RB Ray Rice
(on if things look better than they did a few hours before) "I still would have been smiling because we've got the holidays coming up. This just makes it even sweeter."
(on how much confidence and morale has been affected lately) "It's about execution. It's a simple word, but it's a very tough task to do. To come in week in and week out and execute at a high level, that's tough. But that's what we get paid to do. The pressure was on us, and not just because my quarterback's here [in the room] you know, I've always said that he's handled the pressure better than anybody I've ever seen. Actually joked with him on the sideline and said, ‘Joe, I can't throw a ball. I can run, but I could not play quarterback in this league, too much goes on, too much thought, thinking that goes on.' He's done a great job handling it—and I said we go as Joe goes. Today, we just, everybody just pitched in. Everybody did their job."
(on the difference today) "The difference was, for us, I just think we had a little bit more sense of urgency because we knew what was at stake. This was a championship game for us. Next week, we understand what that game is, but this was the championship for us. This was, you know what, solidify the home playoff game, back-to-back division champs. That's huge around here. We'll humble ourselves, we'll enjoy this win, and we'll get back to work on Cincinnati because obviously they're our next opponent, but playoff football essentially started today."
(on how important scoring on the first drive was today) "We always talk about just getting the first first down. Just getting the first first down really felt good. But obviously, when you're driving, you're driving, you get the ball down the field and you score. That builds momentum, because obviously, we're a team that feeds off each other. Your defense gets a three-and-out, it's time to put points up. When you score that fast, it puts the other team in a position where they've got to change their whole game plan. They can't run their offense the way they want to when you score fast."
(on some of the new offensive wrinkles, like Flacco pitching the ball to him) "Joe's athletic, I'm just glad he got it out to me. It's a really good play. It was something we worked on, but obviously, you know, that's another play where I just talked about the execution. We've had it, and it's just great that, with jim caldwell [as offensive coordinator], we've been running things that we've been running all year. Plays haven't changed so we get back to the fundamentals, and we just got to work."
(on the play of the offensive line) "Those guys, they work very hard. They are the hardest working group in the building. They meet, they work, they just work and work. One thing I like about our line is that we're athletic, and we've got guys that can do multiple things. You don't see tackles moving as fast as our tackles. Then we've got our inside guys who are big and physical guys and with our leadership of Matt Birk in there, so [those] guys really got the job done. We didn't let up a sack today; that's something we take pride in, and obviously we want to protect Joe, but the run game is something coach Harbaugh said last week [that] we want to get going and today we definitely found our stride in the run game."
(on Bernard Pierce and his performance) "I joked with him. I said we've got one thing in common, we do get caught from behind. We've got two different running styles, but it was great to see [him] go over 100. He's definitely been a great complement to me. He's a student of the game, and he's only going to get better."
QB Joe Flacco
(on confidence from scoring early and often) "I think we were able to hit some big plays early on, get some other consistent plays in there. I think those plays kind of carried us and gave us a little jolt and allowed to run our offense pretty effectively today and build our confidence."
(on how this game feels for him) "Yeah, what are you going to do? When you lose three straight people look at the quarterback, and that's part of our job. We lost a game to the Steelers where we didn't play too bad; we lost a game to the Redskins where we didn't play too bad, and we lost a game to the Broncos where we probably played pretty bad. But the bottom line is we lost three, so people aren't going to look at that in a favorable light. Like I said last week, we're going to see what kind of team we are. We believe we're this kind of team, and we're really going to see if we are. I think that we showed ourselves and we showed people today that we are that kind of team. We're here to stay, and we just have to do all we can to get better, to play like this, and even get better than this throughout the remaining weeks."
(on if this can be a springboard to bigger things) "I don't know. I'm not a big believer in any of that. I think each week is an individual game and a different opponent, and you have to go out there and you have to go through the week and prepare and go out there on Sunday and play well, just like you did the previous week. I'm not necessarily a big believer in any one game propelling you throughout the other ones."
(on confidence improving with good early drives) "I don't know what to feel. You just feel like you go out there and executing the plays and, all of a sudden, you're down at the goal line and you score points. It felt good. I don't know how exactly how to answer all those things, but it definitely felt good and I think guys were able to look at that and probably respond to it."
(on veterans responding after the losses) "I don't even know if it's the veterans. I just think it's just the way this locker room is. It may be because we have those veterans, and everybody else, kind of just, they're not used to anything else. That's kind of the way they are, but we're a tough team—at least we believe we are – and even though we lost three, we still kept saying we had everything ahead of us. Maybe not exactly what we wanted, but we could still win the division. We could still be a playoff team, and coming out here and playing as hard as we did and as well as we did today I think just says a lot about what kind of team we are and what kind of team we are going to be headed forward."
(on if he had a conversation with Anquan Boldin about getting more catches) "No. No, there wasn't any conversation like that. We had to execute the game plan as the plays are called. Usually Anquan ends up being a big part of it because he's one of our main receivers, so when he's not, it just didn't work out that way, and obviously you work on ways to get him involved because he's a spark for our offense, but Anquan goes about his business and doesn't do any of those kind of things, positive or negative, so it never happened."
(on new offensive wrinkles) "We've had those things up over the weeks, and they just haven't come up, necessarily. You have the ability to run the option, but a quarterback sneak has come up instead, or something like that. It just so happened that they gave us the look to run that option, that's what I went with. It came down to the line, and I gave the ball to Ray [Rice] as quickly as I could and tried to get the first down."
(on if the Giants defense dictated those types of plays) "Yeah, we have those calls, it just kind of depends on what they give us."
(on the offensive line) "They played great today. NFL games are won and lost at the offensive and defensive line positions. When you can have both sides of the ball play as dominant as they did today up front, then you usually give yourself a very good chance of winning."
(on satisfaction for the division title) "No doubt about it. Guys are excited. I'm excited. We're excited about this. This is a tough division, and I know our records in this division may not represent that well this year, but this is a tough division. Guys can play football, and to be able to come up and win it for our second straight year is definitely an accomplishment."
(on if he was confident T. Smith was going to play) "I never even really thought he wasn't going to play. But that might just be me being naïve, I don't know. I just thought he was going to play. So, yeah, it never really crossed my mind that he wasn't"
(on how big it was for the two of them to connect well today) "Yeah, it's all right. He's a good receiver, and he's going to get his plays, and same thing with Anquan. He's very good about it if he doesn't. But we're trying to do everything we can to get those guys the ball on a regular basis. He did a great job making some plays down the field and moving those chains for us."
(on if there's anything about today's game plan that he really liked) "It turned out well. I don't what to say besides that. We went out there and executed well, and I think we operated pretty quickly, so if I had to pick one thing, it would probably be that."
(on if he tends to play well with his back against the wall) "I don't know. I feel like I always go out there and give my best and play pretty well. The quarterback position is a position that is going to be looked at and ripped apart the most and blown up the most, and I think a lot is made, and sometimes it really isn't that much, and it's not my job to really listen to it, so I don't. You hear it because we're around football all day. So it's kind of tough not to. We're around [the media] all day, but I believe in myself. I believe in this team. To not go out and just continue to go out about your business just like you would any other week is tough for me to do, so I don't what it is. I believe we're a good team. I believe I'm a good player, and that's just what it comes down to."
RB Bernard Pierce
(on his 100-yard day) "It felt great. It's the first game that I have been over 60 yards. I'm very excited for myself and I'm really excited because I feel like we're going to accomplish our goals this year."
(on his 78-yard run) "I hit the hole and I saw the safety running down and I thought to myself, ‘Run away from him,' because he was coming down pretty fast. I kind of took a little right turn, put my head down, and started running."
(on both RB Ray Rice and he going over 100 yards) "We have to take care of each other. We have to make sure when we get to the fourth quarter we are both sharp."
(on being AFC North Division Champions) "It feels good. It's the first time for me, so it feels real good."
(on playing this week after having a concussion last week) "I've had a concussion before, so I know my body. By Wednesday or Thursday I was really starting to feel better."
CB Cary Williams
(on the defensive performance) "It was a great game. We were really clicking on all cylinders, and everything seemed to be going right for us. This was a great time for us to go out and show our dominance again. Being a champion doesn't get old. We are the AFC North Champions two years in a row."
(on defensive coordinator Dean Pees) "I think that Dean [Pees] called a good game. It was a great game plan put in, and we all believed in it. It was about time we got physical. When we saw that, we knew there were guys chomping at the bit to play football today. We made things tough on Eli [Manning] today, we did everything we were supposed to do, and we came out on top."
(on winning the AFC North) "It's huge - you always want to win your division. That's one of the first things we talk about when the year starts. You win your division, it puts you in the playoffs and when you're in the playoffs, you have a chance to win the Lombardi trophy."
(on whether this was the defense's best effort of the season) "I think we played really well. There are some minor things we need to adjust, but for the most part, I think we played pretty well. I think as a secondary, that's the best we've played all year. The front seven did a good job of putting Eli [Manning] under pressure, so it was good. Actually, I have to say yes, it was the best effort we've played all year."
(on breaking the losing streak) "It was a huge relief. We work hard each and every week. We come out and we do what we're supposed to do, and we try to be the ultimate pros. We focus on technique and assignment and responsibility. So when you get into losing streaks like we did, some teams tend to fold. We didn't do that. I know we'll continue to fight this season. We believe in everybody as a group and we believe in the system. So, we're going to go out and play together the rest of the year."
(on other guys stepping up on defense) "LB Josh Bynes and LB Brendon Ayanbadejo are great players with great ability. BA [Brendon Ayanbadejo] is a great special teams guy, but he's also played extremely well for us on defense. He can get after the quarterback and I think you saw that today. Josh Bynes is a great young player that people are going to have to start looking out for. He has great potential and he has great ball skills at the linebacker position. When you have young guys coming in and doing what they're supposed to do, that's all you can ask for. Like I said, we believe in a system, and we're doing things within the confines of the defense. It's really great for us."
DT Haloti Ngata
(on how big this win was for the team) "Huge. It's a big win. We won the division, so it's good for us."
(on getting pressure on QB Eli Manning today) "That's what we wanted to do; pressure him and not let him get hot, because we've seen both games where he does a really good job of getting to his receivers and some games where he's not as hot. So, I think we wanted to make sure that he didn't get hot against us and [defensive coordinator] Dean Pees did a great job of calling pressures at the right time."
(on how they were able to get so much pressure on Manning today) "Other than the blitzes, a lot of guys were just winning their one-on-ones. And we did a good job of pressuring him when we could, and it was a great game for our defense."
(on what this game means for a defense that has had to deal with a lot of injuries) "It's huge for us – especially our young guys that can come in and make plays. Omar [Brown] was out there making plays, Chykie [Brown], and so it's great that those guys can step up, understand what their role is and make some plays for us."
TE Dennis Pitta
(on his long catch on a ‘keep-alive' play) "Joe [Flacco] did a good job of keeping the play alive. Everything initially wasn't there and he scrambled out to his right, and I just took it deep and I kind of made eye contact with him and got behind the guy. So, he did a good job of throwing it out there and we were able to get a big third-down conversion on that one."
(on his short-yardage conversions and if that's his type of play) "Yeah, the flat throw is a basic throw in our offense, and if they're going to give it to us, we'll take it. And they did on that third-down and we were able to convert."
(on it being an up-and-down season) "It's kind of good to get this monkey off our back a little bit. We've had a tough stretch these last few games, and it feels good to come out and play as well as we did and play a complete game like that and get a huge win for us to clinch the division."
WR Torrey Smith
(on if the division championship hat fits) "Yeah, it fits the dreads, it feels good. I'm just glad we finally got it done. It feels good."
(on if he's been waiting for a day like this offensively all year) "No, we expect it every time. It's just been a little rocky, hasn't been as consistent – at least for a whole game – and that's the way we can play."
(on Flacco showing a lot of confidence and getting him the ball often today) "Yeah, I think so. When we have our opportunities, that's for anyone, not just myself. We have a bunch of great receivers, and more often than not, we're coming out with the ball if it's a one-on-one opportunity and Joe is very aggressive and he likes to take advantage of those opportunities."
(on if he feels any differently heading into the playoffs this season) "I really don't try to look at the grand scheme of things. Obviously, you know it's more important, but I don't prepare any different, I'm not nervous at all. It's a game, and that's the way I approach it. Keep everything cool, calm, so you don't really have to panic or overreact."
(on if he was a little dizzy after the 42-yard grab and if he ever considered sitting out after that) "I'm alright. I was concussed last week though." (laughing)
(on what some of the tangible differences were today that they didn't have the past few weeks) "Just executing. I say the same thing every week, whether we win or lose. That's what it all boils down to, and when you watch film you can see it. And when our offensive line blocks the way they did in terms of the run game, and the pass game, it's tough for the defenses. And we made the plays, and all the credit goes to the big guys up front. They did a great job, they've been busting their tails all week long – really all year long – and to see them play the way they did, and as confident as they did, and see the results, we're very excited about it."
(on if momentum is a real thing at this point) "I think so. We were on a rough stretch for a while, even though – I guess it was three games – we played alright at times, we just weren't consistent. We definitely needed to get a win, and more importantly clinch the division, and I think we'll be fine. We need to build on this, which we normally do, and look forward to next week's practice; Christmas first, and then practice."
LB Brendon Ayanbadejo
(on his sack) "The defensive line did a good job of leaving me one-on-one. They left me one-on-one with the running back. I just beat the running back and went and got the sack. I had to show off that 40-inch vertical I had when I was 21, when I was at the combine. Now I'm 36, and it's only 39 inches, but I can still get up there and do a little he-man. "It's all good though, it's nice to get in the stats book and not just get the ‘W.'"
(on the special teams) "If you look at certain statistical analysis, our special teams is No. 1 in the league. We've been doing a consistent job all year. It makes a big difference, it makes a short field for the offense, and it creates a long field for the defense. It's much easier to play when you can pin a team deep or set the offense up in good field position."
(on the defense coming together) "We've been playing in spurts, but in this game, you have to play in unison with the other phases. So, all the phases have to complement each other. If one phase is having a hard time, then ultimately, we're not a good enough team for one phase to just dominate. This year especially, all phases have to come together. We had seven three-and-outs last week, but we were still on the field a long time because our offense had a tough time converting. We just couldn't hang in there after being decimated. Our defense and special teams just wore down. This team especially, we play for each other, and you see we play a lot better when we complement each other."
(on young players stepping in) "If you look at our system, we have a great defensive system. Communication is the most important part of this defense. We have to communicate with each other. When we're out there and communicating, when the linebackers are talking to the D-line, and the linebackers are communicating with the secondary, you see this defense really perform because it's about the system. It's all about your guys that are out there making the right calls and the right checks. It's not about the X's and O's, it's about the Jimmy's and Joe's."
(on the defense's aggressiveness) "We really weren't that much more aggressive today, it's just that Washington's offense is a really dynamic offense and they do a lot of things that we don't see. The way that RGIII [Redskin's QB Robert Griffin III] rolled out of the pocket and created space for himself, it's much more difficult to get pressure. If it's a straight-back passer, like [Denver Broncos QB] Peyton Manning or his brother, today, Eli [Manning], it's easier to get after them. You really see us get after guys like [New England Patriots QB Tom] Brady, he didn't have a good game against us. And, Eli didn't have a good game against us. If you have a straight drop-back passer against this defense, he's usually not going to have a good game."
(on lining up with young players) "It's funny because we had a call out there, and the guy next to me was a rookie, and another guy was a second-year player. We had a particular blitz dialed up, and our blitzes are predicated on formation. So, one of the guys is telling me, ‘No, I'm not blitzing, no, you're blitzing, no you're blitzing, I'm going to go cover the quarterback, and that's what we're going to do,' and then actually, that guy got the sack. It was Omar [Brown] who got the sack. He's a first year player, playing in his second game of his career, and he got a sack. It's funny though, the 36-year-old guy, is out there being the field general, and telling these guys what to do. Earlier I talked about it. It's a scheme defense, so you really have to communicate. It's not just about the X's and O's, it's about the guys out there talking and communicating. We really shine when we do that."
(on defensive coordinator Dean Pees' game plan) "He mixed it up today really well. He also mixed it up pretty well last week, too. We don't have to run the same play call every play. We can give the quarterback a lot of looks. Just on some of Dean's calls, the way we ran it, it just exed their offense out of the game. We just went out there and executed the call. Then, there were other calls where we had to go out there and make a play. You saw the defensive backs out there batting down balls and making plays. Sometimes, we got a free runner, and that's just pure defensive scheme. When you see guys already in the lanes and the passing lanes aren't open, a lot of that is the defense and the drops that we're running. But, if you're one-on-one, you have to go out there and make a play and bat down balls, and the DBs went out there and made plays today."
S Ed Reed
(on being AFC North Division Champions) "Huge, man. It's huge to get it this way after what we've been going through. What we've been fighting. We knew this was a journey – this season is a journey. We still have a game left. Congrats for today. Hats off to the Giants, but we just have to build on this."
(on how the defense played as a whole today) "We just had to regroup a little bit after that second drive – just execute. It was all about execution at the end of the day and who is going to execute better. Our corners played a tremendous game today. We just have to build on it."
(on whether or not he feels he will be punished by the NFL for his penalized hit) "I don't know. I don't know what is going to come of it. I had the referee whispering into my ear on the second play. All I like to do is play the game. I talked to Troy Aikman before the game about this – him and Joe Buck. They asked me how my game changed. I don't really know what to do with it. I don't really know what to do with that. I thought it was a decent hit. He [Victor Cruz] got up from it. I think Cruz got up."
(on CB Chykie Brown's performance) "Huge. Huge, like I told Chykie [Brown] to keep building. Even though he is a young guy, he has a lot to build on. We just have to keep growing, get better."
(on QB Joe Flacco's performance) "Yes, the whole offense [played well]. When they are clicking like that, and we have control in the game – controlling the time of possession – or what we have and Joe [Flacco] is on point with the ball, just getting it to the playmakers you see what we can do as a team. It's just been good for him. I know he's been getting a lot of gripe the last couple of weeks, probably even from teammates. It's a process. It's a process we are all in together. He had a great game."
(on the defense getting healthy) "Yes, yes we have some guys that were down today, and we knew that coming in. Obviously, the last couple of weeks guys have been working hard. Guys have been filling in. Those guys played great. We got [Dannell] Ellerbe back today who had a great game. Those guys being healthy makes a big difference. Ray [Lewis] being healthy and motivating guys and making sure you're helping them, it's huge to have him in their ear once they come off the field. Being able to see them from the sidelines … just the growth of those guys – those young linebackers – and how they played and the D-line, too. They help out a tremendous bit when they are making plays and coming through the line like Haloti [Ngata] and those guys were today."
(on mentoring the younger players) "My biggest thing is patience and try to set an example, and doing my job first-and-foremost. That's the biggest thing that they see first when you go to the meeting room. I can't make corrections on them when I'm messing up. When that's been the case, that's been tough. Being the leader, being the player/coach so to say, when you're out there and you're not perfect. Just helping them and talking to them constantly. Chykie [Brown] has been my mentee. Just talking to him constantly, maybe it's helping him, maybe it's not. He's a grown man and he's been listening to coach Teryl Austin, and making plays every time he gets in there. I have the upmost confidence in Chykie and everybody else once we're healthy and those guys [are] in the game."
(on his thoughts of Omar Brown's performance) "He's a football player. He's a football player. At one point we cut him and brought him back. That hurt me big time, because I know he's a football player. It's not about size in this league. It's about just being a football player. He's that guy. Omar [Brown] is a football player. Last week he came up with a fumble. Everybody on this team knows this guy will be around the football, and that's what you want. He reminds me of myself when I was that age."
S James Ihedigbo
(on the importance of the win) "We knew what was at stake, and we won an AFC North Championship. The playoffs have already started for us. All we have to do is keep winning, and the rest will take care of itself."
(on the team's preparation this week) "That's a credit to [John] Harbaugh. We're going to prepare and continue to work. There's no downtime for us right now, and we want the AFC Championship. We'll play next week like it's the playoff. We don't know any other way."
G Marshal Yanda
(on the offensive line holding the New York Giants to zero sacks) "It was a collective effort from everybody protecting Joe [Flacco] and a matter of Joe getting the ball out on time. Converting third downs was huge. I think it was 11-18. You're going to win football games doing that."
(on if there was crisis for confidence during the week for the O-line) "It's just a matter of having confidence in our guys. There's no magical formula. We didn't reinvent the wheel. It's just football. We got a lot of great guys on this team – a lot of great players. More than anything, it's just guys making plays. You saw Torrey [Smith] and some of the catches he made, Ray [Rice] and some of the runs he ran and Bernard [Pierce]. That's what this league is about: Big-time players making big-time plays."
(on winning the AFC North being their No. 1 goal) "After our three-game losing streak, winning a game was goal No. 1. Winning the game was our goal, and we got that done."
ILB Dannell Ellerbe
(on the importance of the win) "Oh man, this one was good. The way the offense was making plays today, and the fact that we are getting guys healthy now, that's going to be the big key for our future heading into the playoffs. If we can keep our guys healthy, we will be good in January."
(on ending the three-game losing streak) "It's always great to win and end that losing streak. The thing is, our last game we pretty much got whipped. But, the first two games, we felt like we gave them away. We should have closed the games when we had the chance, but we didn't. To get a win today, that kind of washes that away. To win the AFC North makes it even better."
(on the defense's ability to stop the run) "If they got their running game going, it would have opened up their passing game. But, when they couldn't run the ball like they wanted to, it made their passing game less effective. [We] have to give credit to our D-line. They played a great game."
(on what he said to Terrell Suggs after he got a penalty on his sack) "There was nothing I could say to him at that point. He already knew how I felt. He said something like, ‘Sorry, man. My bad.' So, I said, ‘It's alright.' But, he went offsides on me, so I didn't get the sack."
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