HEAD COACH JOHN HARBAUGH
Opening Statement:"[It was a] tough game, obviously. The Chargers are a very good football team. I thought they played really well. [They are a] very well-coached team, and it's a big win for us. You can tell, we're really, really happy with this win. This is a challenging place to play. It's loud. This team we're playing is really good, and I thought our guys just played a great football game to come out here on Sunday Night Football and win the game. I'm just proud of the players [and] the way they played. I thought the fourth quarter was a statement. We put an exclamation point on the fourth quarter. Defense [was] getting the stops, and offense [was] finishing it at the end there. [I'm] just proud of the guys. So many guys deserve credit. I'm sure we'll get to them as we answer the questions, but defensively, I think [the unit] deserves an extra, extra shout. That's a really good offense. The pressure, the coverage and the turnovers were big. Then, Broderick Washington getting a sack at the end was really special. OK. What questions do you have?"
After WR Zay Flowers scored that one touchdown in London, you kept saying, 'Oh, I can envision many more.' Were these kind of the couple of touchdowns that you could have envisioned?"*_ (Jamison Hensley)_* "Yes. Right. I didn't think about that. That's an interesting tie together there, but Zay [Flowers] is electric [with] the ball in his hands. We have a lot of guys like that. It starts with our quarterback, Lamar Jackson, who just set the all-time record [for fastest to rush for 5,000 yards] for a quarterback in NFL history. That's a historic statement for him, but he's just playing the game out there and competing. Odell [Beckham Jr.] came out, especially in the first half and had a bunch of plays. I could name guy after guy who made plays when plays had to be made: Gus [Edwards] running the ball downhill, Keaton Mitchell with his speed on his outside and inside stuff, so [there were] a lot of players doing what they had to do."
Given some of the questions you were asked about the fourth quarter earlier this year, how important is it to go into the bye week kind of changing that narrative a little bit and winning a close game in the fourth quarter?*_(Jeff Zrebiec)_* "The narrative is not something we really care about. It's the fact that the guys stepped up and won the game. We've won nine games, and all of those games had to be closed out in the fourth quarter one way or another. A couple of them were closed out in the third quarter. Three of them weren't. We want the three back, but we got the one tonight, and I'm proud of the guys for that."
I know you said last week that it would take a lot of guys to fill TE Mark Andrews' shoes. Given what WR Zay Flowers has already showed you, does it feel like with his ability, he needs to be one of those guys to really take a headlining role in this offense?*_(Kyle Goon)_* "Yes. Zay Flowers is … Yes, sure. He is in a headlining role. He already was. I just think all of those guys together – I stand by that – all those guys together are headliners. Every single one of those guys … You have to give Isaiah Likely a lot of credit. He made some really athletic plays out there. Lamar [Jackson] found him [for] catch-and-run plays that were just really special."
You talked about the defense's ability to not only create turnovers, but getting to the quarterback in so many different ways. It seems like you never know when this defense might make a big play.*_(Cliff Brown)_* "Every single guy comes up and makes a play. Every single play, somebody has to put a period on the play. Somebody on defense has got to make a stop, make a tackle. You have to bat a ball down. You have to do something to make the play or it's going to run into the end zone, and the sooner the better, obviously, on any given play. There were a couple plays that we'll learn from and want back, but overall, the defensive effort was just tremendous. Guys were on point, locked in, doing their job, playing as hard as they could, fundamentally sound, tackling people, keeping the quarterback in the pocket – believe it or not, all but one play, really – and that's a big challenge with [Justin] Herbert. So, [I] feel good about that."
When did you know that your defense would be a special unit?*_(Reporter)_* "These guys will tell you. I've been saying it since last summer, that we had a chance to be this kind of unit, and we've got five more regular season games and whatever comes after that to really determine what the final chapters are going to be in the story of our defense. [I'm] pretty proud of those guys."
Did you consider challenging the spot on the QB Lamar Jackson run, that preceded the fourth-and-1 that you didn't get? And the one with WR Nelson Agholor, that preceded the fourth down you did get?*_(Jeff Zrebiec)_* "I'll say this; we had trouble with the down and distance and what the spots were pretty much the whole game, just understanding what it was going to be. The Lamar [Jackson] run, I'd say no. We could see that one. It did look short to us. The [Nelson] Agholor one, we thought was a first down, in all honesty. We thought it was ruled first down, and we thought it was a first down. It wasn't until after the next play that we realized it was short. That was the challenge that we had pretty much four or five times during the game."
How do you feel heading into the bye, 9-3, and you're atop the AFC right now?*_ (Jamison Hensley)_* "Well, we were going to this point until we had an opportunity to get a bye, and we wanted to be the very best team we could be. I think we're becoming what we're capable of becoming, but it's not over yet. We have a lot of work to do. Guys are going to get a little time [off], a little spirit, a little mind, a little body [rest], take care of their families, and then get back next Monday, and we'll be ready to come out of the gates for the final part of the season."
The challenge flag that you did throw on their lateral play, was there something that you saw or heard that caused you to throw that flag?*_(Kyle Goon)_* "Any time they have a play like that – where they kind of have a forward pass lateral on the run – those are hard to execute and not be down field. So, no, we didn't see it. We didn't get a good look on TV. They certainly didn't show it on the board, because we were on the road. We thought it was a big enough play, and there was a chance – a really good chance – that it was going to be a forward pass. It turned out to be dead even. It was about as close as it could have been and still been legal. If we'd have seen that, we wouldn't have thrown the flag, but it was definitely worth the shot."
What was the decision at the end of the first half with eight seconds left, fourth-and-whatever, and you go for it? What was the thought process behind that?*_ (Jamison Hensley)_* "The chances of us converting a fourth-and-15, or whatever it was, and having a chance to kick the field goal – we had a timeout – were better than them completing a hail mary going back the other way, we thought. So, that [was] an analytic decision. We feel like our odds … It helped us to take a shot, especially with Lamar [Jackson] playing quarterback, we think we have a chance to possibly get that ball in there for a field goal."
On the second to last Chargers' drive where you got off the field, I think it was CB Arthur Maulet on the blitz. How much did you appreciate defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald's aggressiveness there?*_(Jeff Zrebiec)_* "I appreciated it. I did appreciate it, and I appreciated Arthur Maulet making the play, and the timing of the thing. I think our guys – this is what I'm talking about – execution and the timing of those things … It's one thing to call them [and] it's another thing to execute them. But [defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] was aggressive, and he mixed it up. It wasn't just that. There were times when I wanted pressure in my mind, and he played coverage, and it worked out. There were times when I wanted coverage, and he wanted pressure. I'm not saying a word. I'm just saying in my mind, [I'm] thinking, 'Maybe I'd do the other thing,' and I thought Mike was just tremendous in this game. He called a fabulous game, and you can't call a better game than he did tonight."
Did you appreciate any more the decision to be exotic and have NT Michael Pierce drop into the zone coverage?*_(Kyle Goon) _*"Did that happen?" (laughter) "Hey, you know what ... The more you can do. That's what we say."
When they started forcing more turnovers, how big was it to hold the Chargers to no points after a 19-play drive?*_(Reporter) _*"That was probably the turning point in the game, honestly. The four turnovers … We talked about that. This is not an easy team to [force to] turnover [the ball]. They haven't turned it over much, and that was going to be a key in the game. Then, us not turning it over, that was just as important, and our guys were about that all week in practice. It starts with our quarterback [and goes] right through the rest of the offense. I thought that was the other part of the turnover equation."
They started to make a DT Justin Madubuike announcement in the press box, and they never finished it. Do you have an update on him?*_ (Jeff Zrebiec)_* "Yes. [Justin Madubuike] is going to be in the concussion protocol, so we'll see where that goes."
Do you have any explanation for why you were so good in your territory moving the ball, but then when you crossed midfield, you kind of got bogged down a little bit?*_(Jonas Shaffer)_* "We'll look at all that, definitely. It's just play by play. There are certain things I'm sure that we can improve on for sure."
WR ZAY FLOWERS
(on scoring two touchdowns tonight)"I had to get in one time in the U.S. [United States]. My first one was in London [against the Tennessee Titans]. I've been waiting to get one anywhere in the U.S., so it was a blessing. Thanks to my teammates, and I appreciate all of them [and offensive coordinator] Coach [Todd] Monken putting the gameplan together. We just went out and played."
(on what he saw on his 37-yard rushing touchdown to seal the game)"It was a jet sweep. Lamar [Jackson] had the choice to hand it off or keep it. He handed it off, and I saw Derwin James and somebody else over-running it. My natural instincts just took over, and [I] cut back and got into the end zone."
(on what point during the touchdown run he thought he could score)"I thought after I made the first move, I saw No. 3 [Derwin James] over-running it and I was like, 'Yes, it's over with.' [I] made him miss [and] shot into the end zone."
(on if he should have slid down and ran out the clock instead of scoring)"We work on that, but nobody told me [to go down], so I just went to the end zone." (laughter)
(on what was behind his touchdown celebrations and how long he has had them ready for) "The bouquet one, I've had since after my first touchdown in London. I was like, 'I'm going to throw the bouquet,' but nobody was on the same page with me. 'L' [Lamar Jackson] – he didn't understand. He didn't like it, so we're going to forget that one. The second one was nice – the soccer celebration. I was supposed to do it in London, but I got so excited that I forgot." (laughter)
(on his first touchdown celebration being called [bad] by QB Lamar Jackson) (laughter) "He said that over national television, too. He didn't understand it, so I'm going to let him have that one. I'm going to agree with him. It was bad. Everybody walked away from me. I was just like, 'I'm still going to do my celebration. I scored a touchdown.'"
(on if he is a fan of soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo) "Yes. I like [Cristiano] Ronaldo. I like [Lionel] Messi. I play FIFA. I've been playing FIFA a lot."
(on what the win means for the team going into the bye week) "It feels better going out with a win on the bye week. You can relax a little bit more [and not be] so uptight. [We're] still ahead in the division, so it doesn't feel any better than that."
(on if being the No. 1 seed in the AFC means anything to him) "Honestly, I didn't really pay attention to that. I just come out and play ball and try to get wins every week."
(on having QB Lamar Jackson as his quarterback) "It makes everything easier. It makes everything easier on every position, because that's the first person you have to look at because he touches the ball every play. Then, he can throw it to me, 'O' [Odell Beckham Jr.], 'Bate' [Rashod Bateman], the running backs. You have to worry about Gus [Edwards], Keaton [Mitchell]. It's a lot you have to worry about, and he just makes the job easier. He had the fewest games to 5,000 [rushing] yards [of any quarterback in NFL history]. That'll tell you right there."
(on what it meant to the team to close out the game in the fourth quarter) "The defense. They step up every week and play how they play. The defense really came up clutch, and that's Ravens defense for you. That's the No. 1 defense in the league."
(on if there was a discussion to close out games in the fourth quarter after all three losses were blown fourth quarter leads) "We knew we just had to close it out on defense and offense. We came together on the last drives and closed it out. It feels better going into the bye week with a win, so we already knew."
S KYLE HAMILTON
(on if it means anything to him being on top of the AFC entering the bye week) "Yes, it's a good showing of where we're at as a team, how good we are, and also 9-3, those three losses, we feel like we could have won easily. So, it gives us something to work on still after the bye week. I know the goal is to get in the playoffs [and] get to the Super Bowl, but I think first seed gets a bye and home field advantage, right? I'm new, so I think that's the rule. That would be an added plus, but I think it's cool."
(on how satisfying it is for the defense to close this game out in the fourth quarter)"We've been in that position and not come out on the winning side more times than we've wanted in the past two years. Guys stepped up big. Arthur Maulet came at the end [and he] didn't play a lot today, [but] he came in at the end, did his job [and] got a huge pressure [that] caused a bad pass. I don't know if it was a sack or not. Broderick Washington [and] shoutout to the offense for getting it done as well. We're up three points, could have given the ball back, but again, shoutout to Zay [Flowers] for scoring a touchdown. We were a little salty about that – the defense – but I'm glad he got in the [end zone].(Reporter: Was the defense ready for the offense to take the knee?) "Yes, we were ready to unstrap the pads, but I'm glad he scored a touchdown. That's cool." (laughter)
(on if there was anything said during the huddle before the play CB Arthur Maulet made on fourth down to get the defense off the field)"The chips weren't falling our way at that point. We missed the field goal, and we go out and I think we were up three at that point and I think Roquan [Smith] or somebody said it, 'If they don't score, they don't win.' So, it's on us at the end of the day, no matter what happened in this moment right now in the fourth quarter, it's on us to get stops and we did. So, that's a big part of our [win], but I feel like individual efforts from a lot of guys around the field really helped."
QB LAMAR JACKSON
(on what he thought about WR Zay Flowers' touchdowns in tonight's game) "It was awesome. We need a lot more, if anything. I've been waiting on him to score multiple times in a game, but having that last one with the run, that was a nice run."
(on if he saw WR Zay Flowers' touchdown celebrations) "The first one was horrible – I told him. I didn't know what was going on, so I was just standing there like, 'Alright, come along with it.' When I saw what happened, I was like, yes that was [bad]. I told him." (laughter) "My fault, my fault. I told him that; that was the worst celebration I've ever seen. (laughter)But he scored, so I'm good [and] I was still happy."
(on if the touchdown that WR Zay Flowers scored was a run-pass option)"Yes, it was an option, but we kind of ran two similar plays back-to-back. So, my read was Khalil Mack, and I saw him squeeze on the rush and I just let Zay [Flowers] do his thing and he did."
(on the impact WR Zay Flowers has had on the team) "How I would describe the impact he's had is right on time. You notice every time he did something, it was right on time. It was perfect situations where he scored [and] made the touchdown catch on that run, like I just said, and he just needs to keep doing it. [He needs] to keep getting the ball in his hand, not just him, but all of our receivers – 'Bate' [Rashod Bateman] is a great receiver [and] 'OB' [Odell Beckham Jr.] and 'Nelly' [Nelson Agholor], we have to get everybody involved, because those guys catch the ball and make magic."
(on what it meant for the offense to close out the game in the fourth quarter) "It meant a lot, because our defense was playing lights out all night and we weren't doing what we usually do [which is] putting points on the board for those guys. But I'm grateful that we have a great defense, because without them, I don't know how this game would have went."
(on what it means to him to have a 9-3 record entering the bye week) "Let's take a breath, step away, [and] re-group, because there's still a lot of the season left."
(on if the offense was missing TE Mark Andrews on third down in tonight's game) "We're going to miss Mark [Andrews] regardless, but I believe we can get it done still because we have great guys who stepped up when our brother went down."
(on how effective the running game was tonight)"Very effective. [It was] very effective. Gus [Edwards] had great runs and Keaton [Mitchell] had great runs and Justice [Hill]. The guys just do a great job. They're doing their job at that. Our offensive line had great push, so just keep our offense balanced and I feel like we'll put points on the board."
(on what it means to see WR's Odell Beckham Jr. and Zay Flowers play through injuries)"We have tough guys. We have guys who want to win. They're going to put their heart on the line. Blood, sweat and tears – that's part of football and the Ravens [are] known for being a tough team and those guys showed it."
(on if finishing first in the AFC is a goal of his or just getting into the playoffs) "Getting to the Super Bowl is the goal, but we're just going to take it a week at a time. That's all we can do. We can't worry about the No.1 seed or anything like that. It's the NFL, anything can happen any given Sunday, Thursday, whenever you play, Monday. We just have to keep focusing [and] keep trying to win these games because it's a tough league."
(on if it feels good going into the bye week winning a close game in the fourth quarter)"It's a plus for us, but we try not to be in those situations. But I believe tonight was like a playoff atmosphere game – going back and forth, a close game, having success on the drive, getting stopped. That was like playoff football, and I believe not having a turnover, it helped us out as well."
(on his scramble before the fourth-and-one) "I thought I got the first down when I almost fell – or when I did fall." (Reporter: Was there poor communication, not from your side, but the officials to you on what was happening?)"I didn't say that. You said that. Don't try to put that on me." (laughter) "But it's a part of the game. Things will happen fast, so sometimes it is what it is, but hopefully we get the first down next time and make it easier on the refs if anything."
(on his throw to WR Nelson Agholor and if he came to the sideline and said it was a first down)"They're trying to get me right now." (laughter)"Yes, I did say that. I thought it was a first down, but it is what it is. [We] live to fight another day."
(on what it means to him reaching 5,000 yards rushing in his career) "Cool." (laughter)
CB ARTHUR MAULET
(on making the big defensive play at the end of the game)"I'm just doing my job, man. You know, we preach on going 1-0 and playing good on all three phases. Anything I can do to help this team get a win I'm going to do. It's nothing special – just helping the team get a 'W.'"
(on how significant the turnovers were for the defense today)"It was great. The score wasn't high – it was a defensive game – so those turnovers definitely helped us out a lot. That's what we preach during the week; if we can get three or more, then we'll have a good chance of winning the game. We did that for sure today and it paid off."
(on defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald not being afraid to show some creativity with the game on the line)"Yes, great creativity, and obviously, Michael Pierce dropping down in coverage, I kind of have to get there [to the quarterback] quick so he doesn't have to be uncomfortable. (laughter)I'm just doing my job, helping those guys out so they can be comfortable as well."
(on how big this win is overall heading into the bye week)"It's a big win for us. Every win is big, because we preach on going 1-0 every week. But you know, we have to go and look at the things we messed up on, because we did give up some big plays and it's back to the drawing board for us. We're looking on to the next opponent that we're going to have."
(on how high his success rate has been on these exotic plays defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald has drawn up for him)"The D-line does a good job just holding their guys up for me and I can just be a free runner, and if I don't make the play, then I shouldn't be out there. That's what I tell those guys, so I just appreciate the D-line for giving me free runs at the quarterback."
NT MICHAEL PIERCE
(on what the defense's performance tonight says about the unit) "It just lets us know and confirms what we feel like we know and puts the rest of the league on notice [and] puts the fans – whoever [is] watching us – that we are an elite defense. [The] job's not done, obviously, but we are who we believe we are and we have the tools to be really, really elite. [We] just have to keep chasing."
(on how significant forcing four turnovers was tonight) "That's what we preach – turnovers. If we take the ball away that many times [and] get the ball off guys to stop drives, it gives the offense momentum and gives our team momentum. Any time we take the ball away as much as we did today, it's a great day. [Defensive coordinator] Mike [Macdonald] preaches that each and every day, at least three times a game. We don't always meet it, but on days like this, we do."
(on his mindset seeing WR Zay Flowers score on a 37-yard rushing touchdown to seal the game) "Happy and slightly disappointed. He's a rookie. He doesn't know any better." (laughter) "We go over those things in team meetings. Maybe we need to listen a little bit more, but situational football is important, and I think that's a good learning lesson tonight versus down the road."
(on the Los Angeles Chargers' 19-play drive that the Ravens defense forced a fumble on and how important that sequence was) "That was that guy over there with the dreads – 'JD' [Jadeveon Clowney]. I told him on the sideline [that] he saved us. Anytime you're getting stops on drives like that, normally those end in touchdowns. Anytime you get those turnovers, it's big time. It made a big, big difference in the game, for sure."
K JUSTIN TUCKER
(on if he saw head coach John Harbaugh's reaction after his postgame speech following the London game and what he thought about it) "I did a little while later, and I thought it was great. If there was enough footage out there, you'd probably see a lot of us do the same thing when he dropped some wisdom on us, too. It's certainly reciprocated."
(on if there is anything in particular that went wrong on his missed kick towards the end of the game) "I'm going to have to go back and look at it. It's still pretty soon after the game to be evaluating that particular play. What I can say is I'm very thankful that our team came together and got us out of the game with a win, a very big win, on primetime [and] Sunday Night Football. It's a big stage, so the way our defense stepped up right away, and the way our offense was able to essentially close out the game ... On both sides of the ball, I think that just speaks to how we're built as a team. As far as me missing the kick – and I've said this before – we make kicks, and every once in a while, I miss one. It just happened to come at a rather inopportune time. Right now, I can't give you the best answer that I feel like I could. The only thing I could say is I felt like I didn't have my feet under me in that moment, and I've been playing this game for way too long to know that whenever I've got a moment where maybe the ball hasn't been spotted right away and I'm going through my setup, I just have to take a breath and find a way to just knock the kick down the middle. Or, if push comes to shove, if something is just really off, just call a time out, and we have all day to set up the kick. At the end of the day, that's on me. I have to make the kick. I've been playing long enough to know [or to] figure out how to make every single kick [in] every single scenario [or] every single circumstance. Again, credit to everybody else around, the whole locker room for stepping up in a big way to close the game out."
(on what it was like watching the defense have three forced fumbles and recoveries) "It was awesome. It's awesome to see the guys' work come to fruition, for the guys to be rewarded in such a significant way on such a big stage. We see how hard these guys work, day in and day out, so to see results [and] to see production, I think every one of them would feel the same way. At the same time, it's just kind of how we're built. We understand that we're going to work, and we're going to grind. Sometimes you're going to have the glorious, productive days like our defense had today. You'd probably even say on the other side of the ball, like 20 points compared to what we've been doing, does that really matter though? No, because we won the game. Every single guy that's a part of this team works their tail off, and to see our defense rewarded in such a significant way, it's really special."
(on how he feels to have the best record in the AFC)"It's definitely encouraging to be where we're at. At the exact same time, we're not finished. The goal is set. The ultimate goal is set, but we know the way to get there is just [to] work one day at a time, one practice at a time, one game at a time, and that's served us well to this point. That is exactly why we are 9-3, and we're confident heading into our bye week. I'll leave it at that."