Peyton [Manning] coming in, we had [Giants QB] Eli [Manning], we knew we had Cincinnati, we knew we had Pittsburgh [twice] in three weeks. So, we knew that. There is nothing there to talk about. You have to play football, you have to come prepared to play every week, every year. Today wasn't that day for Baltimore."
T Michael Oher
(on former OC Cam Cameron not being with the team) "I'm not going to comment on that. We just have to move on and get ready for the New York Giants."
(on what the Ravens need to do to make the playoffs) "We need to get better, move on, and get ready for the Giants. That's all we can do."
OLB Paul Kruger
(on the Ravens' early success against the Broncos)"I think guys were just winning one-on-one match ups. It was just simple offense. Some of the defensive linemen were just out there making plays. We had the right blitzes called. Then, it just got out of control and we lost control."
(on the momentum change) "You can't make mistakes like that when you're playing this type of team. We knew what type of game it was going to be and we knew what we had to do. We had to do everything right to win and we just didn't do that."
(on two consecutive home losses) "You just have to see it for what it is. It's just a loss. Even though it was a pretty bad loss, it's still just a loss. We have to come back and figure out what we have to do to win. We have to put together the right type of game in these last two weeks."
(on the offensive struggles) "It's frustrating but we try not to focus on that. It's one of those things we [the defense] can't control so you can't worry about it. The momentum we created for them really put us in a tight spot. We lost control of the game real quick."
(on injuries affecting chemistry) "Of course injuries play a factor but I don't think it's the reason the game turned out the way it did. Like I said, we just got in bad spots and that kind of stuff killed our momentum."
(on whether there's a snowball effect in losing these last two weeks) "I think the snowball effect happened in this game. We had a couple of plays go bad offensively, we had a couple of plays go bad defensively and it just started going the wrong way real quick and we just had a tough time responding to it."
(on whether the ravens can rebound next week) "I have no doubt. We're on the sidelines just shaking our heads. That's just not the game we usually play. I think we've been playing a lot better football than what we played today. We need to just bounce back, and shake it off, and come out and play good football next week."
LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
(on the loss) "Each game, every phase of our team has to complement each other. So when the ball stays in the hands of one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game [Peyton Manning] and you give him that many touches, most people are going to lose in that situation. Peyton Manning is considered one of the greatest of all time, so you have to keep the ball out of his hands if you want to win the game."
(on how injuries have affected the special teams) "The biggest thing you have to look at is when a guy goes from special teams to either offense or defense, he's going out there and playing both offense or defense and special teams. Fresh guys from the opposing teams come on the field to play against those guys. Now it comes down to one-on-one match ups — who's going to have the advantage—it's the guy who's fresh. At the end of the day, we just have to play for each other and for each other."
(on rebounding from the loss) "I think the biggest thing is that we play well when we put ourselves in a position to win early in the season. Although you want to win all these games and you prepare to win all these games, even though we've lost the last two games, all of our goals are still within reach. We have to get our guys back healthy. We just have to find a way to win. Bottom line is we just have to win."
(on losing games in December) "It's definitely uncharted territory for us. But at the same time, we're used to being in a position where we're getting ready for the playoffs. We're one game away from that right now. You look back in the past and we've won in December but we've also clinched the playoffs in the last game of the year. With that being said, we have to go get that done."
(on whether this team is still together) "Absolutely. We're just as tight as we've ever been. Now, we have to be even tighter to work to get out of this hole. It's going to take all three phases – the head coach, and everyone else in the building. We have to go win a game against the Giants next Sunday. It's going to be a battle next week and we have to go get it done."
LB Albert McClellan
(on their third-consecutive loss) "That's what it is, our third loss. The closer we get to the end of the season; each loss is getting tougher and tougher."
(on where this team goes from here) "We've just got to keep trying to go forward. Whether it's a stepping stone or whether it's a wall, we've still got to find a way to overcome it. Either go around it, through it, or underneath it – whichever way we've got to go to get there. We've just got to get there."
C Matt Birk
(on what they need to do to get back on the winning side) "Just get back to fundamentals. I know sometimes like this it can feel like you can't do anything right or you can't get a break, but it's not that bad. You always go back to fundamentals, and I think the thing about this team is with the type of guys we have and the mindset here is that we're a resilient bunch. Obviously we're disappointed with the performance that we had today, but guys know you use it to get better. Failure is a great teacher, so we'll watch the film, make corrections and keep working on the fundamentals."
(on being able to get off a losing skid and if it speaks to competitive balance in the NFL) "Yeah, this is the NFL. Anybody can beat anybody, and that's evident every single week. Nobody can predict what's going to happen, and although people try to, nobody really can. We're not really concerned with what other people are saying. This team, we know what it takes, we know it's a long season and there are always going to be ups-and-downs. That's just kind of how this thing works; it doesn't always go the way you want it to, but that's OK."
CB Jimmy Smith
(on how he felt getting back into action today) "Rusty. Very, very rusty. My quick-step isn't really there, but I got in there and there weren't any setbacks. I didn't re-hurt myself, so it's a positive in that light to me."
(on if the plan today was to go in on a limited basis to get his feet back)"Yeah, the plan today was just to go in there, get moving around, get used to the movements again, because you know even though you practice and you run, the movements in the game are just very different. You torque and jerk your body in certain ways, and with those incisions it's just a little difficult sometimes."
(on if he plans to just continue progressing over the next few weeks leading up to a full workload) "That's my plan."
CB Corey Graham
(on trying to get back in the win column) "We've got to get better. We've got to go out there and we've got to get better as a defense, as a team, as a whole. We've got to get better, we've got to make plays, we've got to find a way to get it done and get the victory."
(on if it feels like the season is slipping away) "No, I don't feel like it's slipping away, but I feel like we need to get better. We're not getting it done, we're not making enough plays – defense, offense, special teams – it seems like everything is going against us and we're not finding a way to get it done. That's what we've got to do; we've got to make plays. Playmakers have got to make plays."
(on if this three-game losing streak is more critical at this point in the season) "It's critical anytime you lose three games in a row, especially two at home. You've got to find a way to get the job done. We've got to go out there and make plays [and] we're not doing it as a team. We've got to go in there and watch film and find a way to get better. Everybody's got to get better."
(on where the frustration level is with this team) "It's at a max. I don't know about everybody else, but I know I'm frustrated. I know we've got to get better, I know we've got to make plays, and we've got to find a way to finish and get it done. We're not doing that as a team, and when you're not doing that, you're not going to win games."
WR Anquan Boldin
(on the offensive struggles as of late) "It is what it is. You can't come out and turn the ball over, you can't shoot yourself in the foot, same old thing. We'll just have to cut [the film] up."
(on if it feels like the season is slipping away) "No. I still feel like we're going to win this division, like I said. We're still going to make noise in the playoffs, but we've just got to cut out the dumb stuff."
(on how they change that) "We've just got to do it. It's no magic thing, you just don't do it."
(on if he noticed anything different with Jim Caldwell in his first game as offensive coordinator) "It's not really about the play calling; it's about the players on the field. Whatever is called, you've got to go out and execute it."
(on if he can go through what happened on the long interception return play) "I'd rather not."
(on if everything was smooth for the offense under Caldwell's first game) "Yeah. Like I said, it's not about the play calling; it's about players executing."
(on how discouraged he is right now) "I'm not discouraged at all. Just frustrated."