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Baltimore Ravens Postgame Transcripts 12/12

Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh and select players comment on their 30-23 loss to the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on Monday, December 12, 2016.


JH: Ok, thanks for being here. I just want to make an announcement first, before we start talking about anything. We lost a member, we lost a Raven today. Konrad Reuland. He was declared brain dead, he had an aneurism about a week ago, underwent surgery and has been fighting for his life for the last week. He passed today, so I just want to offer condolences to his family. We love Konrad Reuland. Every single guy in that locker room loves him, that knows him. And I just want to say this, on his behalf, it is a Psalm: God is our refuge and our strength. In Him do we trust. That's for Konrad. Ok, what questions do you have?

Q: Right before the last field goal Coach, and it was 4th down and a foot, did you think about going for it there?

JH: Yeah, we needed to score 10 points, one way or the other, so we got the 3 there. Try to get the 7 later, that was kind of thinking about it. We needed two scores, so you could do it either way basically. 

Q: John, it seemed that Joe [Flacco] dumped the ball a lot. Was it something they were taking away or what do you think?

JH: That's a great question. To answer that question, we've got to see the tape and see what the reads look like. I think they were covering deep and they had their safeties back and they did a good job staying on top of things. Corners were bailing a lot in their 3-deep coverages. They wanted to stay on top and I think they did a good job of that, not giving up the big plays. Certainly a better job than we did and that was probably the difference in the game. 

Q: Been up here a lot. The momentum was a lot different early in this one. To fall behind like that, obviously, you guys made some opportunities in the special teams, does that make you happy?

JH: I think it is a credit to our guys, you know. It's a tough environment. It was a Monday night, you know, in New England. It's just like the AFC championship games we've played here. I mean, the environment is exactly the same as that, no different. I told our guys at half time, it's the same environment that you are going to have playing in a championship game here, nothing different, let's go play that kind of football. And our guys fought. That's a very good football team and they deserve the victory. They played winning football and they made the plays they needed to make. Early, they got off to a good start. [That] put us in a hole. Thought they did a very good job. Their defense was very tough throughout the course of the game. But our special teams, stepping up and making plays, those were huge plays and gave us a chance to win the game. Put us back in it. Credit to those guys.

Q: John, is the feeling that you just fell short a couple plays in the 4th quarter? Offensively, defensively, that could have changed the game?

JH: Well of course, I mean, it's always like that. It's always a play here or a play there that makes the difference. Obviously, they made the play on the play action pass. We had a good idea it was coming and we didn't play it well. We didn't play it right, in the back end, and that's just on us. 

Q: Did Matt Elam think…

JH: It wasn't Matt Elam's play to make, for the coverage, before we start pointing fingers. 

Q: Who's play was it to make?

JH: I'm not getting into all that. Never do, never will. 

Q: Now John, at 7-6, is now the mentality, with 3 games remaining, that you have to win out to get to the playoffs?

JH: Yes, absolutely, we know where we stand and the situation we are in. And that we basically have to win three games, you know, and [we are] certainly fully capable of doing that. That's what we intend to do, but all the focus goes to the next game. That's what I told the guys in the locker room, pack up the buses as quick as we can, get back to Baltimore and get to work on Philadelphia. It's a very good Eagles team that we are playing on a short week. We've got to get healthy and we've got to get rested and we've got to get prepared. We've got to go play our best football next Sunday in MBT Stadium. We are going to need our crowd man, we are going to need our crowd in full force, because we are making a run for the AFC North title and it starts with that game. We have to win that game. And that's what we will be preparing for. 

Q: Do you have an update on Jimmy Smith?

JH: I do, it's an ankle sprain. 

Q: High?

JH: I don't know. 

Q: Is the message that you still have it, in your own hand? Under your own control? Doesn't matter about anybody else winning, as long as you win, you're in?

JH: Yeah, that's the message. That's the reality of it. That's exactly where it stands. 

Q: [Tom] Brady had over 400 passing yards, how much do you chalk that up to losing [Jimmy] Smith and [Jerraud] Powers?

JH: I don't really chalk it up to anything. I just chalk it up to it's a football game and Tom Brady did a great job. [He] obviously had a great night throwing the ball. And it was big plays. I chalk it up to big plays, so give them credit for making those plays. They did a good job of executing those plays. 


Q: Was it tough with the dump off short passes? That probably wasn't the game plan?

JF: Yeah, they were dropping a lot of guys. It seemed like most of the game they had a lot of guys in the middle of the field and weren't rushing a bunch of guys. They brought a couple of blitzes, but they were kind of on the fly when we were in more of a hurry-up tempo. 

Q: Was that something you expected from them?

JF: We expected to get probably a little bit more man-to-man that we got. We got some a little bit down in the red zone, obviously and in a couple of those third-down situations we were able to hit Kyle Juszczyk up the rail and [Mike Wallace], so we got a couple of those plays off. We took a couple shots down the field and we were hoping to take a couple more.

Q: Did they do anything to take away Dennis Pitta at all?

JF: He's running a lot of his routes over the middle of the field and when they're dropping guys out and not rushing a bunch of guys and you're trying to sit in holes and find holes, it can be tough. Down in the red zone we were able to hit [Darren Waller] and we were able to hit [Kenneth Dixon] out of the backfield because it seemed like they were doubling him. They were playing man-to-man and putting an extra guy over Dennis at least on a couple of the plays down there.

Q: Do you think they did that because of all the success you had against Miami in the middle?

JF: It's tough to say. I think a lot of the time when you have a good tight end, a lot of the times we've come up here they've found different ways to try to take them out of the game whether it's not letting them come off the line of scrimmage or whatever, but you have to be ready for everything with these guys. These guys, New England, they're very game specific with their plans, so you have to be ready to expect everything.

Q: What's your takeaway from this game? You're down by 20 and you came back, but you just weren't able to get it done?

JF: The biggest thing I can think of is that we just didn't finish drives. I think early on we moved the ball, we got the first 30 yards, we got moving, but then we just stalled out and that probably hurt us in the long run.

Q: Now at 7-6 you're one game behind the Steelers with three games. What's kind of the mindset right now?

JF: It doesn't really matter what our record is. Like I heard you guys say, we've just got to win our games. Obviously, Pittsburgh is a game ahead of us, but we still have another game against them at their place, so it will be tough, but we've just got to focus one week at a time and go win football games. 


Q: Different environment coming up here?

ZO: Definitely. This was probably the loudest and rowdiest atmosphere for a road game and we knew that coming in, especially whenever we're playing the Patriots. You've got two of the top teams clashing against one another. It definitely was a hostile environment, but we knew that coming in. 

Q: How shocking was that final play? The Patriots long touchdown.

ZO: It was something that is preached about through OTAs, camp and preseason and everything like that. We want to eliminate big plays and we had a bust and we don't want to give them anything especially going against a team like that. If you miss an assignment, then Tom Brady and those guys are going to exploit that to the max and ultimately, it was one of the plays that cost us.

Q: Is this a communication error?

ZO: I didn't really know what was - I knew it was an error - I don't know what was going on. We really didn't have time to talk about it, so it's one thing that we have to go back and correct this week and get it fixed. 

Q: Is there a level of frustration for coming back from that huge deficit and just not being able to overcome it?

ZO: Yeah, it was a little frustrating because we felt like we didn't play our best football throughout the whole game, not just when we started to come back and everything. We felt like we didn't play up to what we're capable of playing and that's the thing that's disappointing and frustrating. 

Q: What's the mindset of this team going into this final stretch?

ZO: We're putting this one behind us. We've got a short week. We've got Philly coming in to our place for our last home game in front of our fans in the regular season and they're a good team even though they've lost a couple of games, they're a good team. We still control our own destiny, so we'll take it one week at a time and pretty much win-out, but it starts with Philly and as much as this loss hurts, we're putting it behind us. As soon as we got on this plane - we're going to hurry up and get out of here and get focused on Philly. 

Devin Hester Sr., Wide Receiver/Return Specialist

*(On the importance of special teams play) *
"It is very important because it is the third phase of the game. Field position is important, it can lead to field goals, penalties can hurt and of course turnovers are part of the game. Tonight we had two turnovers that were real crucial. That can make the difference in a game. That's the way things go.  Sometimes you have control of it and sometimes you don't. The one that hit his [Cyrus Jones] foot, he couldn't get to it in time and he tried to move out of the way."

Dennis Pitta, Tight End

*(On the play of the offense) *
"We were able to capitalize in the red zone when we got turnovers. I would say that was it. We were able to move the ball when we got in the two minute mode towards the end of the game but we didn't play well overall. We just weren't consistent enough offensively. From my perspective we made a lot of mistakes and they didn't."

*(On playing the Patriots) *
"It's developed into a little bit of a rivalry because of the significance of the games we've played. They're December football games and sometimes January and we have met a hand full of times in the AFC Championship. It has developed into a good rivalry and is a fun game to play."

Steve Smith Sr., Wide Receiver

*(On the Patriots defense) *
"They played a lot of zone coverage. They had a great game plan."

*(On moving on from this) *
"We've got to play hard, we've got three games. We have to play dangerous, we have to play reckless. We have to play to win, not to lose."

*(On coming back) *
"I was not happy with the loss. Are we happy when we battled back? It was like getting a terrible sandwich. You bite into it, it's still terrible, but you give the person who made it kudos."

Terrell Suggs, Linebacker

*(On what the game says about the Ravens) *
"It can't say anything good. You can't spot this guy [Tom Brady] 16 points. You can't afford to start slow. We gave up too many big plays on defense. That is very uncharacteristic of us. They won and we are in a three game season."

*(On what happened on the 79-yard touchdown by the Patriots) *
"I have to look at it. I'm just as shocked as you are. When he [Brady] threw it, I thought we may have got it, but it was their guy running down the field. We have to look at the film and see what we can correct. Like I said, you can't make a mistake against this guy, he'll make you pay for it, and he made us pay big."

*(On whether the game was a moral victory after being down 23-3) *
"I don't know what a shot in the mouth feels like, but I can almost guarantee this can be similar. We didn't come here for no moral victory. We spotted them 16 points and fought our way back in but then gave up a 79-yard touchdown. You can't do that. You can't make mistakes with this guy."

Justin Tucker, Kicker

*(On the blocked field goal) *
"It looked like they timed our snap and the guy made a hell of a play. I don't know what happens in their meetings but the guy made a good play on the ball."

Mike Wallace, Wide Receiver

*(On what the Patriots did to keep them in check) *
"They played a lot of zone. They know we have a lot of speed so they tried to eliminate the big plays. We had our opportunities, but we didn't make the most of them. I'm proud of the way we fought and continued to fight throughout the game, but at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you fight, we need to win."

*(On what they have to do as a team to make teams pay when they play zone defense) *
"We can all sit up here and say we can do this and we can do that, but it's not that easy, especially when you play a team the caliber of the Patriots. They are a smart team and they are going to take away what you do best. You have to adjust and make plays."

*(On how he balances the ups and downs of the season) *
"I'm going to work. I don't care if we came out and passed for 600 yards, I'm still going to have to go to work and forget about this game. That's the type of player I am. It doesn't matter what happened tonight, it's over. I'm not going to get down or up, it's just another game to me and at the end of the day it's over. Angry? Yeah. Down? No."

Eric Weddle, Safety

*(On coming back in the second half) *
"The character, the mentality and the toughness of the team, we knew we could make this a game. We just had to turn the tide, and that's what we did with our special teams. It's just unfortunate in a three point game you make a mistake like that. You live and you learn, and we'll be better from it."

*(On losing Jimmy Smith) *
"I thought we played well in the second half, obviously when Jimmy goes down it hurts us, But Shereece [Wright] came in and played outstanding I thought. We played well, we just gave up a big play, you make a mistake and you lose the game and that's what happened."

*(On the big touchdown play) *
"That was me, I should be there. I told everyone play-action was coming, and I move around so much that it hurt me on that play. It's just unfortunate when you have a chance to win the game and you give them a play like that, it wasn't so much them it was us. They played a phenomenal game, we fought we just didn't get it done."

(On the Patriots)
"I thought we played well at times and they got us a few times. They have great players over there, they have a great scheme. I thought once we settled down and got in the rhythm of things, we played well."

Marshal Yanda, Guard/Tackle

*(On the game) *
"I just feel like they executed their game plan better than we did. Hats off to the Patriots, they made the plays today to win. They made big plays and we were sporadic on offense. They played better than us today. That's about it right now. It's just a big game and everybody is competing. Obviously, they are a good team and there are competitive guys out there.  Sooner or later scrapping happens. They are a good team so we want to come out and play our best football. Every week in the NFL you have to show up and play your best, rivalries aside. What's done is done and they played winning football today."

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