Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh
Game action as the Steelers traveled to M&T Bank Stadium to take on the Ravens in Week 16.
(opening statement) "Alright, that was a great win. I just want to express how much respect we have for the Steelers, for their team, their organization, for how they compete and what they're all about. That makes us even more proud of this victory. To come into this game in December – I think they've won a lot of games in December recently, Kevin [Byrne, senior vice president of public and community relations] just told me – and to stop an offense that had been scoring, I don't know, 30, 35 points a game, something like that, over the last six or seven games, I think that's a real credit to our defense. But, in the end, it was complementary football. We get a stop on fourth-and-1. We take it down. We score. We go up seven. We get the lead – the lead is important. I think we had maybe 10 points on turnovers. We didn't give up any points on turnovers. That's winning football. That's the way we want to play, and to me, that's a blueprint for us going forward. Now we have to try to replicate that blueprint. We have to try to do that again on Sunday against Cincinnati."
(on QB Ryan Mallett commanding the offense with such little time with the team) "That is such a great point. For him to do that, and for [offensive coordinator] Marc [Trestman] and [quarterbacks coach] Marty [Mornhinweg] to put together a game plan – and [senior offensive assistant] Craig Ver Steeg and [offensive quality control] Andy Bischoff – all the guys, all the coaches that were involved in that, and put together a game plan that we could operate – and we could get a snap off, that we could run a cadence and go on more than just one – and do all those things, is really remarkable. To operate the way he did, change plays at the line the way he did, I think it says a lot about him, but it says a lot about our coaches as well. Just a great effort. This kid was in there 24/7. This kid was in the staff meetings at night. He's walking in the building with me, and Matt Schaub, and [Jimmy] Clausen. They were all walking in together. That's what makes you so proud. I really feel like we practice – and Jimmy [Smith] can attest to this, and Jimmy has been one of the guys who has done this – we practice at a level, really for the last eight weeks, that has been a level that any coach would be proud of. To see it pay off like this in winning football is pretty rewarding."
(on the support from the fans today) "The fans were incredible. We had the Raven [fan] guy down there, doing his thing. It's funny, my wife asked me if I saw the Raven guy – the guy that takes off his shirt – I had never seen him before, I've never noticed him before." (CB Jimmy Smith: "It only happened this year.") "This is the first year he has done it? Well, we're bringing him back. Take care of that guy's tickets. The crowd was incredible. The crowd was great from the beginning from the 'O' [in the national anthem]. I'm proud of our fans, because we know it has been tough. It has been tough on us, it has been tough on everybody. It has been tough on our fans. But, our fans have hung in there, just like our team has hung in there. For our fans to hang in there the way our team has hung in there, what a statement about Baltimore. What a statement about the kind of people we have here in this community. It's powerful."
(on why they chose to start QB Ryan Mallett) "That's a great, great question. Again, I think more than anything … First of all, we thought he could win the game for us. I thought Jimmy [Clausen] could win the game for us, and we thought that Matt [Schaub] could win the game for us. All three of those guys, we felt like they could do what we needed to do in our game plan to win the game. But, let's take a look at Ryan. Jimmy did a good job. Jimmy showed for two games that he can play. He had two of the best games of his career. For Ryan to have two opportunities here [in Week 16 and 17], we thought we could get him ready, which we decided that we thought we could, to see what he could do and take a look. We have two opportunities to do it. Why not do it, as long as we felt like he could win the game?"
(on if he was concerned about QB Jimmy Clausen's response to not starting this week) "I was. That's a great point. I brought him in and had a conversation with him. It took me about five seconds to be dispelled of that. He was great. Yes, he wants to start, and he said, 'Yes, I want to start, but I understand what you're doing. I see the situation that the team is in. Let's do it, and I'll support it.' He was really good, and Matt [Schaub] was the same way. Matt wanted to play, too, and he was able to play, and he was the exact same way."
(on what this win means to the team) "It's a great win. It really is. It's a lot better than the alternative, for sure. It's Pittsburgh. It's not to be diminished. I think that shows respect to them, to say that. To sweep Pittsburgh is a very valuable thing. It's a very meaningful thing. And this team accomplished that. When you have failure in life, sometimes woven into the failure are great successes and great wins. Woven into our season are pretty amazing successes and wins that our players have had [with] the way they have stuck together, the way they've practiced, the way they've improved, even with the injuries. We improved as a football team throughout the course of the season. It's not showing up in the record, but it showed up in that performance today. Jimmy Smith is a great example of that. Here's a guy that has been battling [a] foot [issue] and a myriad of things that go with that, all season long. To go out there and practice the way he practices, it shows up in the performance and the two-interception – one for a touchdown [that was nullified due to a penalty] – game that he had today."
(on the pressure on Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger) "It was mostly four-man pressure. It was mostly just guys bringing it, and there were a couple of times where we had more time than we thought. And we just decided it wasn't in our best interest to really come after them. He's playing so well in terms of recognizing defenses and getting the ball in those speedsters' hands. Let's give credit to our pressure, but also to our coverage. Our coverage held on for that click or two that gave those guys a chance to get there. You talk about eyes on your luggage, discipline, doing your job, covering your guy all over the field, even through the scrambles – it was really just a heck of a performance."
(on his reaction to the offsides call that negated CB Jimmy Smith's pick-six and the team's ability to respond) "I guess I'll comment on the second part more than the first part. I respect the question. There are times in games when you have to make a decision about what you call and what you don't call. I didn't see it, so I don't know how far he was off sides. Sometimes the center moves the ball up, too. They do that. But, that all aside, [the official] called it. Our thought was to keep them out right there, and they ran a play around the edge. You know what? There could have been a couple calls there, too, I'm pretty sure, as I saw. But, they chose not to call those. That's fine. That's how the game goes. There's nothing you can do about it. You have to battle back. In this game, we were able to overcome that. I think that's what you have to do in a game when things don't go your way. You have to find a way to overcome it, and our guys did that."
(on whether he saw a future core of players today) "I do. I'm sure that's something we'll talk about after the season is over. I was very optimistic about this team, as far as record goes. I'm very proud of this team, as far as what I've seen them accomplish this year, record aside. I'm very excited about our core going forward. We have a lot of good football players that have a lot of experience. Young players that have gotten a lot of experience this year. Now, we go into the offseason and build the strongest team that we can for next year. But, that's a conversation for later."
(on OLB Courtney Upshaw rebounding after the offsides call in the fourth quarter) "You just said it, probably. I think it speaks to his character. For him to come back and not get immersed in that moment, and find a way to make up for it and make a play, that's what you're proud of."
(on RB Javorius Allen's play this week after fumbling last week) "What were the numbers?" (Reporter: "I think he had 87, 89 [yards].") (Kevin Byrne: "And then like 40 on receiving.") "For him, that's probably another great story about bouncing back. We've talked about that. We're not trying to punish him. [You] make a choice sometimes about what's best in the long interest of playing winning football. He took it to heart. He's a humble, hard-working, very confident guy. He came back, and he answered the bell. The offensive line did a great job. I thought Ryan [Mallett] did a very good job of getting the runs away from some of their blitzes like he did. 'Buck' deserves a lot of credit. So does Terrance [West], our Baltimore guy. He ran the ball really well, too."
(on who will be starting at quarterback next week) "Ryan Mallett. I thought, 'Can I get away with one more week not making [a starting quarterback announcement]?' Probably not." (laughter)
Ravens CB Jimmy Smith
(on what was going through his head after the INT got called back) "I was so tired after that. I [think] we got gypped a little bit but it is what is."
(on if OLB Courtney Upshaw, called for a penalty on that play, now owes dinner) "We're going to discuss this when I get back in [the locker room]. Things like that happen all the time."
(on how much sweeping the Steelers means to the Ravens now) "It means a whole lot. Since we can't go to the playoffs, the only next thing that's going to be great is us beating Cincinnati, because they swept us four times. That's the next goal."
(on if he and the defense feel a bit of redemption based on stopping a hot offense in Pittsburgh) "Redemption? No. I mean, this is not even to sound brash, but we believed the whole time that we were going to beat them. It's Pittsburgh. So records, scoring, it doesn't matter how good they were playing coming in. Nothing matters when you play Pittsburgh. Obviously on paper it didn't look like we were going to win today. I watched analysts all morning talk bad about us. [NFL Network analyst] Michael Irvin, especially, talking that we weren't going to come within 15 points of them. There you go, Michael Irvin."
(on if this was the team's best all-around pass defensive performance) "The defense went out as a whole today and played very well, and hats off to them for that."
(on getting two INTs today after getting just four the whole season before that, what that means) "To get a turnover, period, is a great thing. To get a turnover in a rivalry game when things are not going the way we want to is even better. Those turnovers turned into points for us today. It was a great thing for us. Got a good win."
(on how gratifying it was for him to get to get a turnover) "I should have had three. I mean, I was yelling at my friends because if I just catch the ones they throw to me, I might have seven this season. I got the other one, and we scored some points off of it, and that's what really matters."
(on after his INT-TD was called back, how tough it was to re-focus for everyone) "I think, at that point, we had a lot of minutes left, so after it was flagged, we have to come back on the field, we've got to stop. You don't want to let this game go to waste. We've been playing very well, so we knew that we had to go back out and potentially stop them two more times."
(on how defensive coordinator Dean Pees has caught a lot of heat this year and how he had the defense ready to play) "I think he just put us in positions to make plays. As far as all that other stuff, that's none of my business. Today, this week, we had a great game plan going in. We had to take [Antonio Brown] out of the game. I think we did that."
Ravens QB Ryan Mallett
(on what this start and win meant to him) "To get a win in this game, it's awesome. To get a win, period, right now, how everything's been going, is even better. Now, it's building on that."
(on having this opportunity) "I want to thank the Ravens organization for bringing me in and giving me a shot and giving me a workout, and coach Harbaugh. Just being here, I don't even know what to say right now. It's an emotional time, but it's fun."
(on how hard it was about learning so much in a short time) "It actually a little bit easier because I know a few of the guys. Everybody welcomed me with open arms, so it was an easy transition, and that's credit to my teammates. [Quarterbacks] Jimmy [Clausen] and Matt [Schaub] being unselfish and helping me to understand, because it was a totally new system to me. So it was really cool to see that."
(on how much the opening drive gave him a boost) "I feel like any time you start a game, you want to go down and score, but I think that got us going on the right foot. There were good plays, bad plays. We overcame a lot of things. We put ourselves in some holes and still overcame them. That's just a testament to the dedication of our team."
(on if he got a feeling for the team's rivalry with the Steelers) "I know what it's about now. I like it. What Steve Smith [Sr.] said, 'big boy football,' right?"
(on what the last 12 days have been like for him, joining the Ravens and getting a start) "That's the biggest part, is being back in the building. Having a chance is something I don't take lightly. I think the coaches know that I've done everything I can to try to, you know, in case I needed to back up, if somebody's hurt, whatever. And then getting the start, it was awesome. To get a win was even better, so now it's on to Cincinnati, and we've got to get ready for them."
(on when he found out that he'd be starting) "Sometime this week."
(on if he's learned about what he can handle in the recent weeks) "I definitely did. I learned a lot about myself. It's through God's grace that I'm here and able in this position with this organization. I felt like I was placed here by something greater [than] football."
Ravens CB/RS Lardarius Webb
(on the win) "[It is] awesome. It means a lot to this team, to this defense, the way we ended the game on defense, just to let them know, the defense, we are still here. We've still got that Ravens dominant defense; we just have to put our little pieces together, but I like the way we finished the game. The entire defense, they wanted it. You could just tell the way they practiced all week, and we came out and showed it on the field."
(on if he knew OLB Terrell Suggs would be at the game) "No, but it was good having him."
(on when the defense knew they had the game) "I thought we had them all week where we wanted them. With our record, 4-, they came in and thought that it was going to [be] bombs over Baghdad against us; that's when we had them. So, with them thinking that all week, we were thinking we were going to beat them, and we knew it. Guys came out and showed it."
(on if this is one of his most satisfying wins) "Yes, it is, just this year. It was a big game, because [of] our record and to be able to sweep the Steelers, just makes you feel a little bit better. We still want to go to the playoffs. We've still got big goals for this team, for this organization, and for right now, for this moment it feels awesome to sweep the Steelers."
(on damaging the Steelers' playoff chances) "If we can't get in there, then you can't get in either. Exactly, that's how we want it."
(on winning the final home game) "It was kind of not a perfect game, but it was a nice ending. With this long, long, long season, the way the ball bounced all year, we were close with a lot of teams. [We were] supposed to win a lot of games, sometimes supposed to lose some, but this one means a lot to us. I think we're going to – not think – but we're going to rally from this one and continue this from now into the next season."
Ravens S Kendrick Lewis
(on limiting big plays) "First of all, it's Pittsburgh. We know what type of rivalry [this is]. We know what this rivalry means to the NFL and to this organization, and we were challenged. We knew they had a receiving corps; we knew their offense was hot and putting up points, and we were challenged. And we accepted the challenge as a defense, as a team, and we came out and executed and played."
(on the key to limiting big plays) "Just keeping the big plays off us, knowing where No. 84 [Antonio Brown was], knowing where their big-play guys are, and having a close eye on them, containing those guys, and everything else will take care of itself."
(on the pass rush) "Absolutely, it worked hand-in-hand. If they're rushing, and we're covering, that means the quarterback has to get the ball out of his hand, and we did a great job with that today. Our pass rush was on time and was working hand-in-hand with our coverage. We were tight coverage, and our pass rush was getting there. We were able to make stops and big plays."
(on the win) "We knew that this was our last home game of the season. Our fans won't see us until next season, but what a way to go out against Pittsburgh, big win to maybe stop them from getting into the playoffs. That was the mindset. That was the way guys were thinking in this locker room and in this organization, and we were able to accomplish our goal."
Ravens CB Shareece Wright
(on sweeping the Steelers) "It's huge for the Ravens organization. I've been watching football my whole life, and Jimmy [Smith] has been here the whole time, so he's been telling me about this game. He's been telling me since I got here, 'That Steelers game is going to be where it's at,' I got a taste of it. It's exactly what I thought it was going to be."
(on forcing turnovers) "It's big. When we don't turn the ball over and get turnovers, we have a great chance of winning the game. It was a big play by him [Jimmy Smith]."
(on covering WR Antonio Brown) "I just knew they were going to try me eventually with him [Antonio Brown] on the back side, seeing that we were in one-on-one coverage. I just knew that … [I thought,] 'Just don't let him catch the ball, whatever happens.' That's what happened."
(on his increased role) "I'm just growing as a football player. I'm getting a lot of experiences, getting used to this defense, the scheme. I'm getting used to the way we play defense. I've just been working hard every day, putting in the time every day. I'm not leaving the facility until seven at night, just trying to get better and working."
Ravens OLB Courtney Upshaw
(on the offsides penalty) "I've just got to be aware of my alignment. A lot of times, the guys, they'll warn you and tell you that, 'You were close on that last one, so back up,' or [I will] check to the sideline, and they'll back you up. But that's on me. I was in coverage, and my guy was the inside guy. We were so tight to the end zone, I was just trying to make sure that my guy wasn't the guy that caught a touchdown pass. It was a bad thing that once the play was over – [and] Jimmy [Smith] going to the house – to see there was a flag, and it was on me."
(on bouncing back from the penalty with a sack) "That's just how you do it. I was on the bench, and I was like 'I've got to make up for that.' So, I had the opportunity to go in and apply some kind of pressure. I ended up getting a sack - me and 'Doom' [Elvis Dumervil] - and then on that last one, get a hit on Ben [Roethlisberger]. So, at the end of the day, we come out here, and we try to fight for the win together. I'm going to have to talk with Jimmy [Smith] and see what he likes."
(on sweeping the Steelers) "It's always big. It's an AFC game. You always want to beat your rival. Since I've been here, it's always been a big game, close game, except for the six-touchdown game Ben [Roethlisberger] had. But other than that, it's the Steelers-Ravens, so you always want to come out on top."
(on damaging the Steelers' playoff chances) "Of course. Again, it's the Steelers. You always want to beat them. And for us to have the type of year we did, and then to sweep those guys, it's big."
Ravens G Marshal Yanda
(on beating the Steelers) "It was a hard-fought game, and everybody was fighting their tale off. It was a fun game. We made enough plays to win the game. It was a fun game to play after the season that we've had."
(on the Ravens' running game) "It was good, and it seemed like we stuck with it. We didn't always hit home, but we always stuck with it. I feel like we did a good job. I haven't seen the tape yet, but it was a fun day. It was a classic Steelers/Ravens game – smash mouth, run the football, good defenses. It was fun."
(on quarterback Ryan Mallett) "Ryan did a good job. It was his first start for us. He did a good job of making some throws. He did a good job stepping in there."
(on building a rhythm to the running game) "I feel like [Terrance West and Javorius Allen] are doing a good job. We just have to keep working at it. I mean, obviously, there's always going to be plays you want back. I feel like if we just keep getting them called, we'll keep rolling."
(on potentially knocking the Steelers out of the playoffs) "Obviously, that's pretty awesome, but it was about us trying to play good football. The fun thing was that it was against the Steelers. We always want to beat them, obviously. They're in our division. That doesn't change. We're having a tough year, but it's great to beat the Steelers."
(on running out as a Pro Bowler pregame) "It was awesome. It's definitely an honor. It's something that I don't take for granted. I've worked really hard at this. It's cool to be recognized for working really hard. I just have to keep grinding."
Ravens DT Brandon Williams
(on limiting the Steeler run game) "It's not just about Timmy [Jernigan] and me, it's the whole defensive line. The whole front. We have to disrupt as much as possible. We have to push the offensive line back and create a new line of scrimmage and get after them. That's the biggest thing. Not turning it into backyard football, where you can get out of the pocket and make plays."
(on possibly knocking the Steelers out of the playoffs) "It's the Steelers. We just wanted to beat them. It's even sweeter that we may have ruined their playoff chances. That's the biggest icing on the cake, and we also just happened to sweep them."
(on nobody giving them a chance to win) "Coach [Harbaugh] said it earlier 'It's all about us.' We know what we know about us. We believe in each other. Whatever anybody else says, that's on them. We know what we can do."
(on how much the team staying together factored in the win today) "Definitely, all three phases playing their hearts out and just playing Ravens football. Our defense got interceptions and turnovers. On offense, our run game was killing. You have [Ryan] Mallett torching everybody. That's what Ravens football is about, and that's how we want to play. We believe in ourselves every week. Win, lose, or draw, we're going to stand behind each other."
(on whether this win is a building block for next year) "Definitely a building block. We're seeing what some new guys have. Obviously, you saw Ryan Mallett today. He was killing it. We just love what our team is doing. Definitely looking forward to the future."
(on shutting down the Steelers in the second half) "It was about getting back to fundamentals, playing blocks, getting leverage. [DeAngelo Williams] was bouncing around in the backfield a little bit. Sometimes you'll peek over, and then once you peek, he's gone. We kind of just slowed the game down and started playing our type of football."
(on starting the game with five defensive backs) "I guess you could say we were trying to make them run. We wanted to make them run the ball, and we were OK with trying to stop them with six people in the box. We believe what they can do in the back end, and they believe what we can do up front. I know in the first few plays, they kind of gashed us a little bit, but then we settled down and started playing Ravens football."
(on the response from Ravens fans) "It meant a lot. We still have fans. Baltimore loves us. We love the fans, and we love the city. We're just very appreciative about what kind of fans we have. The real fans aren't the ones who talk about you when you lose. The ones that come up to you and say, 'Don't worry about it. We'll get them next time,' are the ones you really appreciate. They're the best fans, and we love them to death."
Ravens WR Kamar Aiken
(on beating the Steelers) "It meant a lot just because it's an opportunity to sweep them. It's a rival game. Our fans have been showing up all year. Our record wasn't a way of showing appreciation toward them, but they packed the house today, and they deserved that win more than anybody."
(on playing for pride today) "We definitely play with a lot of pride. We just want to show people that this team has a lot of fight, and that we're going to play until the end."
(on Ryan Mallett) "It was big just for him coming in on a week's notice and getting the heads-up that he's going to be out here starting. I think he did a great job with that."
(on having four quarterbacks in six weeks) "It felt like that today a little bit. At least this week it did. It worked out in our favor today, and we're just going to keep it rolling."
(on the Bengals next week) "End the season on a good note, and that's with a win."
(on knocking the Steelers out of the playoffs) "It definitely feels special today. Keeping them out of the playoffs, and just being able to sweep them this year. They didn't get a win this year. It's always good when you beat Pittsburgh, especially when you sweep them."
(on being the number one receiver on the team) "Steve's [Smith] been in my ear all year just telling me how to deal with different stuff and how to take care of my body and do little stuff like that. I'm just still being myself. Just making sure guys are up to date with stuff, and making sure everything is getting done."
(on his injured hand) "I think it will be fine. They're not going to be able to keep me out unless I'm just unable physicaly to go out there. You never know when you're going to get another play. I'm going to take advantage of every last one I get."
(on Ryan Mallett's big game) "He's been relaxed all week. He kind of came in here and acted like he's been here since OTAs. He was very comfortable the whole day and the whole week, and he was the same way in the huddle today."
(on what impresses him about [Ryan] Mallett) "He definitely has the arm strength and all the aspects to be a great elite quarterback. But his poise today was unbelievable. For him to be in a game like this and not know the rivalry like that, he definitely held himself to a high note."
(on Ryan Mallett's presence in the huddle) "He definitely had total command of the offense today. He was our leader there in the huddle. He talked throughout the whole game and made sure guys were upbeat. He led the way today."
(on whether he was surprised by [Ryan] Mallett's grasp of the offense) "Not really because he came from New England, and they have a tough scheme that they run over there too as far as a lot that they put on their quarterbacks. I didn't think it was going ot be hard for him to come in to learn and pick up on everything. He's a smart guy, and he picks up on things really fast."
Ravens RB Javorius Allen
(on the Ravens having success running on the Steelers this season) "It's execution. We've got a great group of guys up front that understand that defense. We play them twice a year, so the first time we could run on them and we just kept the same game plan. [Offensive coordinator Marc] Trestman and the offensive staff do a great job of putting the game plan in and preparing week-in and week-out."
(on his touchdown run) "It was a great cut. [Running backs] Coach Thomas [Hammock] has been working on me getting that cut down all week, all year pretty much. And to go out there and actually show results that it's working, it's great. And I know he's proud and I'm glad I can go out there and help my team win."
(on putting the game out of reach on the last big offensive drive) "Most definitely. I knew we had to get a couple of first downs and keep moving the ball. The coaches, they just trusted me, and after last week I just want to thank them for believing in me and just staying with me and not giving up on me."
Ravens WR Chris Matthews
(on getting the party started with the game's first score) "It was great. Ryan [Mallett] threw an amazing ball, we saw the defense that we liked and we wanted to capitalize on that. I was glad that they threw me in there for that game that I played."
(on adjusting to different quarterbacks all season) "Well, I just got here, so I haven't even worked out with Joe [Flacco]. As a receiver, I know it's kind of hard to adjust to different quarterbacks and things like that, but I feel like with great preparation – which is what we do with the Ravens – anybody can basically step in at quarterback and we're going to keep on going. I just tip my hat off to Kamar [Aiken] and all the rest of those guys. Chris Givens and all of them, they do a tremendous job out there in practice and I just kind of wanted to follow along and be a part of that culture."
(on how much he knew about the Ravens/Steelers rivalry coming into the game) "I knew it was big growing up and watching it as a kid. You've always heard about Steelers/Ravens, so I've always knew about it. But for me, I don't ever take anything for more than what it is or less than what it is. I kind of keep even-keel and just make sure I do my job. In practice, I treat it like a game for me. I go out there and I'm jumping around, tackling people … That's the preparation for myself, to make sure that I'm ready."
(on his touchdown) "We were just looking for a certain defense. They came out in that two-shell and we wanted to exploit it. I was the single man down the middle, and I'm 6'5, so you can't really miss that. Ryan [Mallett] threw an amazing ball and I went up there and caught it."