Transcripts: Postgame Press Conferences

Head Coach John Harbaugh

(opening statement) "OK, good to see everybody. I appreciate everybody being here. Obviously, starting with Anthony [Averett], I'm really just proud of him and the job he's done. You can see what a good person he is, and he's a very hard worker. It's good to see him playing so well with his opportunity. [I'm] proud of our guys. [I'm] proud of [the way they've] just handled themselves in the situation that they were in, and we've been in for the last few weeks. Putting themselves in position for controlling their destiny, I think that says everything about their character. Now, we have to get the job done. We have to finish the regular season up next week. We'll be on to Cincinnati right away, making sure we take care of business with that – that's what we have to focus on. So, what questions do you have?"

(on if the team was watching the Steelers or Browns games after they went to the locker room) "We weren't. We weren't doing that. We kind of stayed with our tradition; we had a team prayer. So, we circled up and had our team prayer. Then, we had circled up and did a few game balls and did our break. Justin Ellis broke us – that was fun. It's his birthday today, so we had fun with that. We didn't really talk too much about that. I saw later … I ended up seeing the Browns' last play walking in here in the coaches' locker room, because the coaches had it on a phone. So, it's not like we had it on TVs or anything. Like I said, we really haven't been focused on that at all. We just figured that that takes care of itself, and we need to take care of us. And we still need to do that."

(on how he felt the offense ran the ball against a strong run defense) "I think that's a good point; that is a very good run defense. [They're] a proven run defense with some very good players – the defensive line and the middle linebacker [Blake Martinez]. I thought our guys did a great job, our offensive line [and] our tight ends. Of course, Gus [Edwards] and J.K. [Dobbins] ran the ball exceptionally well. Lamar [Jackson] ran the ball exceptionally well. It was really a good performance by our run offense."

(on how much the first drive set the tone for the game) "It was important. I know they have a good defense. They're well-coached. They have a plan. For us to be able to take the ball down the field, really what it was was execution, just very good execution. [We] completed some big passes. Lamar [Jackson] was really on point. Guys made plays throughout the game. Mark [Andrews] is going to come in here and talk to you. Marquise [Brown] had some big catches. Willie [Snead IV] had some big catches, [and] different guys made plays. Execution is the key. To be honest with you, we could've finished stronger with our execution. We didn't finish quite as strong as we wanted to that way at the end. So, we'll be looking at that very closely as well."

(on the improvement of the pass rush over the past few weeks) "I think they've been bringing it. We said before that we thought we were quote unquote close, but what does that mean? Horseshoes and hand grenades, I guess, is the only thing that really counts in, to use the old term. But yes, we were. Guys were bringing it. I don't think they were too frustrated, they just wanted to get there. We've been able to do that the last two weeks, especially the second half. That was big; those were big sacks. I feel bad about the roughing the punter. That was one that … I'll take that on myself. That was one that shouldn't have happened and put the defense back out there. So, we should've been off the field there. But I thought the pass rush was really key in the second half."

(on the delay of game call against P/H Sam Koch) "It was just kind of the normal deal. Sam [Koch] and those guys … That's never really happened to us, that I can recall. They do a good job of that, so I was really surprised to see that. I saw the replay and didn't really see it. Maybe you guys saw it, I don't know. I don't know what happened on that, other than we just didn't get it off in time, apparently."

(on ILB Chris Board's performance) "I'm glad you've noticed that. He has played excellent football. He's becoming a really good inside linebacker. Very rarely do you see the guys who excel on special teams the first couple of years and grow into that not become really good defensive players. Even offensive players; I'll give you Miles Boykin. Miles Boykin is playing great on special teams. He's really doing a good job. He's growing, and it's making him a better receiver. But Chris Board is becoming a regular in our rotation. He's making tackles. He's covering well. I think he's really making a name for himself."

(on if the offensive line has become one of the most important stories of the season) "Maybe so; we're very driven by that. We know we need to play well on our offensive line. We need to have good [running] backs. Obviously, the quarterback drives it. We need receivers making clutch catches. We need tight ends that can do a little bit of everything. They have to be able to make catches downfield, drop back and play-action, and they have to be able to block; not just in line, but they have to be able to block on the move. So, I think we ask a lot of our players across the board, but certainly, we always do talk about starting with the offensive line."

(on G/C Patrick Mekari leaving the game in the second quarter and how C/G Matt Skura did in replacement) "His back tightened up on him. So, we'll have to get that looked at and see what it is. I don't think we think it's going to be anything that'll keep him out for an extended period, but we'll always have to look at a back [injury] and see. I thought Matt Skura deserves a lot of credit for coming in there and playing very well. He did a nice job. Matt is a heck of a player, and it was good to see that."

TE Mark Andrews

(on RB Gus Edwards) "He's really incredible. Gus [Edwards], he deserves a lot more credit than he gets. He's the heart and soul, kind of, of our team, really, with everything he does; the way he runs the ball, you see the way he catches the ball, and he breaks tackles left and right. He's a beast. He's one of our best players. It's just so much fun to play with him. And like I said, he's one of our best players – the heart and soul of this team. We go as he goes, and '8' [Lamar Jackson], as well. Those two guys really carried us."

(on if he expected the offense to play at this level) "Yes. It's all about staying patient – not getting too up or too down. We know – first of all – the type of players we have. We've got great players, great coaches and a mindset that we want to win. And all those combined, it's going to equal good things. So, we just have to stay patient and know our time is coming, and it is coming. And we're not there yet; we're going to continue to get there. This is playoff time for us. So, we know what's at stake."

(on if it's a relief knowing that if the Ravens win in Week 17, they'll clinch a playoff berth) "Yes, it's nice. You try not to look too far elsewhere, but we control our own fate, and that's a great feeling. We've got to go play a really, really good [Cincinnati] Bengals team this next week and try to get better and reach the playoffs. And that's all we can focus on – is the next game – not focus on the playoffs. We're just trying to get better and win this game, and the cards will fall how they fall."

(on if he checked his phone after the game for results around the league with Ravens' playoff implications) "I was watching the scoreboard probably the whole game [like], 'Oh, I'm just checking on it.' But I checked my phone after people were talking about it. So, obviously, that's good for us, and hopefully, we take advantage of that."

(on if he watched the Dolphins-Raiders game last night) "To be honest, I didn't watch it, but some guys [did] – Darren Waller was going off. Some guys were watching that, but I wasn't. Again, it's about focusing on us. [We're] not worried about the outside noise [and] what's going on. This team has just got to worry about ourselves and worry about winning each and every game."

(on executing at a high level) "It's just a lot of guys coming together and executing. I think Coach [Harbaugh] talked about it; you look at that first drive, kind of methodically going down the field. You see a bunch of different guys making plays; it's not just one guy. That just goes to show you, Coach [offensive coordinator Greg Roman] is calling great plays, and we've got a lot of great players; it's not just one or two guys. It's guys who are making plays all over the field. And to be a good team, you have to have that. So, I just think everyone is starting to come on and execute. That's all you can ask for, so it's really good to see at this time of year."

(on how important the time of possession battle was) "Time of possession is huge. This game was kind of a tale of that. In the first half, we had a bunch of time of possession – really held the ball, keeping their offense off the field. And then, they did that to us, kind of, in the second half, and that's tough. So, being able to win that, and to win that kind of game is big. So, [we're] just trying to keep their offense off the field, move the ball the best we can and be efficient, and that's what we did."

(on TE Eric Tomlinson) "He's got a 'dog' mentality to him, and he's been doing a great job. Him and Pat [Patrick Ricard] are just mauling dudes, and no defense wants to see that. So, those guys are just absolutely moving people. And for him to be able to jump in and fill that Nick Boyle role, it's not easy to do, but he's done a great job of it."

CB Anthony Averett

(on if he was following other NFL games with Ravens' playoff implications) "Those wins and losses are definitely important to us, but, obviously, during the game, I was just focused on what I had to do. I peeked at the score a few times, but my main focus was this game here."

(on how difficult it was to be out with an injury earlier in the season and how it feels to be back making an impact) "Being out for almost two months, it was definitely tough – just mentally. So, it was definitely tough, but I keep my head in the books. And the team, they needed me to step up and start and play this game. You never know how the chips fall, so I was ready, and I feel like I showed I improved these past two games."

(on how it feels for the Ravens to control their own destiny to the playoffs) "The only thing I do is worry about us. We've got the Bengals next week, and we've just got to worry about us, make sure we get the 'W,' and the chips will fall. So, I keep it simple like that."

(on watching the offense begin the game with a long drive and how that sets the tone) "It's funny, because a couple teammates, we were talking about that – 'DBs' – we got on the field with about seven minutes left in the first quarter. Definitely, it helps us. The offense, if they score on the first drive, that's momentum. And I think we started off with a 14-0 [lead], so that keeps us going, [and] that keeps our legs fresh – keeps us off the field."

(on if these were the two most meaningful weeks of his NFL career) "Yes, most definitely. I definitely want to prove myself out there, because I know Coach 'Harbs' – he had said that a couple weeks ago. But I definitely want to prove myself and my contribution to the team. The team needed me, and I definitely feel like I stepped up, and I'm going to continue to do that."

ILB Chris Board

(on the play of the defense, particularly the pass rush in the second half) "It was definitely huge to get all the sacks – six total, that's amazing. The coaches definitely put us in position to make plays, and we just went out there and made the plays."

(on how gratifying it is to him to earn more opportunities to play on defense) "It feels really good. I'm just trying to go out and do whatever I can to help us win. Whatever is asked of me, I just go out and do it to the best of my ability. It feels really good though."

(on how he would describe this Ravens' defense) "We're fast, physical, relentless. We play hard, and it shows on tape."

(on the mentality of this team heading into Week 17) "I expect Cincinnati to come out and play us hard. At the end of the day, we have to win the game to advance, so it's playoff football. We've been playing playoff football the last three or four weeks, so we definitely need to come out, play hard, and we'll see what happens."

(on the Ravens' run game and how challenging it would be to have to face them) "That's tough. Gus [Edwards] and J.K. [Dobbins], they run the ball hard. They're definitely difficult to defend, for sure, so they'd be tough to stop. I'm glad they're on our team."

RB J.K. Dobbins

(on what it means to him to break former Ravens RB Jamal Lewis' rookie rushing touchdown record) "It means a lot to me. Jamal Lewis, I mean, he won NFL Offensive Player of the Year [in 2003], and he's an amazing player. So, for me to do that, it's an honor and a blessing. I'm just going to keep trying to get better."

(on the Ravens' rushing attack, which continues to build momentum as the season goes on) "We've just got to keep getting better. The offensive line, they love it; we [the running backs] love it. It's our identity. We're a physical team, and we want to show that."

(on the mentality of this team going into Week 17) "Just do what we can to get this win. We're going to go back to the drawing board, figure out what we need to get better at and try to get this win."

RB Gus Edwards

(on how it feels as a team control your own playoff-fate) "I think we've got to keep going. We got momentum right now. I love the level that we're playing at. Guys are focused on winning games. Guys are focused on [being] 1-0 each week. With that playoff mentality, that's what we need right now."

(on how good it feels to have a successful rushing attack against a very good Giants defense) "It's what's expected – it's what's expected every time we're out there. Big ups to our 'O-line' [offensive line] – [they had] great push. They worked hard all week. Communication was key. They kept coming back to us and giving us input on what they were doing out there. A lot of credit to them. They kept us going all game."

(on if this what he envisioned for an offense all year, based on the performance from the last few weeks) "We put the work in. We work really hard during the week – the things that you guys don't see. We work really hard during the week on the run game. Like I said, it's the standard, it's what we expect. This is what we've got to do every week."

(on if he's developed a more elusive run style to his game this season) "I'm just taking what's given to me out there. I'm just trying to make plays for my offense. I know how critical these games are. I'm just trying to make plays."

(on how he becomes a more versatile runner week-to-week) "I got to give credit where it's due. The competition that's in my room is tremendous. When you see those guys go out and make the plays that they do, it motivates you. It's no slack off. We're all competitors, and we all keep pushing each other."

(on what it means to him to catch long passes and show that he's a capable receiver) "When you're out there, and you see Mark Andrews make those catches, you see 'Hollywood' [Marquise Brown] do what he do, you see Lamar [Jackson], you see all the playmaking going on – it just motivates you to just want to make a play. It's an offense that has a lot of playmakers. I just try to do my best to contribute."

(on if he feels like the team is getting hot at the right time) "The urgency level has been great, since – I would say – the Steelers' game. Guys have really bought in. And I love the level of urgency we're playing at, and we've got to keep doing that."

(on the biggest difference in the offensive line's production at this point in the season) "It's a lot about how hard they've been working. I know when the run game is not there, not only are the running backs stressed, the offensive line takes it personal, too. And they put it on themselves for us to get better, and it starts with them, and they really did a good job of stepping up."

(on if the adversity the team has faced this year has helped them get to where they're at now) "Yes, we have been in a lot of situations, a lot of tough games. And just to see the fight in the team – it's very inspiring. We've just got to keep building off of that."

QB Lamar Jackson

(on what his reaction was when he found out the Indianapolis Colts and the Cleveland Browns lost) "I pretty much found out in the locker room after the game. My reaction was, 'We just have to keep winning.' Like I said before, we don't really try to lean on hoping a team loses, because it really doesn't matter. We still have to win no matter what, and that's what I'm focused on. I'm just happy they lost."

(on how it feels to be able to control their own playoff destiny) "It feels great, but we still have Cincinnati in our way. We have to get ready for them, because those guys are going to come to play. We're going to Cincinnati, so we just have to be ready and focus on those guys."

(on what effect a drive like the opening drive has on both the offense and the defense for the rest of the game) "I feel like it gives our defense a boost. And us, we're used to doing stuff like that; we started the year off last year doing things like that. Late this season, we started doing the same thing. We just have to keep it going. We're doing pretty good so far; we just have to keep doing that."

(on how RB Gus Edwards' game has changed from when they first met) "Oh man, he's doing it all right now. Like you said, he's catching the ball out of the backfield, now – it's getting deadly. He can do it all now. He's running it [and] getting yards after the catch. Gus [Edwards] is just being him. I've been saying that he's 'Gus the bus.' He just keeps it going [and] living up to his name. I'm used to seeing it, so it's not a surprise. Unless I'm on the field, and I'm right there, then I'm extra hype, [and] I'm just doing a lot. But all our running backs do the same thing. But Gus, he's doing his thing."

(on if he feels like everything is clicking on offense) "We just have to keep clicking and keep staying focused on the task at hand. Those wins, they're over with. We have teams in our way right now, and that's Cincinnati. So, we have to flip, get ready to watch those guys on film and practice hard, because like I said, we're going to Cincinnati. We're going to play a tough defense. That's all we can focus on right now; we can't focus on anything else."

(on connecting with WR Marquise Brown more often these last few games) "We just have to keep this going. I already know what he's capable of. [His nickname] 'Primetime' speaks for itself, 'Primetime Jet.' We just have to keep getting the ball in his hands and let him do his thing. That's what he's been doing the last few weeks."

(on how impressed he's been with the offensive line's performance over the past few weeks) "Our guys have been doing their thing, man – the whole starting five. Today, Pat [Mekari] went down a little bit, and [Matt] Skura went in and finished where he left off. He'd been doing it since I've been in the league, and he excelled today. We just have to keep going. Offensive line, just keep going what you all are doing." (laughter)

(on if he feels there's any momentum building over the past few games) "To be honest, I don't want to start overthinking. I just want to keep the laser sharp focus we have going right now and just focus on the task at hand, like I said before. We don't want to [say,] 'Oh yes, we're doing this right. We're doing this wrong.' Just keep building [and] just keep stacking wins, because that's what's important for us right now – winning. So, that's all we have to keep doing."

OLB Matthew Judon

(on how it feels knowing that the Ravens now control their playoff fate) "We just have to go out here and finish the season strong [and] on a good note. We're thankful for every opportunity that we've had to play this game. We just have to go out to Cincinnati and finish the business off. We just have to make it happen. We can't change some stuff that we [didn't] like in the past, but all of that is in the past. [We're] here, right now."

(on how he's stepped up his performance as a pass rusher) "I think I've 'low key' been doing that the whole year, but I'm just getting them to the ground now. I know once you get a stat – that sack stat – you had a good game. But I'm just getting them to the ground. I've had [quarterback] hits. The inside pressure just went up. It helped us that we got 'Yan' [Yannick Ngakoue] and 'Ty-Bo' [Tyus Bowser] out there doing their thing, and 'Phee' [Pernell McPhee]. So, it's not only me. That's not full ball, it's the whole defensive line. You see [Justin] Madubuike got his first sack today, too. So, we have some young guys stepping up. Broderick [Washington] has been playing well, as well, when he gets his opportunity, and 'Jelly' [Justin Ellis]. So, we just hit our stride right now, and we're going to continue the tempo."

(on if it was difficult to stay positive that they would get the outside help they needed to get into the playoff, even though the team was doing everything they needed to do on the field) "No, we have to do what we have to do. We can't let other teams and what they're doing and how they're playing affect us. Because that stuff starts to show after a while, if we're just hoping and praying on some negativity in other people. We just have to do what we do. We have to come out here and execute, communicate [on] both sides. All three phases have to do their job, and we can't hope for other people to lose. If we do right, like we've been doing for the last couple of weeks … If we do right, it's in our hands. And now, it's in our hands."

(on CB Anthony Averett) "You've seen him. We've got trust in 'Double-A' [Anthony Averett]. He was playing some good football. It's unfortunate he got an injury earlier in the season. But we trust him, and we put him out there on an island sometimes, and he comes up big for us. That's what every level has to do on our defense for us to be a great defense; our D-line has to play well, our linebackers have to communicate, and our defensive backs, they've got to cover. And when he's out there, he's covering people."

(on how QB Lamar Jackson leading a long touchdown drive to start the game set the tone) "It gets the game going; we're up, [and] we know we've got a seven-point lead. And then, if we get him the ball back, their defense had just been on the field for eight minutes; they don't want to see their offense go three-and-out and our offense go right back out there. And the style that our offense runs is downhill. So, that was supposed to be a physical team, and we just leaned on him."

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