Head Coach John Harbaugh
(Opening Statement) "OK, just a great victory and a tremendous rivalry against a very good football team that also played their hearts out. To see our guys be able to finish the way they did in the second half, says a lot. [It was a] team victory, very efficient. We didn't give them too many opportunities anywhere and we took advantage of ours. I think we scored 10 points off of turnovers. Time of possession in the second half, run-game in the fourth quarter – all of those things are critical. I thought our defensive backs did a great job of keeping these receivers … You can see how hard these guys are at tackle, running backs and receivers. Our guys did a good job of keeping them corralled, keeping them inside and in front, that was big for us. Our four-man pass rush was really big. I thought our defensive line did a good job of keeping Ben [Roethlisberger] in the pocket, not giving him a chance to move around and make too many plays. So, it was a great team victory. Special teams were solid across the board and then the big punt return in the fourth quarter really sparked us."
(on what message he relayed to the team to get them focused on tonight's game) "I don't even know if I remember right now, standing in front of you, what the message was. The message was pretty straight forward. It was 'We have a football game to play. We care about our families. We care about the Rice family.' Our guys do. It's part of our family and we had [a] tough family situation this week. I thought our guys handled it tremendously, with class, with character, and they responded."
(on if adversity brought the team together) "Sure, if you're made of the right thing. I think adversity can bring you together, and our guys are made of the right stuff, and I'm proud of them for that."
(on if this was one of the more trying weeks of his coaching career) "I don't like comparisons, you're right. That's a good opening to the question. So, it was a great victory. Our guys came out and our crowd was amazing. The place was full in warm ups. It was great to be a part of it."
(on if he feels RB Bernard Pierce bounced back after last week's performance) "Bernard bounced back. That shows you what he's made of, that shows you his metal a little bit, and he finished it off in the fourth quarter pretty good, as did Justin [Forsett]."
(on the Steeler's turnover in the first drive of the game) "That was big. We were able to even out the time of possession. I think they took up about half the quarter off of that drive after the personal foul on Courtney [Upshaw]. We had them sacked on fourth down. It was a heck of a play. Unfortunately, we got the call there. And what they do, they took advantage of that opportunity and they took it down the field. [Our coming] up with the turnover was big. And to respond on offense, by the end of the first quarter … I think we were up seven to nothing and we both had had the ball once. I think we each had possessions in the first half. That's kind of a typical Steelers-Ravens game."
(on the chest bump with DT Haloti Ngata after his interception) "I did not fall down. I kept my balance. I flew, but I kept my balance. A lesser athlete would have been on the ground there. I want to make sure we all understand that. (laughter) He's a big man."
(on the offensive line playing well) "The offensive line … That's a good pass-rush team. They've got defensive ends that can really bring it. They've got a tremendous blitz package that coach [Dick] LeBeau runs there. I thought our offensive line and running backs did a great job protecting Joe [Flacco]. Game plan was very good. Our coaches, across the board, did a great job. With all the things that were swirling around us this week, our coaches went to work on football. Gary [Kubiak] and Dean [Pees] and Jerry [Rosburg] led the way. All of our position coaches had the guys in the right frame of mind. The guys were well taught, very few mistakes, very few penalties, very few missed assignments. That's how you win a football game in this kind of an environment in a rivalry game."
(on how quickly the players recovered after only playing four days ago) "That's a great point. We're in great shape, and our guys have really done a great job, all through training camp, of taking care of themselves. I believe we have taken that to another level. Our conditioning level is off the charts, and we played a disciplined football game. We knew what we were doing. Credit to our coaches and our players."
(on new Ravens players playing in this rivalry) "That's a great point. Owen [Daniels] and Steve [Smith], the first time they are in this rivalry. Steve said something to me, that he was born for AFC North football, on the sideline. I know he was having fun. And Owen, too. Owen came up with some huge catches, and other guys, too. Some of the young guys played really well."
(on the motivation of the team) "I think they are [a] motivated team. They have been a really motivated team throughout everything we have done in the preseason, training camp. I have all the confidence in the world they'll continue to be a very motivated team."
(on the week's events and whether he had any sense about how the team would perform tonight) "Not having ever gone through anything like this before, I guess you're never sure. But, knowing our guys, I had a pretty good feeling that they would respond."
(on whether he thought, during the practice week, that things would be OK) "Monday, our guys came out, and we had a two-hour practice, Monday night before the press conference. And our guys were very sharp. They were sharp. They were on every assignment. I don't think we had a missed assignment. And, [with] a new game plan, 24 hours after we played, and we didn't have a missed assignment. So, that was a good indication."
(on whether this game was the easiest three hours of his week) "I slept for some hours. That was easier than this. Don't take that the wrong way. You got me there."
(on if it was tough getting back to football with the events of the week) "As a coach and players, we were into [football] all week. We weren't too involved in any of the other stuff. I know from the outside, looking in, you probably feel like all the media stuff is being generated at the team. And, it's really not, as you know, [the media] has been inside. We are really isolated from all of that. As a football team, we go into our meeting rooms, our locker rooms, our offices, and we go to work. Especially on a short week like that. So, we didn't have much to do with any of that. We were just working on football. So, we've been in that football cocoon, and I think that carried us right into the game."
(on whether CB Asa Jackson was the only major injury tonight) "Asa had a concussion, and I don't think it's too major, but again, you never know with those things. The other two guys, we had an ankle and a knee. They don't look too bad."
(on CB Jimmy Smith) "Well Jimmy is … I'm a believer in Jimmy Smith. I believe Jimmy Smith is going to make history as a cornerback. I believed that from the day he got here. I've watched him progress. He's one of the most coachable, teachable, hard-working, smart, talented players you're going to find. And you're seeing the fruits of that labor."
(on the first sack penalty in the first quarter) "We'll have to see it. We teach our guys to keep their 'Heads Up Football.' [We teach them to] see what they hit, [and] if they do get their head on the quarterback, to hit with their face mask. And Courtney [Upshaw] tried to do that. So, we'll just have to see if that's what happened or not. We'll coach it from there."
OLB Elvis Dumervil
(on the pass rush and the defense) "Guys were working hard, just being relentless. Give credit to [defensive coordinator Dean] Pees with his scheme, and the guys in the back end with great coverage and obviously playing opposite of [Terrell] Suggs. The guys were pushing hard, good things happened."
(on the move that was effective for him on the pass rush) "I mean, we're just trying to get off the ball and be disruptive. As a rush, you just want to be annoying. Just come out there and just get pressure, and as you keep hammering, the door will come down."
(on how emotional this week was for the team) "It was emotional. It just shows the toughness, it starts up top in the organization. We've got great leaders on this team. We all have faith, and we believe in God in this locker room, and good things happen when you believe."
(on if there was a point this week they felt things were going to be OK) "Whenever you lose a brother, it's tough. Obviously, understanding the situation, we have a bunch of men on our team and, you know, it's a business. Things have to happen, and you just got to prepare for it. So like I said, give credit to the guys in the front office and it starts with the top. It's a great organization and we proved it tonight."
(on dealing with the Pittsburgh protection and how he got success) "Ben [Roethlisberger] is a very difficult guy to get to. The offensive line is pretty good, too. But like I mentioned earlier, you have Terrell Suggs on the opposite side. You got a guy like Haloti [Ngata], [Pernell] McPhee inside and Jimmy [Smith] and those guys, they get great coverage. It makes my job a little easier."
(on how big this win can be for the rest of the season) "You got to take it a week at a time. This is the National Football League, we know week-in and week-out any team can win. We just got to make sure we celebrate tonight and get ready for a good Cleveland team."
(on how encouraging this defensive performance was against a division rival) "I mean, we work hard all year. You know, from the off-season, the OTAs, mini-camp, training camp, so we played with a lot of energy, the crowd was great, and that helps. As a defensive player, you have to play with emotions, so we had fun."
TE Owen Daniels
(on John Harbaugh's message to the team before the game) "I think the biggest thing for us was to focus on football. We didn't have any control over what was going on outside of that, and we had to. It was a short week – big rivalry game. Fifty-three of us had to go out there and play a football game. That was the biggest thing on our minds."
(on whether this week was a distraction) "I think it can be a distraction. I think we have guys that are very focused on football, and very focused on their jobs, and [who] worry about what they can control on a day-to-day basis. And we can control going through the game plan, perfecting that, and getting ready to play football. That's the way we look at it."
(on the team's effort tonight) "We had a good week. It wasn't obviously a grinding week at practice. It was more of a mental thing, obviously, on a short week, and we needed to come back and play a lot better than we did last week as a whole. Speaking offensively, we need to play a little bit better consistently throughout the game. That's what we focus on doing – sticking to our game plan and doing what we needed to do."
(on his first taste of the Ravens-Steelers rivalry) "It's pretty fun. Obviously, it's fun winning. It kind of feels like that old high school, crosstown rivalry type of situation. It's an honor for me to be part of it [for] the first time, and everyone buys into it – the city buys into it, the team buys into it, and it's a big deal. It's pretty cool."
(on his two touchdowns) "I think that's just the icing on the top. We put great drives together [with] a lot of people contributing in those drives to get us down to that goal line, and I just happened to be that guy to score that touchdown. [It was a] huge team effort overall – huge offensive effort; a lot of guys contributing."
(on his comfort level with the offense) "I'm very familiar with it. It made it a lot easier coming in here with Coach [Gary] Kubiak. Knowing the offense as well as I know it…I think it's my ninth year running Coach Kubiak's offense being with him. Stepping in from day one, it's kind of nice having guys have to communicate with me, me being the new guy, and me being a little bit of a tutor out there. The guys have caught on very well, have taken the offense very well [and] understand it very well. We're going to just keep moving forward."
(on if tonight felt like playing in Houston) "Yes, definitely. Coach [Gary] Kubiak likes to run two tight end sets. We did a decent amount of three tight end sets out there and mixed up formations and personnel groupings. The more a defense has to prepare for, the easier it makes it for us on a week-to-week basis. That was a kind of signature Kubiak game plan. I think we executed it pretty well."
QB Joe Flacco
(on moving past the distractions of this week) "We've been through a lot together. No matter what it is, I think that we're a team that tends to group together and come together through tough times. I never had a doubt that we wouldn't be able to come out here and go get a win tonight."
(on if there was anything that stood out during the week) "I don't think so."
(on how big the win was) "It was huge. Any time you start off with a couple of division games [and] you lose the first one, it's nice to be able to play so quickly and get that win. It's huge for our confidence going forward, and it'll be nice to get a couple days off here, get a long week going into the next game. We just have to keep at it. We have to build off of what we did today and continue to go. It was definitely huge. Any time you lose an opener, you have to go out there and get one, and we did."
(on why the offense clicked right away) "There's no special thing – we played better. We did the little things right and we made the plays when they presented themselves. It felt good, definitely, to go down there and get points on the board early. If we didn't, I think we still would have responded well and continued to play a good game."
(on the balance of offensive game plans) "Well it was big, and the big thing was, even if we weren't getting big runs, we were still making plays on third down. We were still moving the chains. We had some big plays from a lot of guys, and when we got down – at least early in the game – when we got down in the red zone, we scored touchdowns, and we got a couple guys wide open down there. We got Owen [Daniels] wide open down there, which was huge. If you don't put those balls in the end zone, then it's a different game. We were able to put two of them in. I wish we were able to put more of them in. And then, as the game went on, and we got that lead, it allowed us to continue to run the ball – that's really when your yardage goes up. When your carries can go up, when you can get the lead late in the game, you really start to pound them. That's what we were able to do tonight."
(on scoring a touchdown after the defense's first turnover) "It was big. That was a big opening drive because our defense did such a great job on the first three plays, and then we get the 15 yard penalty that gets [Pittsburgh] going [and] gets them all the way in that red zone. [The defense] getting a turnover there was really big because that was a big drive for the Steelers – to turn what would have been a sack and punting from the 10- or 15-yard line to almost [scoring] a touchdown. Our defense did a great job not panicking. Even though they let a couple yards up, they were still able to make that play at the end. I think that's why us starting so fast was kind of big today, because it was off of a pretty good drive. It showed that we were ready and we responded well."
(on the game not coming down to the final seconds) "We've only played a couple where they haven't been tight all the way, and even this one. Not until the very end did you feel very comfortable, because at any point they could have put a touchdown on the board and gotten right back into this thing and made it a one score game with a two-point conversion or something like that. We had to still go out there and concentrate and make sure we played really well. I think our guys did a great job playing a full 60 minutes."
(on when the sense of urgency kicked in after Week 1) "Yes. As soon as the clock ticked to zero against Cincinnati on Sunday, there was a sense of urgency that we had to get after it, and we had to get back on the field. That's why it was nice to play on Thursday. As tough as it is with the turnaround, it was nice to play on Thursday because we had to put that game behind us so quickly, and we had to get ready for this one. I think a Thursday night game actually after the first one is tougher than it would be in the middle of the season. There is soreness that you're dealing with that you probably don't deal with in the middle of the season. You're kind of just already banged up, so you don't feel that extra stuff. We're not in that routine yet. In a lot of ways, this Thursday night game is probably tougher than it would be in November sometimes. I think we handled it really well, and it showed."
(on the performance of the offensive line) "They did a great job. Anytime you go against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and I can stand back there and be pretty much untouched, it's a nice feeling."
(on TE Owen Daniels and WR Steve Smith, Sr. playing in this rivalry for the first time) "They did a great job. They're feisty guys. They're tough guys – you can tell that. Owen made some tough catches over the middle for me where he got popped, and he held onto the ball and got up fired up. Steve's the same way. If you get him the ball early on and get him involved in the game early on, there's no telling what he's going to do. I think he made some big plays for us tonight."
TE Dennis Pitta
(on playing this game with all the controversy) "We were able to focus and come in and get off to a quick start offensively. We really liked the way we drove the ball down the field the first two drives. [We] got a lot of confidence out of that. As far as all the other stuff, we just had to find a way to put that out of our minds. We feel for Ray [Rice]. He's still a great teammate. We just need to figure out a way to put this behind us and move on."
(on QB Joe Flacco and the passing game) "Yes, we had a good chemistry tonight. The short passing game was working well. We got bogged down a little in the middle of the game, but we wore them down in the second half. The running game was really special tonight. Both guys did a great job."
WR Steve Smith, Sr.
(on this being the longest short week) "It really was. It's just so tough with all the media that surrounded us this week. I mean, they were everywhere. In the parking lot. In the locker room. To be quite honest, I've never seen anything like it. And then, you go home to your wife or your girlfriend, and then you have to explain and take questions from them. I mean, it really was hard. Oh, and then, we have to learn plays for the Steelers. But all that just speaks to this team. We focused; we knew we had our backs against the wall, as you can't lose two division games to start the season, and we got it done."
(on what that says about this team) "We're special. We can do special things. I know I haven't been here long, but there's something about this team, something about this organization—from the top down."
RB Bernard Pierce
(on his play tonight) "What a difference from last week. I knew I was going to get called on tonight, and I was really focused to correct the mistakes I made from last week. The offensive line did a great job making holes, and we just wore them down in the second half."
(on his benching from last week) "I knew it was nothing personal. It was business, and I did not take care of business last week. I learned a lot this week on how to prepare through adversity, and the coaching staff was terrific."
WR Torrey Smith
(on playing tonight) "It was a very difficult week, and we still care about Ray [Rice]. He's still a good person who made a terrible mistake, and we'll still support him. We just needed to go out tonight and take care of our business. Pittsburgh is always tough, and we knew this was going to be one of those games. But we came though. The offense clicked, and the defense was tremendous."
(on the passing game) "I mean, they were tight on me, which opened up a lot for Steve [Smith, Sr.]. Joe [Flacco] was patient and on the mark and the O-line did a great job of protecting him. We'll get a couple days off here and really look forward to Cleveland."
(on the running game) "I knew those guys would come through tonight. We got out to a quick lead. Pittsburgh came back, but we just pounded the ball in there, and that opened up things on the outside."
(on what this game says about the Ravens) "I mean, we just have a way of putting things in perspective, and the coaches always put us in a good position to win. When you go through adversity like this, everybody pulled together in this locker room, and that's really what a team is all about. It was really only a distraction when you guys were around. We play. You write. And we went out and played our game tonight."
LB C.J. Mosley
(on Ray Rice) "Even though he is gone, I haven't really known him that long but as long as I have known him, he has been a great player. We wish the best for him."
(on overcoming this week's adversity) "As long as we stay together, we can accomplish anything. We have a little saying 'us vs. them,' and this week, we really found out who 'them' was. We stayed faithful to each other as a team, and as a team we played a great game. As long as we stay together, we can do anything."
(on his performance tonight) "I had a solid game, but individually I know there is a lot more I can work on, especially in the passing game. I missed a couple of tackles and got out of position on a few plays. I need to get better, watch some film and make sure I get better at my game."
(on holding the Steelers to six points) "At the end of the day that is how we are going to win, but I've got to give a shout out to the offense. They did a great job of running the clock so we weren't on the field as much. When we were, we were able to get off."
(on why he wanted to win for Rice) "I know as far as the team goes, he has been a big part of this organization. He has put a lot of blood, sweat and tears … since I was in middle school, he has been here. For him to go was a hard decision for everyone, but at the end of the day, we have to move on because it's not up to us what happens. As a team, we just have to move forward and wish him the best in his career."
(on the emotion of tonight) "We just tried our best to block that out. We knew that was something that was hovering over our heads, but it was all about getting a win. That was the main thing, and that's what we did. We wish the best for Ray [Rice], but every man has to go through their mistakes to get better. As a team, we just have to keep moving forward."
(on Steelers week) "I already knew from the first day I got drafted. I think the first or second question I got was about the Steelers. It has been a rivalry for a long time. I'm going to be here for a long time, that's the plan, so it's going to be a battle every time. When we see them again at their place, we are going to be ready."
(on the Ravens' red-zone defense) "It's just a different mentality. Obviously we don't want a team to score on us at all, especially touchdowns. For the most part, we have been doing a good job of keeping teams out of the red zone, but when they get in there, it is all about execution and just making plays."
(on his fumble recovery) "It was just an ordinary play. We had our normal three-deep four-under. Daryl [Smith] did a great job of making the tackle and holding him up, and I guess when I hit him, my head or arm knocked the ball loose, so I was just at the right place at the right time."
LB Terrell Suggs
(on Ravens-Steelers game) "Ravens-Steelers man, especially the short week we had, it was just to go out there and get one. For this team and for this city, it is good to get one against your rival."
(on if playing football was a relief tonight) "Most definitely. There were a lot of microphones, a lot of media attention and not a lot of good attention this week. It was definitely good to just get back to football. It was just really good."
(on coming out of the tunnel with gladiator mask) "I just thought that we needed a boost. I couldn't afford to start slow. I just wanted to get the crowd and my team in there early. It was just a suggestion from my brother and No. 92 [Haloti Ngata]. He was like 'Yeah, you should do it. It would be tight.'"
(on whether he thinks it worked) "I think so. We came out pretty fired up. We had a three-and-out, but got a penalty, unfortunately. They got a drive, but we ended up getting a turnover. So I guess it worked pretty well."
(on what this win says to the rest of the league) "It's been a really long week, but it's the Raven identity. We stick together. Our city going through it with us … and it was just good for us to get back onto the football field. We all banded together from the moment Thursday got here, the fans were ready, we were ready, and we were ready to show just who we are. That's Ravens football."
(on the defensive effort tonight) "They had some success. We didn't want 84 [Antonio Brown] to get off and have a good game. He [Ben Roethlisberger] did a good job of getting the ball out quick. But we played good fundamental defense. We didn't give up big plays, and we didn't give up a touchdown. Anytime you don't give up a touchdown, you are going to be pretty hard to beat. We'll take it. We're going to look at the film tomorrow. We have a couple days off to get our bodies back healthy and get ready for Cleveland."
(on the difference between being 1-1 and 0-2) "It's a huge difference. It's very unfortunate that we let the one go at our house, but we had to get over that quick, especially on a short week. Coming and playing against your division foe, you have to be ready to play. I think our coach, our organization, our team and our city did a good job sticking together and being prepared to win a football game."
CB Jimmy Smith
(on Ray Rice) "I love the guy. I still support him. I can never condone what he did, but I wish the best for him and his family, and I hope they get through it."
(on whether he expected this kind of performance) "Absolutely. I never doubted the team. The one thing that we do live by, no matter what the situation, is the next man up. Our offense played well. We ran the ball. We controlled the clock a little bit tonight, kudos to the offense."
(on red-zone defense success) "You gotta ask Coach [Dean] Pees that. I mean we're on the field, and he calls the plays. We play, we execute. We know that we work on red zone every day in practice no matter what day it is. That's something we emphasize. If you can't score, you can't win."
(on plastering the Steeler receivers) "That's huge because they get a lot of huge plays and touchdown scores. If you watch the last game, they got a few that way. Le'Veon Bell had something to do with that. That's what Big Ben [Roethlisberger] does, and I have a lot of respect for him. Those guys uncover really fast, and they get open for him, and they are hard to track down. I'm happy he didn't extend any of those plays."
(on Daryl Smith and C.J. Mosley helping the secondary in coverage) "It's tremendous. You see what the Seahawks do. Their linebackers cover so you call more coverage packages and let your dogs up front hunt. You let your linebackers drop, and that allows your DBs to get some interceptions."
(on what C.J. is going through as a young player) "I just want to say that C.J. [Mosley] is way ahead of where I was as a rookie. He is an outstanding player. He is going to be a great player for us. It's a learning curve. He's going to see some things as the season progresses that he hasn't seen before. He just has to take things week-by-week."
DE Chris Canty
(on if he was glad to have a short week after all they've endured) "We were excited that we had a short week. We had another opportunity to get that sour taste out of our mouth from the Cincinnati Bengals game, and then with all of the adversity that we faced this week with Ray [Rice] and that situation … It just felt good to get back to football. We're answering a lot of questions about things that don't pertain to football, so just really excited that the men in this locker room came together amidst all of that adversity and we put the kind of performance out there that we did tonight. Just really excited [and] glad to be able to celebrate with these guys in this locker room. It says a lot about the character of the men on this football team."
(on how tough it was to go and do that tonight) "Yeah, we had our backs against the wall. We knew we didn't want to go down 0-2 in the division with two divisional home games, so we knew we had to come out tonight and get a win. We just came together and played complimentary football – offense, defense and special teams – and we were able to perform the way we did tonight."
(on if they were curious about how this game was going to go after the week leading up) "We weren't curious at all. We knew how this was going to go. This was going to go one way – our way – tonight. No question about it."
(on beating the Steelers physically tonight) "We pride ourselves on being a physical football team. We knew we had to be physical with them in order to give ourselves a chance to be successful, and we were able to come out tonight and do that."
(on the types of emotions he had tonight coming into the game) "It's been an emotional week for us. It's been an emotional week. But in the game of football you've got to be able to play with emotion to play at your best, and I think all of the guys kind of came out and did that tonight. You could kind of see it on the sideline – we were all excited, we were all cheering each other on, and that was big for us tonight."
NT Haloti Ngata
(on what was said amongst guys leading up to this week) "We just let all that outside stuff kind of just, [we] let everyone talk about it and we just focused on Pittsburgh. It was great that our team can get past that and focus more on football, and it was great that we were able to get that win."
(on if he knew he could make a diving interception) "No, I just hit the ball and was able to get it … I'm not a regular guy." (laughter)
(on taking a lot of double teams which helped free up Elvis Dumervil today) "It's great that our guys could make plays and get sacks, and hopefully we can continue to do that. Elvis is great. I think one of them [sacks], he was actually double-teamed by a tight end and a tackle and still was able to [get the sack]. He has an advantage because he's short. *(laughter) *But, it's great that we have a playmaker like that on our team."
(on if he chest-bumped coach Harbaugh after his interception and knocked him over) "I didn't completely knock him over – I just pushed him." (laughter)