Transcripts: Post Game Week 16 2021 vs. Cincinnati Bengals

BALTIMORE RAVENS

Head Coach John Harbaugh

(opening statement) "[That was a] good game. Congratulations to the Bengals for winning it. We're going to focus on the last two [games of the season], see what we can get accomplished these last two games and see if we can work our way into the playoffs. That's what we'll be fighting for, and I'm excited about that opportunity. We're going to do everything we can to make that happen. What questions do you have?"

(on the difficulty of preparing when there's a revolving door of players on the field) "Well, I mean it's just a challenging circumstances all the way around. I thought our guys fought. We have guys like Tony Jefferson sitting here. He's probably been here for about 10 days, Tony? Two weeks, maybe? And he's going out there and playing a bunch of football and playing well. Josh Johnson has been here a couple days and [went] out there and played really good football for us. I thought our guys fought hard and did the best they could under the circumstances. That's what you ask for – that's all you can ask for. That's what you ask for. So, the outcomes are meaningful, they matter, but it's not a one-game season, and it's not a one-game career. So, we'll keep fighting. We have two more games left in the regular season. We'll see if we can do something meaningful this year. We'll get some guys healthy. We'll get a bunch of guys healthy, and we'll see what we can do."

(on if it's difficult to go into a division game that can decide the AFC North knowing that the roster isn't at full strength) "Oh, sure. Of course, it is. You want to be full-strength. You always strive to be full-strength with what you have, but that isn't how the world works. That's not the world we live in all the time. So, I'm sure that they're full strength, and that's good for them. But we're not, and that's just temporary. So, we'll keep fighting and see what we can do next week."

(on his thoughts when the Bengals threw a 52-yard pass when they were up 20 points with two minutes left in the game) "They call their plays. We call our plays."

(on an update on CB Anthony Averett after he left the game with an injury) "Yes, it's a rib [injury]. It might be some kind of a rib deal right there. So, we'll see how he's feeling tomorrow."

(on if he thinks any players could come back from the Reserve/COVID list before the next game) "I do. I do. I feel we'll get a number of guys back, hopefully. We expect to; that would help us tremendously."

(on what it was like for the offense to prepare in the last the past 24 hours after QB Tyler Huntley was placed on Reserve/COVID list and QB Lamar Jackson not traveling to Cincinnati) "You know, the guys are a joy to be around. The guys, they work. They're into it. They're locked in [and] locked in all week. Josh [Johnson] is locked in, [and] he's studying with [quarterbacks] Coach [James] Urban. The guys are rallying. We're in the meetings last night and were just studying. That's the process of it that I think I relish and enjoy, because we have the kind of guys that just dig in and do everything they can do. That's what you hope for. That's what you ask for, and that's what they did."

TE Mark Andrews

(On what the last few days have been like, especially with the quarterback changes) "Like you said, just quarterback changes. It doesn't happen very often. We've been very lucky the last couple of years with a steady pace with Lamar [Jackson]. This team is … We prepare for everything, and Josh Johnson, you've got to tip your hat to him. I told him, 'You've got to stand on what you did today, because that was pretty dang impressive.'"

(On if he realized after the first drive that this wasn't going to be a big adjustment and QB Josh Johnson was dialed in) "No doubt. He studies the playbook, works hard. He's a smart guy, and he's been around the league for a long time. So, he did a great job stepping in, knowing the plays and then hitting open guys. He spread the ball around big time, and a lot of guys made big plays: Tylan [Wallace], James [Proche II], 'Quise' [Marquise Brown], 'Bate' [Rashod Bateman] – all those guys. So, he was able to spread the ball around, and he played that quarterback position really, really well today. Like I said, you've got to tip your cap off to him. He's been here for 10 days. Playing quarterback, knowing a system for 10 days is not an easy thing."

(On playing with a team at less than full strength when the stakes are this high) "It's kind of been … This whole year has been just one thing after another. But there's one thing that remains true – is that we continue to fight. We continue to have resiliency, and I think that starts from Coach Harbaugh. Coach Harbaugh is someone that preaches that each and every day. No matter what happens to us, no matter what's thrown at us, we've just got to keep on fighting, and that's what we do."

(On how the team picks themselves up and gets ready for these next two games) "I don't think there's any 'picking ourselves up.' We know what's at stake. We've got two really big games, like you said. We've been fighting, we've been working. There's been some really good ball being played. Two games left – [we'll] give it all we have."

(On if he was surprised that the Bengals were throwing the ball with two minutes left, and if that's something the team will remember) "I didn't know anything about that, so it didn't really resonate with me."

(On if the team is thinking about what could happen if they get healthier on both sides of the ball) "Yes. Like I said, we've had a lot of things thrown at us. There are a lot of guys having to step up and guys that haven't been here for more than a week playing defense and whatnot. So, I think the more practice we get, the more we can drill in the details, focus on ourselves and not anything else. It's all about ourselves. Like I said, there's some good football being played. We've just got to keep on going. Two games left; we're going to get it down. I'm confident, and I'm ready for these next two."

(On if it's disappointing that they can no longer control their own destiny in this postseason race) "Yes, it's always nice when you can control your own destiny – we've been saying that for a while – but it's time to start winning some games, and that's where my head's at. It sucks to be on this losing streak, but from the top down, we've got guys that are going to go to war, that are going to work. And when you have that, you're going to turn things around."

S Tony Jefferson II

(on how difficult the communication was within the secondary given the amount of players who haven't played together for a long period) "At the end of the day, we're in the NFL, [and] we've got to get it right. No excuses, really. Obviously, it's not ideal when you don't have everybody that's been jelled together and have that communication – which, like you said, is a huge component to being successful on the backend. But, when we go out there, none of that really matters. We have to go out there and execute the gameplan."

(on being thrust into the middle of this situation) "I love it. If you know me, it's just kind of something I would probably dream about. I'm coming in, fighting for the championship. When you're name is called, go and do what you're asked to do. Go execute the defense. I was excited for the opportunity just to be out there and have the ability to go play with the guys. It's been a while – getting that many amount of snaps. But, like I said, [we have] two more games. Nobody is counting us out … Well, maybe on the outside, but in here, we're fully locked and loaded. So, [we're] ready to roll."

(on how meaningful it was to be out there from a personal standpoint) "For the most part, personally, I feel like I've been … I don't think front offices around the league probably thought I was healthy, or I don't know what their circumstances were when it came to me – regardless of the amount of tape I've put out for seven years. But I do know I got my opportunity here. They know me here. I just wanted to go out there and showcase that I am healthy and go and play football. That was kind of my mindset if I were to get in – just go out and show."

(on his thoughts when a team is up by 20 points and they throw a 50-yard pass) "Try and pick it off. I really don't honestly care what they're calling on the other side. If they're throwing it in the air, that's an opportunity for us on defense to get a turnover. So, I don't care what the score is or what time was left. They're going to do what they do on their side, we're going to do what we do on our side – and that's defend the ball."

(on how the team picks itself up and regroups heading into these last two games) "Go out there and get healthy, first off. It's football – it doesn't matter who's lined across from you. Our objective is to win and win your matchup. We have a good team coming in. Just like the Bengals, they're a really good team. We can't overthink it. It's football – let's go play football, and let's go get a win and try to get into the dance."

QB Josh Johnson

(on what the past 24 hours have been like for him) "Honestly, just being focused and being faithful, man. That's all I've been focused on. I don't really focus on all the things I can't control. That's why I'm able to be here and had this opportunity to try to help this team. For me, it's just been focusing on how we can try to win and beat the Cincinnati Bengals. Unfortunately, we didn't do that today. So right now, that's kind of where I'm at – just reflecting on the fact that we could've scored on [those] drives that we didn't capitalize on and being better in those situations so we can continue to put pressure on the team across from us, because when we were going, we did well. We just had little things here and there, some things that I would like back. Everybody, we always have those situations in these types of games. I'm grateful for being able to have the opportunity out there today and having all these guys just rally around me. This organization, it's one of the top organizations in the league. The moment I walked into this building, I felt that energy. It's just a blessing to be here."

(on if he knew he was going to start against the Bengals when he tweeted around 11:00 a.m. on Saturday) "That's just normal for me. That's just being grateful for where I am in life. I wouldn't be here without becoming more faithful as a human being. My journey is a wild one, but it's something that I'll talk about when I'm done. I know I'm not alone when I'm here; I have a different spirit behind me. So, just to be thankful every morning I wake up, appreciate the simpler things in life, because when you get these types of opportunities, you dreamed of these things as a kid to go out there and play in a crazy stadium for a division game. So, I'm just appreciative of life. Even if … I didn't know I was playing yet. 'Urb' [quarterbacks coach James Urban] called me right after that [tweet]; it was just ironic. But from there, it was just, 'Let's go.'"

(on his comfort level with the offense given that he hasn't been with the team very long) "Daily getting comfortable with the offense, every play, I felt more comfortable [and] just felt more in command. I knew the timing would be different, just not knowing these guys' body language, playing in the game with them, there just comes a time. I knew my feet wouldn't be perfect, so I wasn't really focused on the things that you need time to have. So, for me, it was just about how can we get down the field and continue to find open guys, get those guys the ball and let these great players do what they do. They have a hell of a cast here; even amongst all the things going on, there still are a lot of talented players in this building. So, my job was just to try to get those guys the ball and let them do what they do best."

(on what it was like to play with TE Mark Andrews) (laughter) "He's different – I'm just going to leave it at that. Mark Andrews is a monster. Just seeing it in practice and then playing with him in the game, he's a great safety net to have. He's been doing that since he stepped on the field in the league, and he's only going to continue to do it. I mean, he's a blessed one."

ILB Patrick Queen

(on QB Joe Burrow's performance) "I know Joe [Burrow], I know what type of person he is. At the end of the day, he threw for a lot of yards, but I think he's just more proud of getting the win. That's just the type of guy he is. He's never been one to be overexcited about the things that he does. It's always a team collective thing."

(on how difficult it is going into a game knowing you're not at full strength with the stakes so high) "It's been nothing new this whole season. It's just been one thing after another. We've just been preparing. We've been working, we've been preparing, we've got faith in the guys that we got – because everybody that we've got right now is all we need. We've got faith in each other. We've just got to go out there and perform."

(on all the obstacles the defense has continued to face all year) "It's been a crazy season, but it's a defense, it's a whole collective. We've all got to play better. We've all got to step our game up. You can't just pin it on the secondary. It's been all of us. It's tough with all the injuries. But at the end of the day, we're supposed to have their back and play better up front."

(on the breakdown on the touchdown catch by Bengals WR Tyler Boyd) "I was supposed to have help. But at the end of the day, I still could have kept up, I could still try to make him put some more air under the ball and try to make him overthrow it."

(on if he was bothered by how the Bengals handled the last few minutes of the game) "It's football. We're on the field playing football. So, [if] they've got a chance to do something … I know if I was on the other side, and I had a chance to do something, I'd try to do it. So, it is what it is, and we'll see them again soon."

(on the mindset of this team with two games left) "We've still got a chance. We've got a chance to suit up and play football, so that should be the only main concern right now – is just how we can get better for next week."

(on if this team has already been in that playoff mindset, or if it will be turned up a notch these last two weeks) "Yes, we knew this game was a playoff game – no doubt about it. [There's] a lot of stuff at stake, and that's why we prepare the way we prepare, and we just have a sense of urgency with everything that we do. So, now the sense of urgency is going to be bumped up a little bit more."

WR Rashod Bateman

(on how he'd describe the team after all the adversity the Ravens have faced this season) "Like everybody said that's probably spoken to the media from the Ravens, I think it shows the will and the fight that we have. We know that we're down bad. The NFL knows we're down bad. Everybody knows we're down bad, but we just keep trucking. We're usually still in every game. There are a few mistakes here and there, but I'm just proud of the team. I know the team is proud of each other for the work that we keep putting in and the opportunity just going out there and playing, no matter what."

(on how QB Josh Johnson performed today) "Shout out to Josh [Johnson]. I didn't really know him. I didn't know how long he played in the league, but it definitely showed today that [he's] a smart guy with the way he was reading the coverages and things like that and communicating with us.It was definitely impressive for him.It was his first game with us, so he definitely cherished that."

(on how it felt to score his first career touchdown) "It felt good. It felt better early in the game than it does now. I'm not going to say it's irrelevant, but it is kind of irrelevant, because at the end of the day, we lost the game. But it's definitely a good Christmas gift for me, personally. So, I'll definitely take it."

(on where the ball from his first touchdown is going to go) "To my mom. It's definitely going to my mom."

ILB Josh Bynes

(on the young players stepping up today and the overall performance of the defense) "We gave effort. Unfortunately, we didn't pull it off. We had moments, we had chances to make those things happen, and we didn't. They capitalized on them. It's just tough. But it's definitely good to see some of those young guys step up – especially Josh Johnson doing what he could do today and making plays today."

(on QB Josh Johnson's performance leading the offense) "He did an exceptional job. He came in and did what Josh has done his whole entire career and make plays and put us in position. We just got to be better defensively getting off the field on third downs, getting the ball back to our offense and eliminating the big plays. They capitalized on today, and that's why they got the victory."

(on the mindset of this team to close out the season) "Just continue to fight. Just like you said, we still got to win two games to get in [the playoffs], and we have two more at home. So, we're in a perfect scenario to get in. All that matters is getting into the playoffs. We know that eight years ago when we went to the playoffs, we stumbled in, we lost four out of our last five [games]. But once we got in, we got rolling. And that's all that matters is just getting in the playoffs, and it starts next week. We have to win these next two starting with the [Los Angeles] Rams."

S Chuck Clark

(on how the last couple of weeks have been for him) "I think it's just a little bit of adversity. You've got to deal with it sometimes. Not everything's going to go how you want it to, but you've just got to keep moving forward personally and as a team."

(on the Ravens' defense with many young players going against the Bengals' passing attack) "We had different guys going out there gaining some experience, [and we had] guys that had some experience, so I think it was just a good day for everyone to get some reps and try to take advantage of their reps."

(on the team's mindset and all of the adversity the team has faced and how it might help) "I think this is the point where we're like, 'Alright, are you ready to go home for the offseason or give yourself an extra opportunity to play more games?' I think, as a team, as an individual, this is where we've really got to lock in. You look at the offseason, that's six-plus months compared to these next two weeks to lock in and find a way to just get a win both weeks and extend our season."

WR James Proche II

(on QB Josh Johnson's performance and how the way he played given the situation says about him) "It's the 'next man up' mentality. He's a true Raven, just like everybody else here. We all have that 'next man up' mentality. It's something we talked about. He just did his job. He's a true pro. It was amazing to see; it was truly inspiring."

(on if the offense had to make any adjustments Friday when QB Tyler Huntley missed practice with an illness) "No, only at quarterback. It was the same gameplan. Like I said, [Josh Johnson] is a pro. He adapted and adjusted. He adapted and adjusted. I wish we could've came out with the win, but I think we played our [butts] off."

(on his ability to make the most of his opportunities this season) "Honestly, I haven't even felt like I've played my best this year. There have been some times where I feel like I could've made some plays that helped us win some games. That's not just getting the ball, that's just doing my job. It just feels really good to kind of bounce back. I wish we could've gotten the win."

(on the mentality of the team needing to win-out the season to have a chance at the playoffs) "Yes, there's nothing to be explained. We need these if we want to keep playing football. We still have everything in front of us. Obviously, [maybe] not the AFC North, but we still can make these playoffs and make a run."

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