STEELERS vs. RAVENS SUNDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2009 KICKOFF 1:00 P.M. HEINZ FIELD
* RAVENS QUOTES *
Coach John Harbaugh:
*Re: Penalties and how they affected the game
I think you guys can go to penalties if you want. You can point the finger at whatever you want. We're going to Oakland. We're going to play our hearts out every single week. Specific penalties we can talk about: you want to talk about a holding penalty here and there; you want to talk about illegal contact late in the game? Check what the rules said.
Do you feel there were missed opportunities on your team's part?
Listen, you go out there and you fight. You go out there and you battle. We competed like crazy to try and win a football game the best we can. You make plays, they make plays; go back and forth, you fight for it…that's what we do. We fight our hearts out. We came up a little bit short.
How decisive was your last offensive drive in the 4th quarter?
It cost us the game probably. We had a chance to get a touchdown and we didn't score. We had a chance to get a field goal, we'd be in overtime right now. That hurt us.
How do you think your secondary played?
I thought they played well. I thought they competed. Talk about how Ben Roethlisberger threw it for 503 yards last week. I thought they covered him well. We had a couple plays and situations where we tried to come after him and had him singled up in situations and I thought Santonio Holmes, like he does, made some nice plays. But you can't just stay back in coverage, so we got to [Roethlisberger] a few times too. That's the give and take, that's the back and forth of football.
How will your team respond knowing that next week's game will be an emotional one?
I know how they'll respond. I think everyone on our team knows how to respond. They'll go to work and they'll go out there and compete against a good Oakland football team that has had its share of success this year. We have our hands full, but I guarantee we can't wait for the opportunity. We'd play them right now if we could.
*Re: Attacking the Steelers' defense
It was just tough football. They're a stout defense, they play hard. I don't know my stats, but we look for wins. We didn't get the job done. We just have to come out ready to play against Oakland. Right now, our minds are Oakland. This one is done already. We have to move forward to Oakland and obviously win that game to have a shot at the playoffs.
Re: Dealing with this loss in regards to the overall playoff picture
That's what Ravens' and Steelers' football is all about. It's a tough rivalry. It's a rivalry that's going to be around for the ages. Just another close game, that's what it was – just another close Ravens-Steelers game. We just didn't get the job done.
Re: Close calls that went against the Ravens
That's not in our control. What the referees call is not in our control, definitely. We score points, we win the game. Everything else is self-explanatory. The refs have a job, we have a job to do as well.
Re: Scores that were called back
It's tough, but the refs made a call. With all that said and done, we still had a chance to win the game.
Re: Success of the running game
The offensive line does a great job. I just find the creases and hit them. I call myself 'patient.' You have to be patient, you have to know when to hit creases, and you have to know when to run plays in certain ways. I give credit to my offensive line for getting me through there. Once I get to the second level, it's all on me.
Re: Assessing the third quarter
We wanted to come out and win the third quarter and go into the fourth quarter with a chance to win the game. That was our plan to come out in the second half. It wasn't a coaching adjustment, it was just come out and execute. We just stick to that, and that's what we did in the third quarter – we came out and executed. With all that said and done, and with all the penalties, we still had a chance to win the game. We just had to come out and execute. They played hard, we played hard.
*Re: Impact of the loss
We just have to get prepared for the next game. Forget about this one, it's over and done with. We just have to prepare for the next one, that's all that matters. We win, we're in. That's our philosophy. I've forgotten about this one, it's done and over with.
Re: Dropped pass in end zone
I just didn't catch it – that's what it boils down to. Didn't catch the ball. We go up 27-20, then 27-23, they would've had to come down and score a touchdown. It happened. You move on, but that's one that I gotta have. I gotta have. I cannot allow myself to relax in a situation like that, regardless of how open I am. But, it is what it is. You move on. We'll just get ready for Oakland – prepare ourselves to go down there and play a very good team and try to pull out a victory.
Re: Opportunity against Oakland
Point blank. There are no ifs, ands or buts about it. We win, we're in. That's our philosophy. We're not thinking about anything else but winning a football game next week. Everything else we just have to put behind us and prepare this week and fly out there and play a very good Oakland team and pull out a victory.
Re: Frustration with refereeing
It's frustrating. But, we're not officiating. All we do is go out there and play football. We can't blame it on anybody but ourselves. We take it for what it is, move on, and get ready to go down to Oakland.
We didn't expect that. We played very consistent, but then we'd just have a play where we'd ruin everything. It was disappointing, because we feel we're the better team – but if you make mistakes like that you're not going to win the ballgame. This is the type of game where it can eat you up inside, but we really need to put this behind us and think about next week, because we can't afford to be hanging our heads over this loss.
Re: Reacting to having a touchdown taken off the board.
It's tough, but for me personally I feel you can't worry about that. I worry about the next play. If you focus on all the missed opportunities you have then you're not going to win the game and you're not going to take advantage of the opportunities that are going to come forward for the rest of the game. You wish you'd gotten those plays, but you have to put them behind you. In retrospect, yeah, we'll look at that stuff and really try to correct the mistakes that you had so that next week we don't repeat them.
Re: Effect of penalties on the game
It was tough. I'm going to have to really watch the tape and see what the penalties were all about. I know the offense had their own set, but on the defensive side we have to worry about ourselves. On the field it's hard to know what's going on until you watch the film.
Re: Bouncing back from Steelers' 94-yard drive to end first half
It was a nightmare. You want to try to prevent those. We went in to halftime knowing that we're good enough to beat this team. It wasn't like, we can't stop this team, they just went 94 yards on us.' We had the confidence that we could go out there and stop them, so we didn't let that deter us from the rest of our gameplan.
*Re: Getting comfortable with the defense
I felt good today. Just trying to stay patient, knowing that eventually they're going to throw one up. The wind was holding some balls up today.
Re: Communication among the group
That's what we've been talking about for so long. We're on the same page. It's tough to beat us when we're all on the same page. Minimize the mistakes and we're going to be alright with whoever is out there.
Re: Season coming down to final week *That's the way this game always is.
*How much do you feel like this was a missed opportunity today?
I don't really know how to answer that. How much do I feel like it was a missed opportunity? I definitely feel like it was a missed opportunity. On a scale of one to ten? I'm not sure. Pretty high.
*It seemed like you got Ben [Roethlisberger] out of what he wanted to do a lot. Seems like you took him out of his rhythm, accomplished a lot defensively. Did you not accomplish most of the things you wanted to do?
We didn't win. That's the main accomplishment, and they have a great defense over there. We feel strongly about how good our defense is, so when we go into games like this, it's important for us, in our minds, to outplay the other defense, which we didn't do. They made play after play, we made quite a number of plays but when it came down to it at the end, we didn't make enough.
How disconcerting is it to kind of have the game in there, and have it get away from you?
It doesn't feel good. It's part of being in this league, it's not the first time it's happened. We have a mature locker room; we'll bounce back from this like we've been doing all year. I think we've lost more games than we planned on, but one of the encouraging things and positive things about losing and losing tough games is that you need to see what you're made of before you get into the playoffs. Hopefully, that's where we'll be. We know what we're made of because we bounce back every time and we're going to do that again.
*What was the feeling when you have two touchdowns called back, one that you had? What kind of feeling can you have when you lose a game where you have two touchdowns called back?
Missed opportunities, I think, are the moral of this story. And it's a positive because we missed those opportunities and we're still in position to make a championship run, which I think we are, as far as I haven't watched everything. But I'm pretty sure that if we lost this game, we still had a good shot. So I look at it as a positive, and since we lost [Ed] Reed as one of the leaders in the secondary, I think we all look at it that way. And we're going to talk about it that way.
Can you take me through the play in the fourth quarter that eventually set up that winning touchdown; it was a quick out to [Santonio] Holmes, was it a bad angle?
Well, we were in a pressure, just a max blitz, so it was kind of understood. Holmes knew what he was running, I knew what he was running, we all knew what he was running. Ben pumped it and I made a break to go up and break up the play. And then Holmes started running downfield as if he was going vertical, so then I slowed down to cover it and then he got it. There's a lot of grass out there and it's a play that I honestly feel like I should've made, but it didn't. And that's kind of the moral of the story for today. We didn't make plays that we should have.
*How much do you feel that penalties overall played into the outcome?
I think they hurt us. One of the things, when you play a football team like Pittsburgh, you can't have those penalties. You can't let them get back into games; you can't take yourself out of position to score. Those things hurt us.
*Did you think that you would get more opportunities to go downfield to you in the second half since you had success earlier in the game?
We're out there, I'm not really thinking about that. I'm just kind of focusing on the plays that are called and how I can make that play work every single time. The offensive coordinator is thinking big picture, and we were moving the ball quite well at some times, we just couldn't get it in the end zone when we needed to. And that was the biggest problem that we had. Especially going down there when we had to have a score, and then to knock ourselves out of that position, that was frustrating.
For a team, what's the emotion when not once but twice you feel like you scored a touchdown, everybody's all excited, and then they get put back?
That's what you play through in the NFL; it's the ups and downs in the NFL. Every game, you're going to have situations where you're on a high for one second and then you can turn around for the next second and be on a low. You have to balance those out. You have to erase the lows in your mind and get to the next play and focus on the next play. And we're kind of at that point at now where we erase this game. We're focusing on bigger things that we've got next week to worry about. And obviously, we can go and learn from this. But we have to go and focus on what's in front of us right now.
*How many times did you draw cornerbacks in those matchups?
I don't know if I can count, but a few times.
Was that surprising?
Yes, it was surprising. We were expecting maybe a safety to come out there on me, but I feel good about either matchup.
How manytimes did you block or chip [LaMarr] Woodley?
Quite a bit, I can't count offhand. We put an emphasis on chipping he and [James] Harrison. When you play the Steelers, you know that those two guys are going to be a big part of your pass rush and you need to keep them away from the quarterback. They're going to cause problems for your offense if you don't keep them stalemated and that's why they're good players
**QB Joe Flacco
How surprised were you when a guy like Derrick Mason who makes almost every single catch, you see him drop a pass in the end zone?
I think we were all surprised, but you just have to move on and continue that drive. We were still in a position where we think we're going to put the ball in the end zone, ended up hurting ourselves there, and not getting anything.
*Your comment on the penalties in general, all of the opportunities. *
I don't know what to say about them, I haven't seen them. I'm in there playing, I don't get to see them. Obviously, when you have penalties called against you, it doesn't help you. I didn't see the penalties so I don't know what to say about them.
**You didn't handle LaMarr Woodley very well in the second half. Was there anything else that could have been done there?
I don't know. We rely on our guys up front, and I think they fought hard today, and there are going to be times where those guys on the defensive side of the ball are going to make plays. They put them in a position to make plays every now and then, and they did a good job of doing it.
Was the one drive where you had a couple of touchdowns called back and got pushed out, is that one of the craziest drives you've been a part of all year?
When you're in the middle of it, you don't really think too much about those things. You think you have a touchdown, you get it called back; like I said, when you're out there on the field and you're in the middle of the drive, you don't really think about it. You just go and work and see what you can do from there. But like I said, we definitely hurt ourselves, and we'll take a look and see what happened. But you have to credit Pittsburgh for playing well and we have to admit that we made some mistakes. And like I said, we'll see when we take a look at the film, what we think of everything on that drive.
At this point, do you feel like you gave this one away?
I don't feel like we gave it away. Not at all. I feel like we played really hard, and I feel like this is a game that we're all not going to feel good about, but I think we look at this game and we'll look at each other and realize how hard we played and we're really proud of it, and we're going to move on and get ready for Oakland.