Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh
(Opening Statement)– "Heck of a game. Without getting in to all of the things, two things came to my mind at the end – First thing is faith. Faith in one another and, most of all, in higher power. The other thing is guts. Our guys just played their hearts out. To be depleted the way we were, especially on offense, with guys going down and the things that happened in this heat … to start off the way we did and come back and get stronger as the game went on is such a statement for our guys and they deserve … This is a very good football team that we played. This team will probably win out and our guys stepped up and finished in about as good a way as you can possibly finish. So I'm really proud of them for that. It was a team victory and we move on to next week."
(What turned it around for you? 10-0 and you stormed back.) – "Well, we got us a couple of stops. I think we started to get a feel for their run game. They were getting the screens out pretty much the whole game. That's the third element of their option. They stand up and dump the ball out there. But I think we got a feel for their run game, and that was the key for us."
(John, was that a sign of a veteran team like this to be down 0-10 early, on the road, and not freak out? Just stay in your game plan?) – "Yeah. I mean all those things are exactly right. We stuck together. We didn't panic. We did stay with our game plan, all three phases. We overcame some things, some penalties and things like that that hurt us. Our pass rush was brilliant. I mean, that's where it started as far as we got the run slowed down. We got them into some situations that were a little bit longer. Then we got some huge sacks. I thought our coverage was exceptional. We did a really good job especially on the downfield routes. They completed some balls in front of us but we came up and tackled really well. The only thing we didn't defend that well were the screens … all the screens and quick passes outside. That's a tough offense to defend."
(How important was that touchdown right before the half? At eight seconds left … earlier in the year you had one with eight seconds and you end up scrambling around and not getting a play off. So this time you did the same thing and you end up getting a touchdown.) - "Thanks for the reminder (chuckles). That's what we tried to do the time before. We did a good job with that. To make a play there was big. We didn't score down there the other time, which was tough. To get that touchdown to make it 10-7, through all the things that happened in the first half and to be down three was obviously really important."
(The 4th and 1from your own 35, can you talk about the decision?) – "Well, yeah. That decision right there depends on the guys. And, I tell you, the guys up front did a great job. I mean Gene Monroe came all the way down from his left tackle spot and knocked the guy four yards off the ball. I thought you start with Jeremy Zuttah, both guards. When you've got an offensive line that we've got, you got a chance to do something like that. And that was big. In your own territory it's hard to make that call but not with our offensive line. I'm proud of those guys for that.)
(John, it seemed like the decision was made pretty quick … going for it on fourth down. Did you talk to anybody? What was the decision process?) – "We had decided if we got close there we were going to go for it. So pretty much the whole series we had decided we were going to do that."
(Can you just talk about Elvis Dumervil? He just set the Ravens single-season sack record today.) – Yeah, Elvis is a great pass rusher. He's a great football player. So for him to get that accomplishment, obviously he's incredible. We're all proud of that. And he'd be the first to tell you it's not just a one-man show. It's because of all of those other guys that are rushing as well. Coverage, off course. But when you got Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil on either side and then you got the inside rushers we got … Let me tell you, Courtney Upshaw is coming on as a pass rusher too. Chris Canty had a lot of pressure. I can't name those guys all. But guys are doing a good job with that."
(What was the protocol with Torrey Smith?) – "That's a good question. We worked him out pregame. He looked pretty good. And then after that, once we came off … I'm talking about early. Then we came out for pregame, right before the game and his knee swelled up and it really tightened up on him. We had already activated him. So then he really couldn't go."
(Can you talk about the fans support that you got here today?) – "It was great. You know, we heard the 'O' and the piano rendition of the National Anthem was incredible. And then the 'O' and you knew that was coming, so … We walked out earlier and saw all the purple jerseys there on our side and in some ways it looked like a home game. And then to have them all there at the end is a phenomenal feeling. Let me just tell you, thanks to our fans. But it's a phenomenal thing to walk over there with the players after a win, in a game like this, and have all those fans down there around the railing … those are the kind of things you never forget. Those are special moments."
(Can you give an update on Anthony Levine?) – "No updates on any injuries. Thanks for asking (chuckles)."
(John, on that 97-yard drive at the end of the first half, Joe ran for it on the three for 15 yards. What do you think about when Joe … Joe doesn't run often, but what do you think when he does?) – "I like when he runs. Joe makes yards when he runs. Joe's got a very good pocket presence. He can move around in the pocket I think way better than people give him credit for. I think it's really a positive for him. But that was a big play. They were coming after him just like they did down at the other end when we were backed up and they got him. But they opened up the inside rush and Joe recognized it. You know it's funny, Joe … Joe plays so well and so steady so consistently we just kind of take it for granted. He's playing at the highest level. He's playing at the highest level you can play at and this victory down here proves it."
(John, since the bye you guys are averaging about 30 points a game. Do you feel like now the offense is getting to where your identity is?) – "Yeah. I think we've known our identity. We're trying to get good at knowing our identity and we've found some things that we're doing really well. But Gary Kubiak is a coach and our whole offensive staff has just done a tremendous job. These guys are great coaches. It's an excellent system. It fits our personality as a football team. And they just keep coaching every single day. Our players keep working really hard every single day just to get better. Just to get a little bit better every day. One percent better than the day before. Really. We talk about that. But our guys take it seriously and we got to keep doing it. We got to do it this week again."
(John, I know you don't want to talk injuries but you lost two corners for the game. How concerned were you? You were down basically to two corners for that game.) – "Yeah, you know, I really didn't think about it. At that point in time you just play with the guys you got and the guys did a great job. Especially in the heat. I think it hurt us on special teams a little bit. We were a little gassed on special teams after some of those returns. We had some penalties there as a result of that. But they did a great job and they played well. Okay, thanks." Baltimore Ravens WR Kamar Aiken
(What does it mean to you have a breakout performance like this?)– "It's good, it's always good to have a good game in front of your hometown fans, a lot of them are Dolphins fans. It's always good."
(What was the key to that drive right before the end of the first half? How much did that help turn around the game?) –"We were just going to keep playing. We never got caught up in the flow of the game, we just kept making our plays to be honest, we never really got caught up in all that."
(What do you think when QB Joe Flacco starts running?) –"I think a lot of people underestimate Joe's speed, he has a lot more than a lot of these QBs in the league. We like it when he runs and he had the chance, he slides to not get hit so it's always good when he's running and picks up 15 or 20."
(What was your mindset with WR Tory Smith and you knowing you'd probably be having a larger role?) –"Yeah, I talked to Tory and he told me to have his back and I told him I have his back and that's it. We have a brotherhood among receivers first off, so if we have one of our guys not going or not feeling too well, we're going to pick up the slack and we're not going to skip a beat." Baltimore Ravens OLB Elvis Dumervil
(Was it just getting in a groove today or what was it?)– "As far as what?"
(Talk about all the sacks.)– "It was a good team win. The sacks had come and come in bunches. Truly grateful. Great opportunity, great organization, great team base. So many people played big parts. I'm just grateful to be in a great situation that I'm here to take advantage. I'm just grateful and thank God for that."
(You set the team record for the Ravens for sacks in a season. Your reaction to setting the record.)– "It's a blessing. Like I said, give God the glory. It's not easy. It's hard to come by. I can't take all of the credit for myself. I've got selfless guys that I play with -- Courtney Upshaw -- I'll give him a special shout out who helps me stay fresh -- Pernell McPhee in the middle rushing his butt off, obviously, playing alongside Terrell Suggs, it really helps. Our coverage unit did a great job today. Great scheme by the coaching staff. Just making great plays, and taking advantage of that."
(What turned it around in the second half for you guys?)– "They're perfectionists too. They made plays. We just kind of settled down and really started grasping how they were trying to attack us. We just kind of settled in and we started making plays. Our offense started getting going. We didn't have to be on the field as much the second half. The time of possession game was taken. Give credit to those guys. It was an overall team win. We needed this one. Give credit to the Dolphins today. It was a good team. We came out the first half and needed to re-challenge. The whole thing about this time of year, we are built for this time of year. We will condition. Give credit to our strength coaches for keeping us in shape. We were able to finish the game." Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco
(Was your intention to get Steve Smith involved in the game early?)– "I honestly didn't talk too much to Gary about doing that. I think he is at his best when you get him the ball early and I think it was just one of those games that it worked out like that. Obviously you call the plays and you really don't know if it's going to go to him. You can even draw plays up for him and you might not get it to him. It was great to get him involved early and he was big for us down the stretch."
(How confident were you that play was going to get overturned?) – "I don't know. All of our side line was saying that it looks like a pass, it looks like a pass but of course our side line is saying that. You don't know until he comes out and says."
(Can you talk about the 97 yard drive?) – "I think we had two longs drives there, didn't we? The first one where I threw the pick was a long drive too so those two back to back, I mean they were pretty big drives. Obviously, we want to come away with points on that first drive, which we really should have. We had a couple of opportunities and there was just a little miscue on that pick. Just keeping them on the field for that long drive helped us for that next one and I think it really helped us out late in the game too. Anytime done here, no matter how hot it is or isn't, anytime that you can keep people on the field you're going to do yourself well and I think that showed in the end."
(What was your thought process when you went for it on fourth and one?) – "I knew it was a QB sneak so I was just thinking of getting a first down. If they didn't spot it there we were going to get up and run something a little bit quicker. I'm glad that they did kind of end up coming in there, seeing where their spot was, how far away we were because it allowed us to dress it up a little bit. To dress the play up a little bit, bring Justin back into the backfield and our offensive line did a good job all day on the QB sneaks. It's up to those guys to get a push and they were able to do it all day."
(How much did you appreciate the call?) – "I love it. As an offensive guy and at that point in the game, we were down 10-7 and it was the first drive of the second half, it was great. We had had a good couple drives and we knew we had to be aggressive to win this football game and to come down here in this place against a good football team that was playing pretty well at the time. The confidence that he had in us to stay on the field at that point was huge. It ended up proving to be really big because we went down and scored a touchdown."
(Were there any other options in that play?) – "It was a QB sneak all the way. It was definitely nice that there wasn't really a ton of people in there. I think that's what was huge about being able to call the play that we did and not just give away a quarterback sneak. By the time I snapped the ball I was pretty confident that we were going to get it, but still, you don't know."
(About the upcoming schedule and their playoff chances) – "Hey, one game at a time. This was a big win but we're right on the next one which is just as big. We've got a team that's playing pretty well right now, gaining some confidence and we've got to make sure that we continue to play fundamental football the way we have been."
(On the first play of the long drive, were you surprised how long your run was?) – "I was surprised initially when I dropped back and they brought the blitz off the right side. I just wanted to make sure that nobody really came free and just saw a big hole open up and just ran, just took it. It got the drive going and I'm glad to take those when I can."
(How did the offensive coordinator simplify the game?) – "I think the biggest thing that he was saying when he was saying all of that, it was after the bye, those guys get a good look to see what we do well, what we don't do well and why we're doing certain things well. I think that's the biggest thing, with all offenses, is that you want to do things that your players do well. You want to run the routes that your receivers run well. You want to block the run game the way your offensive line does well. You want to let me drop back and do the best things that I do. You just look at what the statistics are over the first handful of games and see what we can do to better improve that."
(Do you feel that you guys understood that magnitude of this game?) – "It all depends on the outcome. Obviously we sensed what kind of game it was and I'd be saying the same think if we lost the game but you probably wouldn't be asking me the question. We sensed how important of a game it was and I was just happy with the way that we responded, especially after a tough start."
(How was it to run the railing at the end of the game after a win on the road?) – "We've done that every time we've come here I think but I've never gone over and done it so it was a lot of fun. It's awesome to see the support we have coming down from Baltimore and with the people already here down in Miami. Every year we come here it's really great support and it's awesome to see that." Baltimore Ravens RB Justin Forsett
*(Talk about the physical back and forth game today.) *– "Yeah. It was tough. Tough game. We knew it was going to be a playoff type game. Very physical. They brought a physical game. We responded. I think we started off kind of slow as far as an offense, but we were able to get things clicking. We were able to make more plays then them at the end."
(What was the difference after the Ravens slow first quarter?) – "Just execution. Getting in the rhythm. We started to get things going. Started moving the down and distance into a manageable range. We were moving the ball a little bit. So, I guess the rhythm and execution was a big part of that."
(Talk about that big 44-yard run you had.) – "Yeah, the offensive line opened up the crease for me. Just tried to beat the safety. It was a big play. We went outside zone. Some of them been working for us all year, and just continued today."
(Where do the Ravens go from here? Obviously it's still a fight going forward.) – "We still got to fight. It's a playoff game every week from here on out. Next week: Jacksonville. We go to go out there and put up a good game. We got to win." Baltimore Ravens WR Steve Smith, Sr.
(Talk about the big road win)– "Yeah, it was really huge. Last week we let one get away from us. It was easily possible for us to go in the tank. Come in here, the way we started off, obviously, had a few three and outs. Had missed some key conversions. We fought, we stayed the course. We keep doing what we knew what we do, and we just played hard."
(What did the Ravens change after the slow start?) – "Just made plays versus dropping opportunities, then, what we did in the first quarter."
(Two 7-5 teams fighting for the playoffs: is this as much as a litmus test if anything, to find out what you are?)– "You can say that, but at the end of the day, we just got to play. We just have to play better in all phases, all quarters: bottom line. We got to win when we need to win and we have to win games that seem impossible to win."
(With the number of veterans in this locker room – does that make you more equipped when you are down 10-0 on the road?) – "Oh, of course. I think so. These guys have been in a lot of different circumstances and situations, including myself and other guys. Everybody has a unique story and an 'I have been there before kind of mentality.' We drag, pull along the young guys who haven't. We have to lead and they're going to follow us. But, with that huge responsibility, if we don't do things well, we also build bad character in them as they are easily influenced by the older guys."
(You knew coming in here you had some pressure on you by looking at the standings, and that this was a game that could send your season one direction or the other) – "Yes sir. Last week killed us. The way it happened, what it did. It just took a lot out of us. But, you got to use the game like last week in the same regard as if you had won. You can't sit there and throw a party if you won, and you can't throw a pity party if you lose. You just got to get back on the horse. I'm not a horse rider anyway, but you still got to get back on the horse, and just hold on."
(So no party after this game?) – "No. No party. You got to go out and play, practice and get ready for next week." Baltimore Ravens Outside Linebacker Terrell Suggs
(What changed out there early on, defensively it seems like you took over the line of scrimmage?) – "We had to make some adjustments. We had to get accustomed to what they were doing. We have the best coaches in the league and we made the proper adjustments and that's why we were successful in the second half."
(You were confident that you would be able to prosper without (Defensive Tackle Haloti) Ngata, but 6 sacks? That's a lot of pressure.) – "It's a lot but you have to understand those are two big shoes that are hard to fill and (Defensive Tackle) Timmy Jernigan did an outstanding job today and so did the rest of the line, (Defensive Tackle) Brandon Williams, (Defensive End) Chris Canty. We just have to win out so can get him back."
(Six sacks, and I think four or five came on the right tackle...?) – "We have a ferocious pass rush when we're able to do what we want to do. We started off slow but played phenomenal down the stretch – offense, defense, special teams alike and it's a great team win and an emotional win."
(That's two 7-5 teams that are jammed into this AFC playoff picture. What do you learn from your team when you beat up on them like that?)– "You just learn more about yourself. You can go win on the road after an emotional loss, you learn a lot from yourself like that. Our fate is in our hands. We don't want to have help going down the stretch. We win, and we're in. We got this one and if we go 4-0, we have a good chance of being in the dance." Baltimore Ravens CB Lardarius Webb
(You were in a little bit of survival mode out there. You got corners going down. You didn't have that many going into the game. Talk about what you guys were talking about because you had to get some guys ready just in case...)– "We always preach the next man up. Danny Gorrer went down. Luckily we had Asa [Jackson] just came back off injury. He did a great job with Matt Elam. We got some things we can do in the back end but everybody came through in the end. I just love the way everybody competed."
(You did compete. I think that pass rush helped you guys in the back end a little bit too, didn't it?)– "Yes it did. The whole game plan helped us out. Dean Pees put a game plan up for the ages. It was awesome what he came up with this week. That's just how it showed. Everybody was able to play fast."
(What was the difference in the first quarter? It looked like nothing was going right in the first quarter, then all of a sudden, make a couple plays in the second quarter and you guys dominated the rest of the way.)– "We had to get warmed up a little bit and we did. It took a little bit for us to get warmed up but when we did get warmed up everybody just came together started competing. That front seven always might start off a little slow, but eventually going to get it together and that's every time. Just the guys on the defense coming together and saying let's do it now."