RAVENS QUATERBACK JOE FLACCO
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
January 10, 2015
Q: What did you see there at the end?
JF: Yeah, it was something that we had kind of seen them doing against Green Bay there a little bit, playing kind of man-one-high look, but rolling a guy over to someone that might be getting the ball. They had a new corner in there [Logan Ryan] and that safety [Duron Harmon] was cheating that way a little bit. But I thought I might be able to sneak the ball in there and take a shot at the end zone and get us some points on the board there, with Torrey [Smith] on a good matchup, even though they were cheating to his side a little bit. So, I took my shot and it just didn't work out. Didn't get it there.
Q: Joe, was it just a matter of aggressive mindset that helps you throughout the postseason. Was it just that you have to stick to that mindset?
JF: There at the end?
Q: Oh yeah, throughout the whole game.
JF: Yeah, I think so. I think we did a job, for the most part, reacting to things and going out there and being aggressive. Overcoming some things here and there, getting back on track after some other things. I thought we did a good job, I thought we played a sound football game. We came in here and put up a lot of points. We just weren't able to come away with it.
Q: Is it tough to have a big picture at this point of, 'You guys overcame a lot of things this year to get to this point'. Is it tough to think about or can you appreciate what you guys have accomplished this year?
JF: It is definitely tough after losing a game like this. But couldn't be more proud of this team and be in there with that group of guys. I think you very quickly reflect when you get back in there and you realize that this season has come to an end. That's what I would say. I think we fought all year and came together a bunch and did a lot of great things. You know, we are not going to be there in the end, but you know, we will be back.
Q: Is it thought to be more methodical with a couple minutes left when you did throw the pass to not give them 90 seconds to come back?
JF: I mean, obviously I think that is the best situation you could ask for, is to score with no time left, so that they can't get a chance to go down and kick a field goal. But as a playmaker, as a play caller, you can't necessarily think about that. There are certain situations where you can, but at the end of the game when you are trying to go take a lead and win a football game, you have to do what you can to put the points on the board when you get a chance to do it. You know, and let the defense take care of it from there.
Q: What it is about these two teams and these kinds of games, this is sort of the trend we've seen, between the Ravens and Patriots.
JF: Yeah, I think we've been good teams. You know, they have been a good team for a long time and so have we. And since I've been a part of it, we have both had a lot of good players and a lot of talent and we've met in a lot of important games. I think this is the fourth playoff game against these guys, all up here. It's a good match up. We enjoy it, and we are good teams facing off each other in important games. And I think everybody steps up and brings their best and it makes for a good football game.
Q: Is it the difficult part because you guys had a 14 point lead and the crowd was silent and you felt like you had them and then…
JF: Well, we had two separate 14 point leads, right? 14-nothing, then we were up, 28-14. These guys did a good of getting it back to seven as quickly as they could. You've got to give credit to them, they have a good offense, these guys have been doing this for years. They don't panic, they just play the game and keep at it, keep at it. The same kinds of things that we like to do and it worked out for them. They got themselves back in the game, tied it up, we pulled away, they were still in striking distance, and they made their play.
Q: Talk about the pass to Owen Daniels, when you guys ended up settling for a field goal.
JF: Yeah, kind of the same thing, we ran the same play that we scored end of the first half that. This time it came out a little different, he had to bend around a guy a little bit. You know, that's a bang-bang play and I think the guy coming over the top probably did a good job just to create enough interference.
RAVENS HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
JH: OK, good to see everybody. Appreciate you guys hanging around for a few minutes. Obviously very tough loss, gave the Patriots a hard fought game, they came out on top at the end, made the plays they needed to make and obviously a very, very good football team and a very deserving football team. Very proud of our guys, not just in this game but I think in this game you probably saw, for those of you who haven't watched us much all year, the same thing that our guys have been doing all year as far as overcoming adversity and competing and fighting and doing all the things that our guys have done all year. So, never been around a team, I told them this, never been around a team that has handled distractions and those kinds of things with minimal amount of drag like this team has, focused on the important things, and became the very best football team they could be, and that's what this team did. That's what you're proud of as a coach, that's what they should be proud of. They had each other's backs completely throughout the course of the season, in games and the outside stuff. So, just very proud of where we're at, disappointed that we're not moving on, but certainly proud of our guys.
Q: John, what was your understanding of the play, the series where they had four offensive linemen and ineligible receivers, it looked like it caused some confusion?
JH: Yeah, it's a substitution type of a trick type of a thing. So they don't give you the opportunity, they don't give you the chance to make the proper substitutions and things like that. It's not something that anybody's ever done before. The league will look at that type of thing and I'm sure that they'll make some adjustments and things like that.
Q: Was that your discussion with the official, you just wanted the opportunity to substitute?
JH: Yeah we wanted an opportunity to be able to ID who the eligible players were, because what they were doing was they would announce the eligible player and then time was taken and they would go over and snap the ball before we even had the chance to figure out who was lined up where, and that was the deception part of it. And that was where it was clearly deception. So the officials told me after that they'd give us the opportunity to do that, which they probably should have done during that series but they didn't really understand what was happening. That's why I had to go and take the penalty, to get their attention so that they would understand what was going on because they didn't understand what was going on. And they said that that was the right thing, that they'd give us the chance to ID the eligible receivers so we could actually get them covered. That's why guys were open, because we didn't ID where the eligible receivers were at. So, that's the nature of that particular thing they were doing, that's what made it so difficult.
Q: Had you ever seen that before?
JH: No. Nobody's ever seen that before.
Q: Do you consider that cheap or dirty?
JH: I'm not going to comment on that.
Q: John, is the secondary, with everything it's gone through this year, it's held up pretty well. Tonight, was it just Brady being Brady or was it the secondary not doing enough?
JH: You know, I don't really like the way that question's asked, so I'm not going to answer it. I thought the guys all played their hearts out, played hard and played well. They made plays, so give them credit for making some plays. I mean, the double pass, that's a great call. That's just a heck of a call at the right time. I think… give them a lot of credit for the scheme, for the execution of it. So when you hit a nine route against a pressed man, I mean that happens in the league all the time, so that's just good execution by them. Our guy was right there and they made the play. So, I don't want, I really don't want to disparage our guys. I don't think that would be right in terms of answering that the way it was asked.
Q: You mentioned the distractions and the adversity the team's overcome. Is that something that, now that it's over, you look back and kind of shake your head at what the team had to go through to get to this point?
JH: Yeah, I don't know. It's a fair question, probably. At some point I will, but that's the path that we were taken down. You know, I look at it from a faith perspective. I think those things happen and you're just supposed to respond to them in an honorable way, you know? And our guys did that. I think they had great faith in one another, in themselves, and in their career, you know, and that's something we're all faced… when we're faced with challenges and things like that in life, that's what we ask of ourselves, ask of our kids. So as a teacher, a coach, that's what you ask of your guys and I guess what I'm saying is I'm so proud of the way they handled it, you know, and I think it's exemplary.
Q: John, that Joe Flacco interception at the end, he was going to go for it, he said, he saw a matchup he liked. Is that one you can accept because he's just trying to be aggressive and make the play there?
JH: Sure. As opposed to what, not accept it?
Q: Well, no, going…doing like a check back or something.
JH: You can always look at it after the fact. If it was a touchdown pass, would you have accepted it then, or would you have been critical of it then? Of course not. I mean, you can be critical of any play that doesn't work, you know. Joe Flacco made a bunch of plays out there today, and Joe Flacco made a bunch of plays throughout the course of the season. You know, Joe is at his best in these kinds of games, and I thought he played well… I don't know what his numbers were, what were his numbers?
Q: They were spectacular.
JH: You know, so I don't think it's time to criticize Joe on one throw.
Q: On the other hand, you got to give Tom Brady some credit.
JH: Definitely. I mean, we did, I have already. I mean, Tom Brady played excellent, he's a very difficult quarterback to defend, obviously. [They're a] very difficult offense to defend against across the board and they won the game. He deserves credit for how well he played.
Q: For an out-of-division team, you play the Patriots a lot. You've played them in a lot of big games, most of them like this. They're kind of crazy, I don't know what the right term is. Why?
JH: That's a good question. You know, I think that both teams understand that we're going to have to beat each other. It's a not a situation where we're going to come in here and they're going to… they can expect us to just lose the game in front of them. Or you can't expect them to just make a bunch of mistakes and lose the game and we're just going to have it handed to us. Those games are… these two teams are just too good. They're too well-coached, the players are too smart. The level of the scheme in this game was really, really high. You know, the level of the back-and-forth, the coaching, of our coaches… I thought our coaches did a great. Gary [Kubiak] and Dean [Pees] and Jerry [Rosburg] and all of our coaches. And their coaches did a great job. It was really a high-level played football game and I think that answers your question. I'd say that's why.
Q: Torrey Smith is known as being one of the more mild-mannered guys. Two penalties by the officials, debatable ones. Would you want to comment, do you think that those penalties you saw were justified?
JH: I didn't see either one of them, you know, so I don't really want to comment on them. But we're not in the business of taking 15 yard penalties, so it's not something that we are pleased with.
Q: Joe had been on, really, a perfect run for seven games now in the playoffs. Was there anything that changed defensively or did he just kind of run out of magic?
JH: You mean because there was an interception at the end of the game? I'd say there was just an interception at the end of the game. I mean, you're the creative writer, you're the journalist so you can probably come up with that metaphor, but I don't really have it. I think he just threw an interception at the end of the game after playing a spectacular game, you know. I'd have to give it some thought to come up with the, that's your job to come up with the storyline.
Q: So much has been said about his current playoff run and it obviously came to and end, so…
JH: All things come to an end, alright? Kamar Aiken, Wide Receiver
(On the game)
"We came to their [Patriots] home field and fought them to the end and we just came up short. I am real proud of what we did and we are going to walk out of here with our heads held high. They are a great team and they were the better team tonight."
(On the momentum of the game)
"We had momentum the whole game. They [Patriots] made a couple of more plays then us and a couple things in the game went their way. If one play goes our way it is a different ballgame and I just tip my hat to them." Chris Canty, Defensive End
(On the game)
"Unfortunately, we weren't able to make plays down the stretch and they did. Ultimately, that ended up being the difference."
(On Julian Edelman's touchdown pass to Danny Amendola)
"They pulled out every trick play in the book. They threw a lot of different formations at us, guys eligible, guys ineligible. They did a lot of things to keep us on our heels. Going up-tempo, we anticipated that, but unfortunately we weren't able to make enough plays to get them out of it."
(On how he feels)
"I feel bad. I feel like the men in this locker room deserved more. Because of their approach and how they stayed together. How they fought through everything. I just wish they could have had more." Owen Daniels, Tight End
(On paying with the Ravens this season)
"I can't believe it is over and it has been awesome playing with this team. It has been awesome to be a part of what we have been through this year and fighting to get to where we got to. I think we still should be playing, but we did our best for sure."
(On the Patriots)
"You have to give them credit. Two times in the game we were up 14 points and they kept clawing back and kept making plays. We kept responding and they just made one or two more than us today. If the ball bounces our way a couple of more times and it is a different story. You have to give them credit."
(On the turnover battle)
"When you go on the road in the playoffs and play a really good team, you have to make sure you are winning that battle. It is hard to win when you don't and I wish we had those back so we could do what we had to do." Justin Forsett, Running Back
(On if he ever played in a game with so many changes of possession)
"I don't know if I can say that. It was a tough football game a lot of back and forth and at the end of the day they made one more play than we did."
(On professional goals this offseason)
"I just want to get better. I was able to show what I can do this year and I just want to build on that."
(On your thoughts coming off the field and being just one play short)
"That's what it comes down to most times when you're playing a great opponent. They made one more play than we did and it's unfortunate that we were on the wrong side of that." Will Hill, Safety
(On his first season in Baltimore)
"It was a real good season. I reached some goals that I hadn't reached before in my career. Being here in the playoffs and I just hope I'll be here next year."
(On the loss)
"It's always tough in a loss, no matter what stage of your career, or the season. You just got to chaulk it up to what it is." Timmy Jernigan, Defensive Tackle
(On the loss)
"Of course you hate to lose, but at the end of the day we played our hearts out. We did everything we could to win the game. We prepared the right way, at the end of the day they [Patriots] just made a few more plays than we did."
(On Tom Brady)
"Just seeing him in person, I've been watching Brady ever since I was a kid. I knew what he is capable of doing, so getting to sack him was pretty cool."
(On what changed as the game went on)
"Nothing changed, it's Tom Brady, he's a great player. It's not just him, he's coached by a great coach, and they have had pretty good teams for quite awhile."
(On the Patriots trick play)
"Just to keep playing, that was our thing to keep playing. We knew coming in that they were going to make plays and we were going to make plays, too. The biggest thing for us is to just keep playing no matter what happens." Pernell McPhee, Linebacker (On the game) "They wanted it more. Our offense played great, but our defense didn't play well. It seemed like they wanted it more than we did and they came out victorious. We lost, so nothing [else] matters."
(On the play of Joe Flacco)
"Awesome, incredible. He is the best in the league, he is awesome."
(On the play of Tom Brady)
"I have no beef with Brady. He is an elite quarterback too. That is what he is paid to do and he made great throws." Rashaan Melvin, Cornerback
(On Julian Edelman's pass play)
"At that time of the game it was a great play call on their part. As defensive packages you always have to make sure that your head is in the game, and make sure you don't get beat."
(On the loss)
"It was a great game today on both sides. I tip my hat to the Patriots; they did a great job as well. They came out successful. This is the type of game that you want to see, two teams battling it out going head to head. They were able to go out and get the "W" today."
(On the season)
"Being on a team that strives for success, and all the work we put in together; it was all for a reason, all for a common goal. I'm definitely proud of the success that we had; we accomplished a lot of goals. This game really hurts, but you live and you learn from it, and get ready for next year."
C.J. Mosley, Linebacker
(On the game)
"They prepared two weeks for us and they got a couple trick plays on us. The hurry up got us out of position but hats off to them. I wish them luck in the next game. Both teams have similar defenses and playmakers on the offensive side. Every time these teams go at each other it is a battle."
(On Tom Brady)
"It's an honor to play against him and I got a few hits here and there. A lot of people want to hit Tom Brady but he is a great quarterback. So I wish him and his team good luck in the next game."
(On Joe Flacco)
"I wouldn't rather have anybody else."
Bernard Pierce, Running Back
(On Joe Flacco and the offense)
"He executed the game plan to the best of his ability. He was decisive and quick. He was accurate today, but we just came up a little short. We were clicking on all four cylinders and everyone was on the same page. I don't know man, we just didn't get it done. These are two competitive teams who know how to win in the playoffs."
(On the Patriots)
"Definitely there is mutual respect. They have been there before so you have to be sure you game plan and execute at a high level. We came up flat today." Steve Smith Sr., Wide Receiver
(On the game)
"I am not disappointed by any means and it was a hard fought game. I give hats off to the New England Patriots. We battled our tails off and it was a fun game. "
(On what it was like to play in a game like this)
"It was a great game and as a Baltimore Raven there is nothing to be disappointed about. It was a lot of back-and-forth and there were some stalls on offense on both sides. Each team's offense and defense made mistakes, but it was a good game. In the end, we just didn't have enough points."
(On being defended by Darrelle Revis)
"Every team does not have a great corner like [Darrelle] Revis and it was a game like a chess match. There were times we both did some savvy veteran moves against each other and it was a great battle. I respect the heck out of him and he played a great game. He is a good player." Torrey Smith, Wide Receiver
(On emotions after losing today's game)
"[I'm] disappointed, but we fought. Not as proud [of our playing] because there's no such thing as a moral victory in the NFL, but we fought and they just made more plays than we did."
(On the level of confidence when winning early in the game)
"Yeah, we were just as confident then as we were the last couple minutes of the game and like I said, we came up a little short."
(On the Patriots coming back twice from behind)
"They fought too. They're led by two of the best in the business, so I give credit to them. I can't take anything away from what they were able to do. They were able to move the ball and they made some good plays. Whoever their offensive coordinator is – they've got some tricks! They pulled some stuff out that I've never seen and you need that in games like this and that worked for them."
(On overwhelming pride on accomplishments this season)
"Yeah, I would definitely say that. I'm not one to use a political route, but we fought and the way we work together as a team a bunch of different times through a bunch of different adversity – we stuck together through it all. To come up short is frustrating. We worked our tails off and we believed in ourselves all year long, and it's tough to end like this. It wasn't meant to be. Terrell Suggs, Outside Linebacker
(On the game)
"They made one more play than we did. You have to tip your hat to them, they won a tough game on their home field. We came up here to win a game and there was no hesitation on our part."
(On whether he felt they got the pressure they wanted on Tom Brady)
"We definitely got to him a little bit more than he'd like, but he's a pretty good quarterback and he stood in there and made the plays he needed to make."
(On if it makes a difference whether they fell one play short or if they lose by two touchdowns)
"A loss is a loss, but when you decipher how you lost, it was just one play. One play here or there."
Courtney Upshaw, Linebacker
(On the game)
"It is plain and simple, both teams want to get that win. At the end of the day it is about getting the win. They made the plays and we didn't. Whenever the Ravens play the Patriots it is going to be a good game.