Head Coach John Harbaugh
(opening statement) "Thanks for being here. The National Football League, huh. Tough. The Cleveland Browns are a very good football team. We said it last week, and it was proven here tonight. This is theAFC North. This is the way it goes. It seems like every time we play these guys, this is how it goes. I think that their coaching staff, those young players they have are doing a great job, and that's going to be a team to contend with for many years to come. So, hats off to them. Hats off to our players. It's tough to win in this league, and sometimes you're going to win and you're going to look great doing it in one phase or two phases or all three phases. Sometimes, you're going to win and it's not going to look great, but you have to find a way to win anyway and that's what our guys did. Some guys stepped up and made some plays when they had to be made. I thought our secondary made some plays when they had to be made, especially at the end there when they are knocking on the door. Guys [were] coming up with plays. ‘Webby' [Lardarius Webb] made a bunch of plays there. Ed [Reed] was in great position to make plays. Cary Williams, the difference in the game with the interception return for the touchdown. Here is a guy who was under a lot of heat from you all, but he wasn't under heat in our building because we know what kind of player he is, and he comes up big. You have faith in your guys and believe in your guys. I think he deserved that. I thought Joe [Flacco] played exceptionally well. Anquan Boldin had some huge catches before us, especially that conversion down there on our sideline, where Joe threw that nice pass over his shoulder. I thought our defense, overall, played pretty darn good. They had three 50-plus-yard field goals. That's kind of what they did. Phil Dawson, he is a great kicker, and the conditions weren't great for kicking field goals. So, that's off the top of my head. Welcome back to the officials. Good to have
(on if he noticed a difference in the officiating) "Sure, yeah. These guys are pros. These guys are really good. The communication was good. I didn't agree with every call. I would love to know what happened on the last one there that gave them the extra play. I haven't seen that yet. I heard about it. They were excellent. [Referee] Gene Steratore does a great job communicating. Guys on our sideline did a great job communicating, and I think now we're all kind of on the same page from a consistency standpoint."
(on why he anticipated a close game and how it played out) "You hope they're all easy, but they are not. This is the National Football League, this is the AFC North. When you watch the Cleveland Browns on tape, you knew what kind of game you were going to get. They've got two or three wins here, coming into this game, except for a few mistakes here and a few plays here and there. That's how it is. It's not college
football. Every team in this league is really, really good. If you understand that, I think you have a chance to find a way to win. We're a very good team too. When you understand that, you have a chance to find a way to win games against everybody. If you don't understand that, you have no chance in this league."
(on if he likes the position the team is in, being 3-1 after four games) "Sure. We are always going to be mad as heck about the one that got away. That's how we look at it. But, we've won three games, against very good competition, in 17 days. That's an accomplishment. I am proud of our guys for it. They will get a well-deserved rest this weekend, and then we'll be back at it on Monday."
(on if the regular referees changed the flow of the game) "Yes, absolutely. It was much smoother. They communicate well. They are quicker. They know how to operate the game at this level. They did a nice job."
(on if he thought playing four games in 17 days had an effect on the players) "I don't think so, that I can tell. How do you know? I thought out guys did a great job of taking care of themselves. The guy I would cite is Ed Reed. Ed was bumped up. It was nothing major, but he was bumped up. He was in the training room, he was doing treatment on his own at home, taking the equipment home and treating himself when he went home. He was basically treating himself 24/7. I just have some admiration for the man. That's
why it means so much to him, and to me, that's representative of our whole football team."
(on if he is glad the four games in 17 days are over with) "We'll be looking forward to a normal seven-day schedule, and we've got some 1 o'clock games coming up. So, we are looking forward to that."
(on if QB Joe Flacco was impressive throwing over the defense when they stacked the box) "Well, you
have to do that, and there was a lot of tight coverage out there. I thought the guys did a good job too of making catches for him. Joe throwing the ball into tight spots with tremendous accuracy. That defensive front is really good. That is a good, young front. They did a nice job, and as you said, they were loading up the box. We still got some rushing yards too, so we popped a few through there when we had to."
(on RB Bernard Pierce's performance tonight and his explosiveness) "You've seen it. He is very capable of that. That is something that he can do. He is a young, talented guy. He has a lot to learn, and he is working hard at learning it."
(on OLB Paul Kruger's penalty at the end of the game) "I'd have to see it first. From what I have been told, there wasn't much there. I'll have to see it first, but we talked about it, and that's always a concern. That's always something, as a football coach, I think you have to look at. Sometimes, the smallest thing is going to be misinterpreted, maybe in your eyes, and you just have to walk away from everything. You walk away from everything in that kind of situation. He knows that. So, absolutely."
John Harbaugh postgame quotes
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