John Harbaugh postgame quotes

Ravens coach John Harbaugh addressed the media following Baltimore's 33-14 win over the Giants.

Head Coach John Harbaugh

(opening statement) "First of all, congratulations to all of our players and our coaches, organization and to our fans for an AFC North Championship. I think all of us in this room who cover this division know how difficult that is and what a challenge that is. It's been especially difficult coming for us the last few weeks, so we're darn proud of that. Injury-wise, we don't have any injuries that are of note. Everything we had was minor. If that changes tomorrow, we'll let you know, but right now everything looks like it's minor."

(on attacking the middle of the field more) "This year, we probably haven't seen as much of that with Ray [Rice]. That's a route that we run a lot, that's one of our base routes. We messed around with where Ray was at in the formation and got him in a situation where he was going to catch that inside route coming across there. I just thought it was a great throw and a great catch. It's nothing new to what we're doing, but obviously, we got the ball to the middle of the field more today, which was a good thing for us."

(on if the recent three-game losing streak was his toughest challenge as a head coach) "You know what the answer is going to be to that; I don't keep track of that. I'm not rating challenges, but I am as proud of this team right now as ever. We've said this before, I love this team. I love every single guy on this team. I love the way they compete, I love the way they work, the way they fight. You hear Ray [Lewis] talk, you can understand why. This is just a really special group of men. How far we take each other, we'll find out. That remains to be seen. They are sure a great group of guys to be around every day. For them to earn a championship like this means a lot."

(on what it says about the NFL to be able to execute this week after not executing last week) "That's something to look at. We say that the NFL is a week-to-week business. It really is. One week to the next does not guarantee one thing. This is a team [Giants] that scored over 50 points two games ago. This is a really good football team. I thought our guys played exceptionally well. Getting a little bit of momentum helps, not giving up big plays is huge, turnovers are important and those things swing a game dramatically. We had turnovers and big plays against us last week, and that turned the game. If you don't have those, it's a whole different football game. It's a fine line in the National Football League, and I think that's what makes it so great."

(on if he has decided how he will approach next week's game at Cincinnati) "The thing we're going to do for sure is we're going to try and win the game. That's the No. 1 thing we're going to do. That's what we do, and we're going to try to win the game. We're also going to try and make sure we are as healthy as we can be going into the playoffs. So, I think we'll merge those two considerations."

(on what today's performance says about QB Joe Flacco) "First of all, he's a very good quarterback. I think it says that he's a very good quarterback, No. 1. It also says that he has a lot of determination, a lot of pride, and he was able to handle that. That's probably the biggest thing. You have to have thick skin, skin like an armadillo. You've got to have it, no more so than at the quarterback position. If you look all around the league, there are a lot of great quarterbacks under fire because they're going against pretty good defenses and it's a tough position to play. [I am] proud of Joe, always have been. I think we just keep building on this performance. The guy is a heck of a player, and he played really well today."

(on how pleased he was with the offense's performance) "Very pleased." (laughter)

(on it being a complete all-around performance on offense) "It was definitely a team victory. I thought we did a great job of containing No. 22, [Giants RB] David Wilson on the kick returns. Special teams-wise, we were close on a couple of returns there. Defensively, we did a great job on third down, and that was a big thing. We stopped the run. This is a team that wants to run the ball and gets big plays. With the exception of one pass over the middle, that they got, I believe, early in the third quarter, really that was it. The running game, we shut down, so we stopped the run, and we stopped the big plays. Offensively, like Ray [Rice] said, we got first downs. We got started. If we get started, we feel like we can build on that. It's hard to get going if you can't get started. Our guys did a great job of getting started because Joe made throws. Really, you hit it on the head, it really comes down to the lines more than anything. Both sides, our offensive and defensive lines played really well."

(on if he challenged the offensive line to run block better this week) "I wish it was that simple to go ahead and say, ‘We have to run block better.' And voila, you run block better. But, it was a very good game plan. Our coaches have been working really hard to set up the runs in such a way that we are running into somewhat favorable looks. But, this team was determined to stop the run. They played three defensive backs early in the game on first and second down. They had what we call a 4-4 front. It was four defensive linemen, four linebackers and three defensive backs. We were still able to run the ball somewhat effectively. Obviously, Joe took advantage of that in the passing game, too. We blocked a lot better, and that's the key to success."

(on how they were able to generate pressure on Giants QB Eli Manning) "I think just good individual pass rushes. We had a few really good pressure schemes that happened to hit the protection the right way. So, that was a plus for [defensive coordinator] Dean [Pees] and our coaches. They did a nice job of scheming it up. Beyond that, our guys had some good individual rushes."

(on how satisfying it is to see young guys playing major roles) "As a coach, that's the No.1 thing. When you see guys that you kind of develop, and you work with come in and play well, that is the most satisfying thing ever. That's what a coach or a teacher is all about. Also, it helps us. It puts us in a position where it builds our depth because, I would like to think, with all the things you go through during the course of the season, if you handle them the right way, if you approach them with a great attitude, and you take them for what they're worth and try to build on them, good or bad, positive or negative, that it determines what you come out the other end as. Hopefully, what you saw today is what we're going to come out the other end as, and I'm really proud of that."

(on if the team will look to see if LB Ray Lewis can play this week at Cincinnati) "We will not look at him again for this week. We'll look at him at the playoffs. It's an injury that is a 12- to 16-week injury. So, if you do the math going back, we thought there was a chance. He is progressing really well. I'm not saying he couldn't have played the last couple of weeks, but it would've been risky to reinjure it. The fact that there was some patience on Ray's part and our part, it turned out well."

(on how hard it is to get patience out of Lewis at this stage of his career) "It's hard. He wants to play. Nobody wants to play more than Ray, but Ray sees it for what it is, and he sees the big picture."

(on if there is any chance he will not play two weeks from now in the playoffs) "There's always a chance. We can't say right now for sure."


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