Transcripts: Postgame Press Conferences

Head Coach John Harbaugh

(opening statement) "OK, good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys being here. I appreciate our guys; they did a good job with the press conferences. Before I get started, I just wanted to … Since it's the end of the season here, the regular season part of what we're doing, 16 games in a crazy year [in] 2020. Now that we're in 2021, I just wanted to make mention of some real special people that helped us get to this point, starting with the families. The families of the players, the coaches [and] of the people in the organization, up and down and sideways, have been great. They've put up with a lot. They've dealt with us being in the house [and] out of the house. Special shoutout to [my wife] Ingrid and [my daughter] Alison and to all of our families for what they've had to go through and the sacrifices they've made to make sure that we can come out and coach and play and do our jobs in the building. And then for the people in the building, starting with the leader in the building [Ravens president] Dick Cass, who has led the charge with all of our operations people at every level. I wish I could mention everybody's name, but they've done a great job. Dick has been a real leader through all of this. The fact that we can just play, and we can practice, and we can have these meetings … [Ravens owner] Steve [Bisciotti] spared no expense and supported everybody the whole way; just to be able to do that, I think it bears worth mentioning. We have so many great people. I'll tell you; I'll give you [director of football information] Megan McLaughlin, who is incredible in our building, and [assistant to the head coach] Dan Parsons and others, just so many others [and] our food people. So, thanks to everybody for that. As far as the game goes, I think it was a heck of an effort. I'm proud of the guys. I think they overcame adversity. We had our backs to the wall. Nobody said anything; they just went to work every single day and competed in every single game. Now, we start again. This is a new season. So, this one goes behind us, and now we start the new season, which is the playoffs. So, what questions do you have?" 

(on what his message was to the team after the game) "It was similar – just joy. We're joyous about it. We always start with a prayer and praise, and we try to give honor and glory where it's due – that's to our Lord above, who gives us an opportunity to just breathe. If there's anything we learned in 2020, I mean, it's an opportunity to just step out of bed and do our job. So many people don't have an opportunity to go to work and do their job, so we're very grateful for that. We start with that and then for each other, for trusting one another, believing in one another [and] having each other's back. I told them, I said, 'When you do that … When you trust one another, look what the other guy can do. Look what they can do,' and they've done it. They've done it with one another and for one another, and they've had each other's back completely. So, that and then we talk a little bit about what we just said – that season is behind us. The next season is in front of us, and we're looking forward to going to work." 

(on if the message written on the team's new t-shirt held any significance in the game) "Yes; it was, 'Faith and guts.' I think that's what it took. We had a message on the back about resiliency, but 'faith and guts' was the main message. It was an understated message. It was a black outline on a purple shirt, with the 'and' in gold – you could see that. The point of that was the idea that faith and guts is something you really just can't see. You can see a pretty face. You can see a pretty car. You can see nice clothes. You can see a lot of outward things, but you start talking about things like faith and heart and courage and resilience and toughness and the things that I think so many people have shown in the last year – the people that are frontline workers, the people that are service workers, the food people that are right out there. To me, that kind of reflects in, I think, our guys by the way they play, and the way they've handled this adversity, [they] have honored them. That's what it takes. It takes faith, and it takes guts. I think our guys wear the shirts with pride." 

(on if today's game was an exclamation point on the season) "It's never what you say, it's what you do. There's a great saying, I think it's [Ralph Waldo] Emerson that said, 'What you do speaks so loudly that I can't hear what you say.' I do believe that our guys have reflected that bit of wisdom. So, if that's the case, so be it. But we understand that we have to look forward. The thing we've done is we've looked ahead all the way. We haven't looked back. We haven't looked left. We haven't looked right. We've looked straight ahead at the next challenge, and that's what is in front of us right now. That's what we need to do now."  

(on if there was any preparation for the next opponent once the team was up 38-3, or if the preparation begins on Monday) "No; that wasn't ever part of the conversation on the sideline or anything like that. There are so many scenarios that it wasn't worth even thinking about. But we'll go to work on that. We've been working on all different teams. Whoever it is, we'll have played everybody except the [Buffalo] Bills, if it ends up being them for some reason. We'll work on that tomorrow morning. That will be our next challenge." 

(on if he likes going into the postseason with the playoff mindset a few weeks early) "It's a good question. I really think you just kind of have to take it as you find it. (laughter) I think you can make an argument about anything, but I like where we're at right now. I love where this team is right now. I love us going into the playoffs in this scenario at this time. I'm excited about it, and I really can't wait to get to work tomorrow morning." 

(on how he appreciates the accomplishment of getting to the postseason even though it's happened nine times in his time in Baltimore) "I don't really … I'm probably mad about the four we didn't get in, to be honest with you. We didn't go far enough, so that's probably more of what you think about. I feel like we just have to focus on the next challenge, and the next challenge is the next game. Our guys will be ready for that, and that will be our focus." 

(on what has been the key to the turnaround in the running game) "A lot of these guys are just executing really well. The running backs are running very well. They're making guys miss. They're breaking tackles. The offensive line is … We see a lot of different fronts. We see a lot of different blitzes and different involvement with the secondary in different ways. This week, I think it was the safeties [who] were heavily involved in the run defense. The wide receivers, I mean … I'll tell you; when you get a chance, watch the J.K. Dobbins [72-yard] run and see the Dez Bryant block – the touchdown block that he had downfield. It was just a really great block. So, it's just a team effort. But that game is behind us, and we have to find a way against a tough defense next week. It'll be a tough defense, whoever we play. We'll try to find a way to move the ball and score points." 

(on the development of the offensive line) "That's a great point. I think it goes back to the idea of trust; the idea that you believe in your players, you believe in your people and believe in one another. I know our guys … Lamar [Jackson] said it when he was up here talking to you guys. He said, 'Pat [Mekari] goes out, and Trystan [Colon-Castillo] comes in.' Nobody bats an eye. Nobody flinches. He plays a great game, and we have the success we had. So, we have a lot of faith in our guys and their effort, toughness and how hard they work. We just believe in our players. I'm proud of them for it." 

(on if there were any injuries today and if CB Jimmy Smith and DE Yannick Ngakoue could return in the playoffs next week) "I think we got through this [game] pretty well; I haven't been informed of anything serious. I do think there's a good chance we get both of those guys back. I can't say for certain, but I think there's a good chance for those guys to play." 

(closing statement) "Thanks, everybody. I appreciate you guys, too. Thanks to you guys, too, for putting up with all of the craziness in these Zoom meetings and press conferences and things like that. You guys have been great. We definitely appreciate that. I know [senior vice president of communications] Chad [Steele] is over here shaking his head yes; he appreciates it, too. So, thanks to you guys and for who you are. We appreciate you." 

WR Marquise Brown

(on if QB Lamar Jackson recording his second 1,000-yard rushing season serves as a reminder of just how special he is) "Of course. For him to do that, it just shows how spectacular he is. He can do it in all phases of the game, and I'm super proud of him."

(on entering the playoffs playing some of his best football) "Like I said before, you've got to take advantage of your opportunities. You never know when you're going to get them again. You've got to play like there's no tomorrow. So, I feel like that's how we're approaching it, and that's how we're going to continue to approach it going forward."

(on if entering the playoffs as one of the NFL's hottest teams can carry over into the postseason) "It's a whole new season that we're starting, so everybody is 0-0. We're just going to come out here and play the brand of football that we're going to play, and we're going to see what happens."

(on if spending time with QB Lamar Jackson off the field helps their on-field chemistry) "Outside of football, that's truly my friend, so we're always, probably, going to have that relationship. I want to see him succeed, and he wants to see me succeed, and we want to win a Super Bowl, so that's our main goal."

(on why the team, and specifically, QB Lamar Jackson, is so good inside the red zone) "Because in that condensed spaced, there's a lot you've got to account for, and him [Lamar Jackson] being him, you have to account for him. When he's able to get out of the pocket, we're able to run free, so he makes our job a lot easier."

(on the team's approach entering these last few games) "Honestly, we've been treating these last few weeks how we're going to treat the upcoming weeks. It's one game; you've got to take it one game at a time. So, this was a playoff game for us [that] we had to come out and win."

S Chuck Clark

(on his mindset entering the postseason) "Right now, the mindset for us is, 'It's a new season.' Everybody is 0-0; we've got a fresh slate, and we just want to take it one game at a time."

(on how it felt to record an interception today) "Man, it felt good to get one. I didn't want to go the regular season with 'goose eggs,' so it felt good to definitely get one."

(on how different it feels entering the playoffs this year compared to last year) "Last year, we were rolling into the playoffs – very different situation. And I feel like this year, we definitely had to work, we had to earn it and go get it. But since that second Steelers' game that we had, we knew that every game was a playoff game. It wasn't [the] playoffs, but we knew the magnitude of each game."

(on the atmosphere of the locker room after the game) "We were all hyped. We're enjoying it right now, but we all know that tomorrow, whatever you do, your routine to get back for a regular game, we know that tomorrow, we're back on the grind and working."

(on if he feels the team is stronger this year given the circumstances and having been in "playoff mode" for the past five weeks) "Every year is different, but I definitely feel that the things that we went through this year, just to start the season off with the difference in the season – how it started with COVID – and just everything coming into it … So, [it's] definitely a different year, for sure, and I know that the adversities that we went through definitely have made us stronger."

(on if he'd like to see the Titans again) "I honestly don't even know who we're playing – it doesn't matter. We're trying to line up with whoever we got. We're trying to go get the job done."

(on how big CB Anthony Averett and ILB Chris Board have been during the winning streak) "Those two names right there that you mentioned alone, they've been stepping up, playing big-time football. Chris [Board] on special teams, and then his role on defense when he gets in. 'Double-A' [Anthony Averett], he's been coming in, making key pass-breakups and [playing] good coverage on top receivers in this league, and we trust him. But there's a lot of guys who do a lot of 'dirty work.' The guys up front who are stopping the run – you might not see a guy leveraging his gap; you just see who makes the tackle. So, there's a lot of 'dirty work' that's done on this defense that doesn't get a lot of credit."

(on how much better the defense can get as players continue to get healthy) "We just know we can play lights out football. We're just going to take it one week at a time. And [if] everybody's locked in and doing their job, the sky is the limit for us."

RB J.K. Dobbins

(on the atmosphere and celebration after the game) "I would say it's a bunch of guys that are happy, but we're still hungry. We're glad to get this win and get in, but we know what the ultimate goal is, and I think that's what's on our minds right now."

(on if he's given any thought to his first trip to the NFL playoffs as a rookie) "It's been the playoffs for us [starting] a long time ago. Actually, getting into the playoffs is a great accomplishment, and I'm glad I can experience that my rookie year. But I'm the type of guy who wants more. I want to be great. I don't want to be mediocre. Yes, I'm glad to be in the playoffs, but I know the goal and I know why I was brought here. And I'm just going to do everything I can to help this team win this first playoff game."

(on what it's like to be a part of an offense that racks up 400 rushing yards) "It's an amazing feeling. I'm so happy to be here; I'm so happy to be a Raven. Because we've got a whole bunch of great 'O-linemen,' great playmakers outside, quarterback is great, everyone is great. It's just showing how hard we've worked. That's what the 400 [rushing] yards shows – that we've been working so hard. And to be honest, I feel like we could still take another step. But it's great to be on this team."

(on his 72-yard touchdown run that put the team up 38-3) "My guys – the O-linemen – we've been waiting on a big, long touchdown run. We've been harping on that all week. Pat Ricard texted me earlier this week, [and] he was like, 'Man, we've got to make a big one. We've got to make a big, long run.' I wanted that to happen. So, on that TD run, it was excellent blocking. Whenever I got to the sideline … A lot of people don't think I can run. (laughter)A lot of people don't think that. So, I finally got the opportunity to show my speed, and that [if] you give me an opportunity to go, I'm going to go [and] I won't get caught. That was going through my mind. When I got to that sideline, I was like, 'I am not getting caught.'"

(on his first time going to the playoffs) "It means a lot to me. I want to play in the big games, always. They say big-time players make plays in big-time games – and I want to see if I'm a big-time player. That's what I want to see. I want to go to these big games and just do anything I can to help the team win. I've been dreaming about [the] Super Bowl [and] the NFL playoffs since I was a little kid. And now, it's finally here. I can tell you this; I'm going to work as hard as I can to take every … I'm taking this opportunity to heart. I'm going to try to do my best, and you're going to get the best out of me."

(on the mindset of the team these last five games, helping the team into the playoffs) "We've got a bunch of great guys. So, the mindset was … We're talented, we know we're talented, we've got the coaches, we've got everything we need. We've just got to put it all together. And you see the chemistry, we all got tighter in the locker room. I think that's the most important thing – was the chemistry. We all came together, and we all have the same mindset, and you see it working through us. We weren't going to be denied. None of us were going to be denied. We got a bunch of winners, and that's what's showing right now."

(on what Bengals LB Germaine Pratt tweeted about the Ravens yesterday) "No comment on that. We just let those guys do the talking on the Internet, and we're going to go play ball."

RB Gus Edwards

(on how he would describe this Ravens team, especially over the last five weeks) "Physical, determined. We've been playing relentless football. We've been resilient. There are a lot of ways to describe it, but we're on a great roll right now, and we've got to keep pushing. We've got to stay hungry."

(on the mentality of the team heading into the playoffs) "We've been here before. I think the [going] 1-0 [mentality] has been really good for us. We've got to focus on being 1-0 this week." 

QB Lamar Jackson

(on why he feels the team was so dominant today) "Our team – we knew what was at stake for us. There was a lot of focus going, all phases just played their butts off, and we had a little help from our fans. Flock Nation traveled out here to Cincinnati and gave us some noise for the offense out there, and we just pulled out the victory. We've still got room for improvement. There were some little things out there; we couldn't finish drives here and there, but we got the job done, and that's all that matters. We've got to focus on the next opponent. Whoever it is, we've just got to focus with the same mentality, and there it is."

(on playing well late in the season) "It just shows our team … We faced a lot of adversity. People doubted us a lot throughout the season, because we weren't having the year that we had last year, but it's 'Any Given Sunday,' and our team fought through that, and we showed the world we're here to play, and we've just got to keep it going. A lot of focus, everyone just do their assignment, and that's what it was today."

(on setting the QB record with his second 1,000-yard rushing season) "Yes, it's part of football. I don't know about the record part, but our offensive line did a great job, and our running backs helped me out a lot, and the receivers blocking down the field, tight ends doing their job. It's a team record. It's not just me out there. So, hats off to everyone on the offense."

(on why the offensive line has been so good, despite all the moving parts) "Those guys, we want to win. That's their job. Their job is to block their tail off and help us score points, and that's what they've been doing. Just hats off to everyone on the offensive line. 'Pat' [Patrick Mekari] went down, 'Castillo' [Trystan Colon-Castillo] went in, and he did his job. We've just got to keep it going. Our offensive line, they faced adversity, as well, this whole season, and they fought through it, just like the whole offense, the defense, special teams. We've just got to keep that going. But like I said, hats off to the offensive line."

(on potentially facing the Titans in the first round of the playoffs) "It's not about them; it's about us. It really doesn't matter who we play. We're going to go in there with the same mentality; just focus on our assignment and just try to come out with a 'W.' But if we play them, then that's a good thing, as well. It really doesn't matter, but I'll be grateful for whoever we play. I'm just happy we made the playoffs."

(on overcoming adversity early in the season and still making the playoffs) "It's pretty cool, but we have to win now. It's win or go home, and that's what it's been for the last few weeks. We knew what we could do. We've just got to keep it going. That's all it is right now for us – just keep it going."

(on rushing for over 400 yards as a team) "Just hats off to our running backs [who were] making explosive plays, and our offensive line [for] just pushing guys around. Guys want to feed their family, and we've just got to keep that going. The sky is the limit for us."

(on how special this season has been) "It's pretty cool, but we've still got things we want to finish. It's just the beginning for us, to be honest with you."

OLB Matthew Judon

(on what went into the defense's dominant performance against Cincinnati) "It's just a lot of hard work and preparation. That's a division rivalry, so we play them twice a year. We know them; they know us. We just went out there and played." 

(on if this win is more satisfying after having no margin of error for the last month of the season) "Man, any game that you can win in the National Football League is a big game. So, I don't want to say that, because we could've put ourselves in a hole in the beginning of the season, come out 0-3 and then have to fight and claw back. So, we did drop those three games mid-season, and it made the last half of the season monumental. I think we came and jelled together after that [COVID-19] outbreak that we kind of had, and then we came and got the job done. So, any win in the National Football League is a big win." 

(on if the defense feels like it's set up to play its best ball of the season with the possible return of CB Jimmy Smith and DE Yannick Ngakoue) "As far as injuries, I'm going to let Coach [John Harbaugh] speak on that. But anybody that goes out there has to put their best foot forward. It's not like we're always going to have everybody at 100%, but if you go out there and step on the field … If you lace them up and strap them up, you better come with it, because we're expecting that. Everybody is expecting that you're [going to] come with it. So, that's everybody's mindset every time you get to put 'Ravens' on the front of your chest and your last name on your back." 

(on if he feels like the team is stronger this year entering the playoffs than last year) "Man, we're not worried about last year. If we could get last year back, we would go back to last year. I don't know why you all want to continue to talk about it – we're in 2021. Last year is last year, and right now is right now. Whoever we get, and whenever the timeslot we get them, we have to be ready to play them." 

(on if he wants another chance to play RB Derrick Henry and the Tennessee Titans) "Man, you're older than that man – you can't call that dude [Derrick Henry] 'King Henry.' But it is what it is, you feel me? If we have to go to Tennessee, [or] if we have to go to upstate New York, it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter. We just have to win." 

(on how beneficial it is for the defense to play only 40 snaps due to a dominant performance by the offense) "I think it was 48 [defensive snaps] (inaudible). So, that's huge. You just see what our offense can do up front; the dominance to get 400 yards rushing with a stacked box. I don't think any play it was ever an empty box, unless we came out and emptied, and then [the Bengals] still had about seven [defensive players] in the box. So, it's just crazy. The stuff that Lamar [Jackson] can do – plays break down, he scrambles, he gets yards, he picks up first downs. J.K. [Dobbins] was electric. He had a [72]-yard touchdown. Gus [Edwards] in the first half was toting the rock and had about 50 yards at halftime on hard runs. [He had] hard runs. It was third-and-1; they knew he was going to run the ball. We knew he was going to run the ball, and Gus still [was] getting five [or] six yards. So, that's hard runs, and that's hard work. You have to give credit to the people up front making the holes, but then the ball carriers are finishing runs. You let Mark Ingram [II] get in there, and he got a little juice back going forward into the playoffs. So, what our offense can do is amazing, and it helps us. As long as that clock ticks, and they're running the ball, it helps us." 

(on the difference having DT Brandon Williams and DE Calais Campbell back makes for the defense) "You see it. You see it. You don't really have to speak on stuff that you see. We had some younger guys that stepped in there, and we had Justin Ellis that stepped in there, and they played great ball. They played their butts off, but Brandon Williams and Calais Campbell have been playing at a level for so long in this league – they've seen a lot more stuff than those guys, and they've been through a lot more plays than those other guys. So, it's no slight to those guys, because they were still playing well. But you see the difference of when you have Brandon Williams and Calais in." 

CB Marcus Peters

(on the mentality of this team heading into the playoffs) "Together. This team is together."

(on the adversity of this team over the past several weeks and going on a five-game winning streak) "Hard times don't last, and the best thing about it is it doesn't break you – it makes you. It's making us come together as a team even more."

(on the way this defense has persevered all year long and is playing at a high level) "Man, when you're a part of this organization, you've got some big shoes to fill anyway, with just the history and what it stands for. It stands for defense, it stands for toughness, and it's together. That's the best thing, is that we all come together, and we've got a team full of tough players who are going to go to battle, and who are going to scratch and claw for each other. We're not done; we're just getting started. What we went through earlier made us to be where we're at now, and it's unified. We've got a goal, and the goal isn't going to be complete until all of us get it done."

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