Transcripts: Vikings at Ravens 11/7/21


Head Coach John Harbaugh 

(opening statement) "Thanks for being here. [That was] quite a game. I'm going to hit a couple different things first if you don't mind. Today being Salute to Service day, I want to personally dedicate this win to a really good friend of mine and mentor who passed away recently from cancer, General Raymond T. Odierno, U.S. Army chief. [He's] just a personal man I admire very much, and to his wife, Linda, who is an awesome, awesome person, his daughter, Katie, who I've met, his son, Anthony, who I've met, and his three great children and four grandchildren. He just epitomized everything. … Just talking about leadership and everything it means to be a right kind of a person, Ray Odierno. And then I just want to share this with you, if I can get it on my phone, but General J.T. Thompson, who's a good friend of mine, was General Odierno's aide when we were over there in Iraq visiting. His favorite quote … General [J.T. Thompson's] favorite quote that he heard was George Patton's, who once said, 'It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men that died. Rather we should thank God such men lived.' I thank God for a friend like 'General O' [General Raymond T. Odierno]. Beyond that, I want to give you 'General O's' favorite quote, because I think it's really appropriate today wearing this, in honor of all the men and women that serve and have served. He said this about the army. He said, 'The strength of our nation is our army. The strength of our army is our soldiers. The strength of our soldiers is our families. And this is what makes us Army Strong.' So, in honor of 'General O' and everybody that served, thank you for what you've done for us. Alright, on that note, I could go through the game notes here, but what questions do you have?" 

(on if coming back from double digits has begun to feel like the norm) "No, it doesn't; it just makes me proud of the guys in a lot of ways. The fact that we have … We gave the game ball to faith – to faith and favor. It's going to go up in the locker room to faith; I think that's the star of the game. All of the guys that made the plays … I told the guys, I said, 'We had a bunch of guys playing out there, playing – a bunch of guys that were playing. We had a bunch of guys that were praying. I promise you I was doing some praying, and a lot of our fans were doing some praying, too.' Just really with that, the idea that they stick together [and] they don't flinch. Kevin Zeitler was talking about it. He's been on teams [where] you're down 14 points like that, and you really just kind of know the game is over. Not this team; it's like nobody even bats an eye. Shrug your shoulders, and let's go. They come out … We made a point in the second half; we said, 'We want to see the kind of team we're going to be in terms of playing winning football. Error-free football with all of our physicality and all of our execution.' And then the first thing that happens is the kick return goes back to the house. That's a gut punch, but we've been there before. If you go back to [the] Denver [game], that comes to mind. We had those gut punches, but the fact that our guys just stand back up strong and keep fighting, I think that's what makes it special. But we would like to chase winning football. We would like to not get … The other thing about those plays is, I'll just say this; the thing that we've been kind of blessed with through all this is that when we've made these mistakes, we haven't stayed in our coverage area, or we haven't been at the right leverage, or offensively, we've had the penalties, we've overcome them, but we've also paid for them. We've paid dearly for them with touchdowns. The idea is not to give your opponent anything; it's to take what you can and give away nothing – that's winning football. We've done a lot of giving, but we've also done a lot of overcoming. I'd like to cut down on the giving. Even though it's Thanksgiving coming up, we'll be thankful for the overcoming, but we have work to do still. So, that turned out pretty good actually." (Reporter: "Is that a t-shirt now?") "Yes, it could be." (laughter)  

(on what the Vikings defense was doing that gave the offense issues and what adjustments they made to counter it) "I don't want to take anything away from them, because they just have a really good defense. They were playing stout in there like they do. I think over time, the idea for us was to keep them on the field. We felt like if we were able to keep them on the field, we'd be able to extend, and then we'd be able to get in a rhythm and execute. We just weren't able to keep them on the field enough in the first half. So, it was our lack of execution, really, and their execution to get us off the field. We just couldn't really extend those drives and kind of wear them down just a little bit, which was what we were hoping to be able to do." 

(on if the decision to throw quick hitting RPOs or receiver screens was a response to how off the cornerbacks were playing out wide) "Well, there were different ones. Some of those were responses to Zero Coverage. They came out, and they were blitzing us. So, you want to get the ball outside. You saw later [that] we got some big plays off of those; early we didn't. The one thing is, Lamar [Jackson] has a lot of offense in his hands. Don't think he's not in control of this thing; he's in control, and he has options. He makes choices, and most of the time, they look great. Sometimes, they don't look great, and you go, 'Woah, what was that play?' It's like, 'Well, he was trying something there. He saw something that's in the system, and that's what quarterbacks do.' He does a great job of that. Some things work, and some things don't. I think that's kind of more what you're talking about there with that." 

(on the key to adjusting after giving up two big plays on the Vikings' possessions in the first quarter) "We just talked to the guys, and the guys knew. I didn't have to say a word to them, they already knew. [I said,] 'Do your job. Do your job. You don't have to do somebody else's job.' We don't have to come out of the middle of the field. We already knew that … We call it the 'Attack Play.' They came up, and it's the 'Attack Play.' We know it's a deep shot. We should've been back there waiting for it. So, we just calmed down a little bit. They caught us. They had us discombobulated a little bit there, and we let the ball get behind us. We know it shouldn't happen. Then we were in man coverage, and [Dalvin Cook] ran a little crack toss. We didn't get the support we needed to put the edge on it, which we've worked on really hard, but we just didn't get it done. Those two plays, they can be played a lot better, but they cost us 14 points, basically." 

(on if he thought the tackling improved and if there was more gang tackling this game) "Yes, gang tackling is a function of everybody being in a good place and forcing it back to your help. We did a much better job of that, especially in zone coverage. Our guys are where they're supposed to be. They weren't chasing routes as much as they were relating to routes. Balls came across, or whatever, and we had a frontside edge or a backside edge, we had a point man, [and] we had a pursuit man. So, we were able to cup the ball and tackle them. I thought guys, they tackled center mass a lot better than they had been in the past and did a good job of that." 

(on how tough it was to go for it on fourth-and-5) "Help me out when it was, exactly." (Reporter: I think you were down by 14 at the time, and it was early in the second half. It was Devonta's [Freeman] run.)"It was in the second quarter?" (Reporter: "Second half.") "Oh yes, the third quarter. And what play did we run? We ran the sweep play. Yes, it wasn't hard, because I just felt like you count possessions, and you say to yourself … Especially since we were around midfield somewhere?" (Reporter: "Yes.") "We basically just said, 'We have to get points here. We can't afford to be punting the ball right here. We can't give it back to them.' That really was the bottom line. [Offensive coordinator] Greg [Roman] thought he had a good play. But at that point in time, it was just like, 'Hey, man. We have to get back in this thing.' I do trust our guys. I trust our guys to make plays and make blocks. You have Lamar [Jackson]. I thought our running backs played great today; don't you think? Our running backs really stepped it up today and played great football. I could sit here and talk about everybody. The offensive line, they started wearing those guys down, and we started running … We ran the ball to win the game at the end, and then we made chunk plays. Lamar was able to sit in there with some time. He even got sacked late in the game, but he didn't get flustered. Marquise [Brown] made a couple huge plays. Everybody [did]; [Rashod] Bateman had some plays, [Devin] Duvernay, [and] Pat Ricard was responsible for one drive all himself, basically, in the passing game. So, those are the things that all go into the faith in that [game] ball. That's what goes into that – those guys doing those things." 

(on how healthy the team came out of this matchup) "We came out of it pretty healthy, except for one major blow; DeShon Elliott is going to be out. He has, I think, a torn pec and a torn bicep. So, unfortunately, he has … The guy is so courageous; he gutted it out through all of that, but he's going to be out. So, that's a major loss for us." (Reporter: "Out for the season?") "I believe so, yes." 

(on how QB Lamar Jackson's leadership allows the team to comeback from large deficits) "I think his poise, he doesn't get flustered. He always … He sees the field so well. He gives every play the maximum opportunity to be successful, if that makes sense. And then, he's just good. He's just really good. He can make the plays. He's capable of making the plays. So, that's what I notice." 

(on if QB Lamar Jackson runs the ball too much) "I don't know, we won." (Reporter: "How sustainable, though, long term?") "No long-term sustainability observations. It's not even relevant. Would you rather not run 21 times today and lose the game? It's crazy to even suggest that. So, it's not even a relevant question to be answered. We don't plan on running any number of times. We plan on running as much, throwing as much, handing it off as much, blitzing as much, playing zone coverage as much as you think it takes to win the game in the game, and that's really what you do. So, the sustainability questions are like, 'Man, life is short. Run to the ball.' I'm trying to win the game." 

QB Lamar Jackson

(on the team's third win coming back from a double-digit deficit, and if that's becoming common) "I hope not. I'm not trying to be going to overtime every week. Oh my God. But, I just feel our team did a great job, like you said, going to three overtimes this season. We didn't lay down. We saw the score was tilted early in the game. Our guys just fought. We made a comeback. All phases did a great job today." 

(on his overtime interception) "I was mad. I was thinking, 'Should I have pumped it, let him jump first and then throw the ball?' [Anthony Barr] just made a terrific play. I was mad for putting our defense back out there. We could have probably scored a touchdown to seal the game, so I was ticked off about that. But the defense held their own. They did a great job for us, and [we] came out with the victory." 

(on RB Le'Veon Bell and the running backs stepping up) "[Le'Veon Bell] and [Devonta] Freeman were doing their thing. Ty'Son [Williams] got in [and] did his thing. Those guys were just doing what they're supposed to – run the ball, catching stuff. They were doing their thing tonight." 

(on the makeup of this team to be able to get behind and still earn a victory) "I'd rather not be behind. I'd rather just step on the gas and just keep going, just keep scoring. I'd rather not be playing from behind. But our team, we're fighters. We believe in each other. We've got faith. We were just talking about that in [the locker room]. We've just got to keep it going. Hopefully, we won't be in any more overtime games." 

(on why things weren't working early) "I can't tell you. We just had to find our rhythm. Little passes – I was missing. I threw one to Marquise [Brown] – like a little out [route] – horrible ball. We've got to just make things happen early, if anything, but I don't know why." 

(on tying QB Michael Vick's NFL record for the most 100-yard rushing games by a QB) "Of course I respect [Michael Vick's] game. Yes, that's cool. I don't know what to say. It's pretty cool, though. I appreciate that. It's cool." 

(on WR Marquise Brown's performance) "He was turning up. He caught the ball, [and] as soon as the ball touched his hands, he was making moves, burning people, pointing to blocks. He was just doing what 'Hollywood' is supposed to do – 'Primetime.' He's doing his thing." 

(on his receivers as a whole) "[Devin] Duvernay caught a tremendous pass [for a touchdown in the end zone]. 'Bate' [Rashod Bateman] caught one. Gosh, they're ready, they're hungry. We've got young, hungry guys – very talented receivers. We've just got to keep taking it a game at a time." 

(on if running the ball a lot was a part of the gameplan, or if they were taking what the defense was giving them) "The defense just gave us that look. We just had to do what we had to do to get the victory. We just ran for a lot today. That's just what it was." 

(on if they made an adjustment to get the running backs more involved in the passing game in the second half) "We did [talk about that during halftime]. As a matter of fact, my coach did [talk about it]. Coach 'Urb' [quarterbacks coach James Urban], he was just like, 'Take what the defense gives us,' and that's what we did in the second half, because downfield passes weren't there. Those guys did a great job trying to rush me to throw passes, get the ball out of my hands, and I just had to check the ball down in the second half." 

(on if he felt the offense may have been forcing things in the first half) "Not forcing. We were trying to make things happen. We were trying to score points – that's all. We weren't forcing anything." 

(on if he's concerned that running the ball 20 times a game is not sustainable) "I don't know. I'm focused on right now, though. I've got to focus on right now. We've got to keep taking it a game at a time. That's just what it was today – run 20 times. Did I run 20 times against Cincinnati?" (Reporter: "No.") "So, no." 

WR Marquise Brown 

(on if there is any deficit that feels too big for this team) "No. Like I said before, I don't think we're ever really out of a game, but you hate to be in those situations. You kind of want to start fast so you don't have to do that. But if you're in that situation in the game, I'm confident that we can get it done." 

(on if this game exemplified how he's expanded his game, given the number of yards after the catch he tallied) "Yes. [I] just keep showing what I can do. I can go deep, go short. Whatever they have me do, I can do." 

(on if the short-passing game is a remedy to get him the ball and get into a rhythm) "Yes, of course; not just me – all receivers. When they're playing that type of defense, we've got to just take what they give us – if it's to whoever – and that's what we started doing. We started taking what they were giving us. They were trying to take away the deep balls." 

(on why the team started slow) "Just execution. They out-executed us to start the game, and that's just what it was." 

(on if he can feel when things start clicking with QB Lamar Jackson) "Yes and no. I'll say no, because it can be going bad, and [at] any split second, it could go good. And when it's going good, it feels good. But with [Lamar Jackson] you just … Any play – like, this next play – could be a touchdown. This next play could be a big play with him." 

(on the mood on the bench after Minnesota's kickoff return for a touchdown) "We had the same mindset. We knew they were getting the ball first; they could have [gone] down and scored a touchdown on offense. So, for us, when we get on offense, we've got to do what we do." 

WR Devin Duvernay

(on his spectacular touchdown catch today) "I had a line route, and I just went through the zone. Lamar [Jackson] threw it, and I was just trying to make the best play on the ball that I could and trying to make something happen. Fortunately, I was able to come down with the catch." 

(on the resiliency of the offense to fight its way back into the game) "We're never out of the fight. We always feel like the defense isn't really stopping us – we've stopped ourselves. If we just stick to the plan and keep pushing, we'll continue to find a way."

(on the short week heading into Thursday night in Miami) "Yes, short week. Like Coach Harbaugh said, we've got until about midnight to celebrate this win and then get over it, because we need to shift our attention. We're all pros, and we'll find a way to come in tomorrow, shift our focus to Miami and be ready to go on Thursday."

(on where the team is offensively about halfway through the season) "Definitely, the sky is the limit. We've just got to keep doing the little things, keep honing in on the details like blocking, route running, catching, run after the catch, and I feel like we can do what we want." 

ILB Josh Bynes 

(on the feeling of this win in comeback fashion) "Yes, we had a ton of them in my time here –10 years total … Five years, or however long it's been. It's been the same, but it just shows how resilient this team is, and just going out there to get a win. At the end of the day, it's hard to get wins in this league. I don't care how you get it. I don't care if [the score] is 99-98 – as long as we have one point more than them – and we pulled it out today." 

(on if he rallied the team after giving up two big plays early in the game) "We definitely got together and talked, did a lot, and really just calmed down. It was just easy things that we gave up, but that's part of the game. They made a play when they needed to. I think a lot of times, we forget those guys on the other side of the ball get paid too, and they made plays and did what they were supposed to do. We just found a way to still … Through all of that, fighting adversity. We overcame those mistakes and still put ourselves, our offense, in a position to go out there and leave for 'Tuck' [Justin Tucker] a field goal to win." 

(on the mindset of having to play overtime after throwing an interception) "We just pretty much have to take it one play at a time, and just do our jobs, and everything else will take care of itself. And I knew everybody knew what was at stake, and what was the mission, and what we had to do, and not panic. And we did such an awesome job in that situation to go out there and get a stop and get the ball back to our offense." 

(on if he thinks about calming down the defense while out there) "I'm very … I don't know. When I go out on the field, I just try to slow it down for me, and just for the guys. I just try to think football, and just try to play the game, and just go out there and do what I'm supposed to do for the guys around me. I love this part about football; Monday through Saturday, it's always, 'Have this thing, practicing, etc.' But Sunday is the day for us. And that's why I love this game – I love it when we go out there and play for each other, each and every down. And for me, it's basically just … Through it all, learning how to … Alright, one play, one play, and just continuing that one play mentality until that score shows us with a 'W' [win] coming out of it, like we did today." 

(on who helped him develop his calm nature) "You know, I think it's just adversity. I've been through a lot, just to get to where I am. And my wife actually – I have to give her the credit, I'm not going to lie to you. And I'm not just saying it just to say it about my wife. But being undrafted, it just has its own things or whatnot. And early on, I would stress about it, stress about it, 'Oh, I'm trying to make the team, blah, blah, blah.' My wife was always like, 'Honey, just relax. You can control what you can control, and just continue to strive and do what you're supposed to do.' And through it all, I just continue … No matter what comes my way – getting cut, or being here, being there – I try to be like whenever I get that next opportunity, I'm going to be ready for it. I'm going to continue to just fight each and every day. And I've got to appreciate my wife for that one." 

(on this team being resolute) "We've been doing that for kind of a long time – since 'Harbs' [John Harbaugh] has been here, for sure. [Our] backs have been against the walls. For some reason, we just know how to find a way to win. We've got, obviously, one of the best kickers of all time on our team. That always adds tremendous value. And throughout it all – the ups and downs throughout the game – having 'Tuck' [Justin Tucker] is just super, super amazing knowing that we can count on him each and every game to make that kick to win the game. This team is super resilient throughout this whole eight games. You've seen, what, six of them? I don't know how many games it's been down to the wire. And we found a way to win." 

K Justin Tucker 

(On any wind or weather concerns when he was kicking the 36-yard overtime kick) "I sound like a broken record when I say this, but our stadium is a real tough place to make kicks. I am very thankful that we were able to do just that. We were able to make kicks, keep us in the game and ultimately win it. The field conditions were solid. After the bye week, we had the field re-sodded, I guess. So, anytime that happens, they roll out the field in these three-to-four-foot-wide panels that run the length of the field. So, you have to be careful about where you put your plant [foot] so you don't end up in one of those seams and lose your footing. The ball can go anywhere from there. I've had experience doing that before where I planted in freshly-laid sod and one of those seams. So, on that final kick, we made sure to put our spot just off of one of those seams so we could ensure that we had a solid area to plant and strike the ball with a swirling left-to-right wind toward the left of our bench today. At the end of the day, you can gather all that data, but, if you don't apply it in the right way and just see the ball and strike the ball, then it's all for naught. Nick [Moore] threw back a great snap as always. Sam [Koch] did an excellent job putting the spot down. The guys were holding off the rush for just long enough to help us get the ball up and out. You've got to give credit to all those guys and to the offense for getting us positive field position toward the end of the game. I felt like the buzz in the stadium when we were at the 34- or 35-yard line going in was, 'Oh, we're setting up the kick now.' But I felt the energy had me thinking, 'I'm ready to go knock down the 52, 53, or 54-yarder' in my mind. But, if it was 36, that would be nice, too. The offense did an excellent job executing and getting us positive field position to make the kick—a higher-percentage kick at the end. I felt like the offense and the defense did an excellent job of staying in the game and getting us into a position to win the game in overtime. Hats off to everyone who played their part and got us this win today." 

(On if there is any sense of nervousness within him) "Oh, of course, of course – every single time. Like, it doesn't matter if it's a PAT in the first quarter or the game-winning field goal, whether it's a 36-yarder or a 66-yarder, it's always about managing your feelings and managing your emotions and channeling that into just making the kick. I've said this before, but all of my feelings and emotions, they don't really matter, they don't help me make the kick. I might be feeling nervous; I might be feeling confident. None of that actually matters. The only thing that matters is seeing the ball snapped, seeing the ball spotted, trusting my technique that we've worked on for years, striking the ball right on the sweet spot and putting the ball through the post. So, [to make] the long story less long, yes, I was nervous before I attempted the game-winning field goal, but that goes for any time we go out there. And if you're not feeling a little bit nervous, like, are you really living? You know what I'm saying? If you're not feeling the emotion, the vibe of the game, then … As soon as I stop feeling that way, then it's time for me to be done. But I will never feel that way, so we're going to kick until the bitter end." (laughter) 

(On if there is a different energy when kicking at M&T Bank Stadium, versus kicking at a stadium on the road) "That's a really good question. When we are attempting kicks at home, I almost feel that there is almost more of an expectation from the outside that I'm going to make the kick, and in a way, I almost feel more pressure to perform in front of our home crowd. At the exact same time – it goes back to what I was just talking about – none of that actually, really matters. It's really fun, and it's an incredible feeling to hear the roar of the crowd at home, after we make a game-winning field goal and win a game. It's one of the main reasons why we all play – is to experience that and to celebrate with our teammates and coaches. Those are the moments that we'll remember for the rest of our lives. But at the end of the day, it's about the action and not even considering the consequence until after the fact, and then I get even more nervous thinking about, 'Oh, man, what if that went the other way?' So, I'll leave it at that."  


(on being more involved offensively catching the ball today) "For me, not playing offense in college and coming to the NFL and transitioning to the offense, whenever I get the ball, it's just a great opportunity for me. I'm always grateful whenever I do get the ball thrown to me, because we have a lot of great receivers here, and it means Lamar [Jackson] trusts me when he throws me the ball. I know whenever I get the ball in my hands, I'm a big guy, so I have to make a play and make sure I'm physical. I'm just happy that I did make those plays today."

(on being down early and fighting to come back and win) "That's like our motto this season – no matter what happens, we're never going to attack each other or blame others. We just keep fighting, keep playing and see what happens. Whenever we have a quarterback like Lamar [Jackson], you want to play incredibly hard for that guy, and you know he's going to make something happen. So, you just have to execute at the highest level whenever the play is called and no matter the score. That's how I play, and I think a lot of guys are playing like that, and that's why we've been winning these close games this year. We're 6-2 and heading into a short week, so hopefully we can just recover, get this gameplan and head into Thursday night."

(on the mindset of the team heading into a short week at Miami) "I think the biggest thing for short weeks, Thursday night games, is taking care of your body and getting the gameplan as fast as you possibly can and learn it. This game is more about execution, because you don't have as much time to learn the gameplan. It's really about who can execute the gameplan the best, and we'll prepare this week to make sure we're ready to do that."

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