Head Coach John Harbaugh:
Give credit to the Cowboys. They didn't make the mistakes we did and they made the plays down the stretch with both the run and pass game that we didn't make. So that's what it boiled down to at the end. Give them credit.
Observations on play in the second half versus the first half.
I thought we didn't do a good job of getting them stopped. On third down, we didn't get as much pressure as we like. I thought they did a good job of getting open against man and zone. They got covered. We weren't able to make any plays as far as getting the ball out. When we did pressure, I thought they did a good job of picking it up. A few times, we ran some five-man pick games in there with man coverage and they picked them up or we got the ball out there. I thought they executed really well and we didn't really get it done as far as the coverage part.
What did you see from Dak Prescott?
I thought he played really well. Looked good just like he has all year.
Did you play Marshal Yonda at left guard to get the five best linemen on the field or was it based on matchup?
No, it had to do with Marshal, as far as his injury and what was best for Marshal and where he could play the best. It was Marshal's idea and it works out really well for us. I thought Marshal played really well.
I know there are no moral victories but is there anything to take away from playing what many consider the NFL's best team, or is a loss a loss?
I think the thing to take from it is if we play good, solid football and play winning football, eliminate the mistakes, we would have won the game in my mind. That's how I look at it. I coach the Ravens, not the Cowboys, and that's the thing we need to take from it. We're definitely good enough to win any game we play in the National Football League. Our eyes go to next week against Cincinnati at home. Six-game season and we need to take care of our business and part of that's improving. We've got to improve. I think we've come a long way in a lot of ways. We're not there yet to beat this team in this situation because we made too many mistakes. That's on us. No moral victories, no. We expected to come in here and win the game.
On stopping the run and overall play in the first half. Was the game playing out like the plan you devised?
We felt like we were playing the type of game [where] we could win the game, without question. We just weren't able to extend it into the second as well as we wanted to.
Did Dallas' time of possession (the amount they were running the ball) in the second half make it tough to stick to the run?
Yeah, I think that's a pretty self-evident.
There was a lot of single coverage today on Dez Bryant. What went into that decision?
Well, it probably wasn't the best decision if you look at it right now but you've also got to stop the run. That's the issue that they present to you as an offense. We played a lot of split safety coverage, too. We were in two-deep coverage a lot, especially on first-and-second down. More of the single coverage came sometimes on third down, third-and-medium, third-and-short, and they can still run the ball.
Would it have been any different if Jimmy Smith was out there?
We would still be playing single coverage. We played the same game plan that we were going to play if Jimmy had played.
On Kenneth Dixon getting healthier and his play today.
Yeah, he's been getting better every week. He's becoming healthier as you said. He's got some explosiveness to him, some quickness. I'm expecting big things from him and Terrance in the running game the rest of the way. As I said, we're improving, we're becoming better but we're not there yet. To win this game, you've got to play pretty much mistake-free football against a team like this and you've got to make a few more plays, which I truly believe we are capable of doing.
On the defensive alignment, did you do more as far as putting guys in the box and then walking off as far as post snap, pre snap?
Well, we had a few coverages in there, a couple of third down calls where we walked up and showed pressure and dropped out into coverage. We did that with a couple of split safety coverages.
More than usual?
It was a change-up. We don't usually go to split safety. We've been going to single-high a lot and we've done that in the past couple of weeks to try to change it up and give them something different.
On the Zuttah unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. (Note, Harbaugh didn't see it but was told what happened when he asked.)
That penalty hurt us. Penalties were the main culprit in stopping our offense in the first half. We'll look at all of them. That one right there, it sounds like, based on what you guys are saying, that that should have never happened. Too much as stake.
*On the offside kickoff penalty by Matt Judon. *
That's Matt Judon. That's a rookie. You've got to know, you're reminded of that. You've got to know that the tempo of the kickers a little different. You've got to be smart, you've got to understand. That's a rookie who doesn't know, yet. I guess he's the kind of guy who has to learn the hard way. I'm that kind of guy, too, sometimes. A lot of times, I've had to learn the hard way in my life. He's going to have to learn the hard way. I'm not going to excuse him on that. Ok, now, you've learned the hard way. You've cost us field position out there.
Ezekiel Elliot came out slowly in the first half. How did you prepare for that?
The biggest thing, I think, was just playing good, solid run defense. We lost the edge a couple of times in the first half. Guys squeezed a little too hard and that's what he does, and he's got a good, quick first step to get the edge. After that, we pretty much contained him as far as not letting him get outside too much. We're a good run defense and we did a pretty good job.
#32 Eric Weddle (S)
On takeaways from the game: "Everything is right there for us. I hope and I believe this team will look at each other, look at ourselves first, and realize these little things, little mistakes that you do against a good team on the road come up and bite you. Let's reel it in. Let's work at the little things. We are still a confident team. Everything is right there in front of us. Basically the message was just, stay confident. Everything is right there. It is a 16 game season. This season is going to be defined by these next six games, not what happened today."
On the Cowboys: "They stayed ahead of the chains. Dak [Prescott] didn't force anything up the field. We covered their play-actions well, their double moves, their deep overs. And when nothing was there, he checked it down. When you cover those routes, and your underneath droppers get so deep and you check it down, it is a 10-12-15 yard gain when you have good coverage. Credit them. I thought we did well in the running game. The quarterback ran a couple times. But we knew we would be successful in the running game. It was just trying to get to them in the passing game. When the team runs the ball so well, it is hard to get to the quarterback. Play-actions, boots, they executed well. Five straight scoring drives is impressive. They made the plays to win the game and we didn't. It's the little things that count when both teams are good."
#55 Terrell Suggs (CB)
On the complexion of the game, from holding Cowboys to four punts then allowing six scoring drives: "This is the NFL. The Dallas Cowboys, they executed and won the game. They are going to make adjustments and they made some plays. Got some big plays done. We had some guys missing. That's not an excuse. I just think we have to be better in certain areas. We let another opportunity slip. I always say, men don't make the same mistake twice. We have to go back to the drawing board and get better. We are still number one in the division, and we have a six game season. It is disappointing. I am a little upset. But it is going to be on to Cincinnati. This one is going to hurt, but I am going to get over it pretty fast and I'll be on to Cincinnati by Tuesday."
On the team's injuries: "We have guys who are capable here. We have to put our best players on the field. Down the stretch we definitely need our warriors. We need dogs. Not only in the secondary, but everywhere. We are going to fight for our playoff lives. You want your biggest horses running the Kentucky Derby for you."
#33 Matt Elam (S)
On matching up with Dez Bryant: "He is a good receiver. They are a good team. They are going to make their plays and we have to make ours."
On Dez Bryant, part 2: "You just have to play. You have to play ball. Just get back into it. It has been a couple weeks since I played. That is part of the game. We have to line up and play football."
On holding the Cowboys to punts then allowing long scoring drives: "They just made plays. A couple penalties, we got calls on ourselves to get them down the field."
#54 Zachary Orr (ILB)
On the game: "I think the key was that in the first half, we were able to get off the field on third down. Second half, we weren't able to get off the field on third down. We came out the first two drives of the second half, they just drove the ball on us methodically. That isn't something we are not accustomed to, so we have to get back to work and figure it out.
On returning to the north Texas area, where he played in college: "It was cool. My family and friends, a lot of whom can't make it up to see me play or watch me on TV. But just to come back home where I grew up and a lot of my family and friends from high school and college watch me live and in person, and even people who weren't at the game who live down here, local on TV is just great. I got a log of text messages and good luck wishes, it is something I definitely enjoyed."
Jeremy Zuttah, Offensive Lineman
"They're a good football team, obviously 9 and 1. It's a good barometer to see where we are at. Clearly, if you look at the game, we can play with them toe-to-toe. We just have to clean up some stupid stuff and then we can go from there."
On his Unsportsmanlike call: "It's tough. The league is kind of changing at this point. The running back is fighting for yards, so I'm trying to help him out. You've got to know, just certain situations, you've got to toe the line. There's a fine line between being aggressive and doing something dumb. He told me that you can't hit him like that whether the whistle blew or not. So, you just got to kind of change the way you play."
On holding penalties: "It's tough. On the one, the guy falls and the ref, they've got a tough job you know, they see somebody fall they think you swung him or whatever. Then the other one, the quarterback scrambles and I thought had a good block but he called it with the fists too close. So, you just got to learn from it and move on."
On early success: "We came out there early on that one and went 90 yards. I thought it was a physical drive and kind of went after them. It showed what kind of offense we could be."
Dennis Pitta, Tight End
"We're not moving the ball consistently enough. We're not keeping pace with the other team, obviously. We lost. We scored less points. It wasn't good enough."
"Penalties are always an issue. You get a big first down and now you get moved all the way back. It happened to us a couple times. Hopefully, we can clean that up. That's part of the game, but you can't have those big penalties."
"We've got six games left. I believe we're still leading the division. We've got everything ahead of us. It's in our hands. So, we get to play Cincinnati twice and Pittsburgh another time. Those will be big ballgames for us. But, yeah, this one was frustrating."
Mike Wallace, Wide Receiver
"It's very frustrating in the simple fact that we didn't get the job done. I know the players we have on our offense. We just have to find a way to finish these drives. We're doing a good job starting the drives, but we have to find a better way to finish."
"I don't think penalties were really our problem today. We just didn't score touchdowns. When you play against a team like this who can control the clock and make big plays, you have to score touchdowns when you do get the ball because it's going to take a long time probably to get the ball back. That's what they do to you. They control the clock and they do a good job of it. So when you get the ball, you have to make it count."
"I think we're fine, honestly. Obviously, you want to win every time you step on the field but we know that's not realistic. But we're still in a good spot. We lead the division. We control our own destiny. That's the way you want it. We have another division game and if we take care of business there, we'll get a better shot at it. We just have to continue to grow and become better offense. I think our defense is playing up to par."
On Steve Smith: "Legendary player. I was just telling him after the game that he can play a couple more years if he wants to and just keep it going. But I think he's done…16 years is a long time, but if anybody can keep playing it's him. It's just an honor to be on the team with him. Every day to see the way he works and see how we carries himself, I just love it. I wish I would have had more time with him. When you have greatness around you, you just take whatever you can get and absorb whatever you can get from. Every day, I just try to learn something from him. He's a special player, a special person. A thousand catches don't come easy. You have to respect anybody who gets to that milestone. He's very deserving of it and I'm happy for him."
Steve Smith Sr., Wide Receiver
"We're frustrated. This is a really good team. We felt like we had them on the ropes and just let them off the hook. We didn't play as well as we wanted to collectively. We're just really disappointed in ourselves."
On milestones: "Bittersweet, I guess. You want to win. I'd give all that back to win to be honest."
"When you get down the stretch, every game gets more and more important. You saw what they did Sunday night to Pittsburgh, so that plays into our advantage if we win and now we don't. We're just going into next week. It's a little bit of a distraction with Thanksgiving. You want to be family. You got to watch what you eat and make sure you don't do too much because we've still got a big game. At the end of this game, you try not to think too much ahead but you understand we let one slip away, a very important one."
"I don't think about penalties because sometimes people make calls, miss calls. On offense, you can't play the game expecting a ref to assist you…We just have to play ball. I think we had slow start in the first half. We start up well and then we just kind of lulled ourselves to sleep in the 2nd quarter. Third quarter, we kind of played a little bit and then in the fourth quarter we woke up. I don't think anything has to do with the refereeing. They are there to enforce the rules and that's what they do. We just have to play ball and make the plays our coach draws up for us."
Quarter back Joe Flacco
On after a great first half, did he feel he left some opportunity on the table in the second
"Of course. I've been a part of these games before; there's been a handful of them this year. When you are out there and you're one of the guys on the field, you feel like you can take advantage of some things and score some points on the defense. I felt like we should have scored more points that what we did today. There was obviously a reason for it. I'll have to go back and look at the film, because the reality of it is, we didn't, and I feel like we could have."
On if he felt like they could have had more possessions
"In the second half, obviously. That's the kind of game it turned into. You've got to give them (Cowboys) credit. They scored every time the got the ball. It was that kind of game, and we have to do the same thing. We came out in the first drive; we hit Stevo (Steve Smith) in the middle. He got the ball around mid field and that might have been a penalty, and we get stopped, and we came just short on that one. We got the ball two more good times, and we scored on one of them, and we've got to score on all of them. There's times where we would get a nice rhythm to us, and we go the defense on their heels and we got going, but we needed to do more and I just feel we were not able to put the defense on the field enough with who we got."
On the penalty given on their second possession of play in the third quarter
"It was a screen pass to Kyle (Dixon) and they called a holding on Jeremy. You know I've got to see it. Jeremy said the guy was out of control when he shoved him down, and the guy calls holding. I kind of was on the field for that, the roughness call, or whatever they ended up calling. It might not have been the smartest play, but the whistle had not blown. It's tough to in this day and age in football. You know they are probably going to make that call, but when you're playing football, and you're an offensive lineman, and it's your nature, it's tough to say….play smart. You're just looking to hit guys, and you don't necessarily know if the ball is still going up field or what it's doing. Those things definitely hurt, and it's tough. Like I said I was on the field, and the whistle had not blown."
On if he feels like he's taking the steps on becoming the offense he wants
"We should beat this team. We should beat this team. I am not kidding. I felt very confident coming into this game, and I really feel we should beat this team. We should beat pretty much every team we play. In the couple that you lose, you hurt yourself and you lose them, and that's not what we're doing right now. We're obviously not as good as we would like to be, and no, I don't want to take any moral victories. I came into this game, I think we all did, very confident, and that we were going to do something nice and come in here and not shock ourselves, but shock everybody else, and it just didn't happen."
Linebacker CJ Mosely
On the comparison of how they were able to stop the Cowboys more in the second half than the first
"They (Cowboys) are definitely unstoppable. We played tough on defense in the passing game. We checked and balanced on what they were going to run. It's kind of hard when the plays are unable to stop. You got to keep your eye on them. At the end of the game, you got to get them on third down, so I feel that's what hurt us."
On if he is a little stunned on being snowballed a little bit
"Not really. Like Joe said, the mistakes we made were on us. Some of the passing game, some of the calls that we made, some of the things our guys dropped. I feel in crunch time, especially on third down situations, we've got to make those plays."
On if he felt the kind of plays by the Cowboys, were somewhat "pick your poison" proposition
"It's the nature of the game. We obviously gave away the long passes, but we knew that we were going to have be on the lookout for those plays and get to the ball quicker."
On not being able to slow down Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot in the first half, what changed
"At the end of the day they executed better than we did. They made plays that they wanted to make and we didn't. That's what it comes down to, being able to execute all four quarters."
On what he's taking from this game going forward, knowing what the situation is
"In the little time of the game that we played, we played well as a whole team, but like I said, it's got to be an all four quarter game for us, and play the game. I definitely feel confident, that we could have beat them if we would have made better passing. We live and learn. We're going to correct it as we've got a big game with Cincinnati that we've got to focus on."