SEPT. 13, 2018 | BALTIMORE AT CINCINNATI
Initial Comments ...
“We obviously got off to a fast start. The main thing today is that we took care of the football and didn’t have a turnover in the game. We forced the early one on defense and got another one later on. It helped us seal the game. We had some other balls go through our hands, but we’re learning and growing. We’ve got a long way to go. It’s early in the season, but we came out here tonight and played pretty solid in all three phases.”
This team two weeks in a row has made the big play when it needed to. Is there something to be said about that, like maybe this team has a killer instinct?
“Since we got started in April, as we could start meeting and talking about where we are and where we want to go, that’s one of the improvements we needed to make. We still have one we need to make, one we haven’t done a good job of in the first two games, which is making sure we close out football games. When you get the lead, you want to be able to handle it and close it out. I thought the offense today, with the drive to put points on the board to go back up by eight (in the fourth quarter) was key. Our quarterback is playing his tail off and the guys today took care of him. We caught the ball today. I think we only had one drop, if I can recall, and that was big. That was key. Andy (Dalton) directed the offense, we went in and out of different tempo styles and tried to keep them back on their heels. We did a good job throughout.”
That first half by Andy — is that as good as he’s played?
“I can’t tell you. He continues to play very well, and we’ve put some guys around him who are growing up. We’ve all watched Tyler Boyd grow up before our eyes. It’s been outstanding. (C.J.) Uzomah, (Tyler) Kroft, and (Tyler) Eifert made big plays tonight. The backs did a nice job running the football. We were grinding it out and making those five yards plays, which gave us manageable down-and-distances.”
WR A.J. Green said earlier in the week that winning against the Ravens at the end of last season helped springboard the team into this season. What are your thoughts on your guys’ momentum?
“It was positive because we were a little depleted at the end of the season. We had three games in a row where we lost. The guys showed their character, resilience and the pros that they are. We found a way to win those last two games, with leadership from Andy, A.J. (Green), Clint Boling and those guys out there, along with our defensive guys. They are prideful guys, and you have to say they went out there and played their tails off. It’s helped bring us forward. We’ve got that group of guys who, until the last two seasons, thought the playoffs were automatic. They liked that (laughs), so they want to get back there.”
How do feel about how SS Shaun Williams responded after last Sunday and how he handled his business?
“I expected him to do that. I didn’t expect anything different.”
What did you like the most about the way DE Sam Hubbard played?
“I have no idea of that (laughs). He’s an interior lineman. I saw him make a play or two. Sam has done a nice job for us, giving us positive snaps. As I’ve said every time someone brings up his name, he’s quite an asset.”
It’s been awhile since you’ve started 2-0 ...
That’s a long time in the NFL. How does that set you guys up moving forward this season?
“Go ahead and answer your own question, since you want to be negative about it.”
The offensive line did not allow a sack ...
“Again, they did a nice job with their rhythm. We just have to keep it up and keep grinding.”
Your history of performance in primetime games ...
“We came out hot and that’s exactly how we wanted to start the game. A big win for us to put us at 2-0 to start the year. We’ve got a leg up in the division, which is good, so it was exactly what we wanted to do. To finish it off ... a great win for us.”
Guys mentioned they feel the offense can’t be stopped. Is that how you feel as well?
“Yeah, for sure. I feel like we’ve got so much potential and we’ve got so many guys who are really good players. And, the way (offensive coordinator) Bill (Lazor) is calling it and what we’re doing has been great. ... We feel like there’s a lot of potential for us and we have to go out and prove it every day.”
Every time they blitzed, you had an answer for it. Did you have plan for that?
“I thought, from a communication standpoint and guys being on the same page with what they were doing, it’s big versus that defense, where their front is really good and all the blitzes they throw at you. You’ve got to be prepared for it. On a short week, I thought we did a great job. To come out of a game like that — not one sack versus that defense — is a big thing and I thought our guys played really well up front.”
After A.J. Green’s third touchdown, he only had two catches after that. Did Baltimore play him differently?
“Yeah, I think that’s part of it. I think everybody’s going to know where he is. We were able to, obviously, get him open on a couple (of throws) early on, and to get three touchdowns in the first half was huge.”
The middle touchdown there, with Green adlibbing, how much pressure did that take off the offense?
“Anytime you can throw a quick pass and for him to catch a slant and make guys miss and score with it, it’s big. If you can run after you catch it, it’s huge. It changes things. He played really well tonight.”
When they tilted the cover stage, Tyler Boyd had his opportunities too?
“We can spread the ball around and get a lot of guys involved. I think that’s where this offense is fortunate. We’ve got a lot of guys that are really good. It’s not just A.J. (Green). Obviously, A.J. had the three touchdowns, but Tyler (Boyd)’s played really well.”
That front was tough to run against, but the Bengals were efficient in the running game ...
“I thought so. I think it’s a credit to (offensive coordinator) Bill (Lazor) and what he’s doing, and (offensive line coach) Frank (Pollack) and how he’s coaching those guys up front. The backs ... Joe Mixon’s so good — you’re saying A.J. (Green)’s adlibbing a little — and Joe’s cutting back and cutting across the field and doing his thing, finding yards that aren’t usually there. We’ve seen Gio (Bernard) do it as well, getting in sync with what we’re doing. I thought we did a good job, and I’m sure there’s areas where we’d like to get better, but for the most part, we feel really good about what we did.”
It’s hard to score 34 points on any team. Is there any satisfaction when you do it against a defense that is as good as Baltimore’s?
“Yeah. They’re a really good defense, and I think they finished at the top of the league for a long time. So to be able to that against them, it shows we’re doing some things right. I feel like we left some stuff out there too, but I feel really good about how we played tonight.”
They looked stunned when you went up 21-0. Did you feel that a little bit?
“We had a ton of momentum, and everything we were doing seemed to be working, especially how quickly it happened. That changes things. I’m glad that’s how we started.”
Red-zone opportunities were an area the team struggled with last year. But this year, you’ve been doing really well. What has been the key to that?
“It’s a new year and new offense. Everything’s different. I feel like we’ve made plays when we’re down there, and that’s what we’ve got to have.”
Trey Hopkins has never played center in a regular-season game. How’d he do?
“He did great. For him to fill in like that, he played really well. I thought the communication up front (was good), for him to be making all the calls on everything we did. We’ve got a smart group up there. For him to plug in (like that), I feel like we didn’t skip a beat when he came in.”
The extra games come at a good time with all the guys cramping up and with ankle injuries ...
“I think so. I think everybody’s pretty happy we won, because we were going to have to come in tomorrow and we’re not going to have to (practice), which is good. I think everybody’s happy about it.
How did that Super Bowl team reunion affect you?
“We knew they were going to be coming back. Obviously to play in Super Bowls is something that you dream about doing. It’s something you work so hard for. That’s the goal — to win the Super Bowl and come back and be honored for it.”
You’re showing some versatility — you got yourself some sacks, you’re playing some fullback, you’re playing some safety. You’re back there in the end-zone defending at the end of the game. Obviously you’ve worked on that?
“Yeah, that’s an end-of-game situation. We put a lot of emphasis on those special situations, so when they occur in the game we’re ready for them. That was just one of those situations we (practice) every week before the game defending the goal line. And it paid off.”
That’s two weeks in a row the defense makes a big play forcing a fumble and recovering that fumble. Shawn Williams forced it with the tomahawk chop and Dre Kirkpatrick recovered it. Big, big play ...
“Yeah it’s just a testament to Coach (Teryl) Austin and the defensive coaching staff. We do takeaway circuits (at practice), and one of them actually is the takeaway chop that Shawn Williams executed on that play. The emphasis is on takeaways, and we got three of them. I feel like that’s why we won the game. We’re going to continue to put emphasis on trying to get the ball out.”
You guys pressured Flacco, not only with quarterback sacks, but Carlos Dunlap had a pressure that resulted in an interception — that’s even bigger than a sack. You guys consistently were in Flacco’s face ...
“Yeah, we were coming waves all night. Mike (Johnson) went down early, and we stepped up and rallied together, and whoever was fresh was going out there trying to make a play. We just kept coming and just trying to wear him down. They’re a great team. Flacco was getting the ball out fast, but we just tried to affect him any way we could. We did a good job, we’ve just got to build on it.”
For the second week in a row, they threw it over 50 times. They fell behind by a big margin early, so they kind of had to jump past the running game and throw the football every snap. Guys were cramping on the back end. How tough was it out there with that humidity?
“It was tough. And just to go into that, we put an emphasis to try and stop the run, and that’s where we want to get them — we want to get them into one dimension so they have to throw the football. We were doing a good job stopping the run. We were missing some linebackers, we were missing some guys, but everyone stepped up. It was hot out there. We were sweating a lot. We made plays when we needed to, and we got the win.”
Is the bye week coming at the right time? There are a few guys with injuries that need to heal a little bit ...
“Yeah, we’ve got a lot of banged-up guys, and these 10 days (will help). I was talking to Billy (Price), and 10 days is all he needs. We’re just excited to get these guys back that are a little banged up.”
How much easier is it to play defense when your offense comes out and puts points up?
“Oh, it’s so much easier. Especially when you’re at home. The crowd was so great today. You’ve got that momentum, you’ve got that confidence, and you’re floating around out there. It’s a good feeling.”
It didn’t go like you’d hoped against Indianapolis, but you stepped up against Terrell Suggs and did a hell of a job. How’d it feel out there playing in that humidity?
“It felt good. It kind of felt like home — Florida — a little bit. It was good to get a win out there with my guys, and work a little bit more with (Alex) Redmond, and just keep building going forward. We’ve got a long season, but we’ve got to get better every week to reach our ultimate goal.”
Repetition breeds comfort level, and you guys have to have snaps right next to each other to have that unspoken word and know what the other guy is going to do, right?
“Yeah, definitely. As we hone in and get more games together, more snaps, like you said we’ll know what each other is thinking and we can play off each other. And then we know how to improve going forward. We still have things we need to work on, me and him, but we’re going to watch the film together and get ready for Carolina.”
They started bringing the blitz, but Andy Dalton sliced and diced them. They got off the blitz when you guys started burning them ...
“Yeah, definitely. That was the game plan. We knew they bring a lot of funky looks and try to confuse you with stuff. I can’t say enough about our coaches and they way they prepared us on a short week for all the blitzes — Frank (Pollack) and Coach (Bill) Lazor — the way we got prepared in that short week, it says a lot about them and their dedication to their craft going forward.”
With a team that brings all these funky packages, the simpler the rules the better, right?
“Yeah, definitely. We stuck to the things we knew well, and we were comfortable with that we wanted to do. The results were there — just running our bread-and-butter plays, running the things where you don’t have to worry about different looks and stuff. Just getting it and going. I’m proud of the guys, and I’m excited moving forward.”
The Ravens had six sacks against the Bills, and I don’t think they had one tonight. What does that say?
“It just says a lot about us as a unit, our coach and our preparation, and how far we can go and the ceiling we have going forward. With everybody doing the things they’re coached to do, believing in each other and preparing the way we prepare, the sky’s the limit for us.”
Marvin Lewis said the thing he was impressed with the most was the way you guys ran the football. He thought you guys creased it up in there pretty darn effectively ...
“Definitely. It comes down to the (offensive line). We’ve got a great coach that prepares us, with just working together and getting everything together. It’s just awesome. Going forward, I’m just looking forward to everything and getting better each week.”
You guys are 2-0. You’re feeling pretty confident now, aren’t you?
“Yeah, I feel confident. I gave up one tonight. I felt like I was in great position. There’s some things I’ve got to go back and correct. There’s some things I felt like I could do better. But it’s a great team win. We played as a team. I’m very proud of where we’re at, because last year we had such a slow start. To start the season 2-0, it’s a blessing and it feels really good.”
How important was this as a team win to fight together strong at the end?
“Coach preached about being a fourth-quarter team all year, and being able to win the battles when they count. Today, we did a great job of rallying to the ball, finishing plays and making the corrections on the sidelines, and we got the win today. I tip my hat to the offense. Those guys played their heart out. Those guys gave us opportunity to get rest on the sideline. Everything’s new around here now, and it’s a great feeling.”
Does it feel good when you see those guys go out and score on four drives like that?
"It’s crazy, man. Going out there and seeing A.J. (Green) just ignite, because I know he wants it so bad, and I know he wants to be that No. 1 guy in the league. It’s just such an honor to have him as a teammate. He’s a workhorse, and he’s playing out of his mind right now. I’m loving the chemistry we have right now, and it’s definitely a good vibe.”
Do you feel like there’s something special brewing with this team? I know it’s only two games, but does it feel special?
“Yep — we’re 2-0! (Heck) yeah, we’re special. 2-0. That’s all that matters to me. It’s a team effort. No individual is putting themselves before the team. I’m loving it, man. I’m loving it.”
What is it about this team, which is so young, that you’ve been able to figure it out and gel so well this early in the season?
“We’re young, but we’ve still got veteran guys. I’m 28, and I’m the oldest in the room, but I’m a veteran. I’ve been here seven years. And the young guys are believing. I’ve got to admit, I used to be inconsistent, being a little selfish. But you’ve got to grow up — you’ve got young guys that are watching. They’re looking, and I don’t want to give off the wrong message if I talk back to a coach, or if I do something else. We don’t need that around here no more. It’s not around here no more. It’s a great feeling.”
You kept coming back from that injury. How important was it for you to finish the game and show off that toughness level?
“It was really important. Coach called my number and the team needed me, and they needed us to make plays, and we were fortunate enough to make them. We settled in in the fourth quarter, and the last two drives we went out there and were fortunate enough to finish them off.”
Did you have to talk them in to letting you go back in, or did they just check you out and you were good?
“I had to talk myself into going back in. You know, mental toughness. It was hard, real hard. I was able go back in and give it my all. If I go out there, even if I’m not 100 percent, I’m going to try and do whatever I can.”
The first time you were examined and you were okay. The second time, what happened? Did you feel it?
“It felt weird. My knee was hurting. Other than that, it’s just the mental side of it. You always want to play at 100 percent (health), but when something is bothering you it’s hard mentally. I just had to check back in mentally and physically tough it out. And that’s pretty much what I did.”
Did you tell them to put you back in?
“Yeah. I was like, ‘I’m going to back in.’ And they were like, ‘Alright. You don’t need to if you can’t.’ I was like, ‘I’m going to go back in, coach.’ And we made it happen.”
What do you think the injury is?
“I don’t know. It’s just some weird tweak. I don’t know.”
Does it hurt still?
“A little bit.”
Are you worried about it?
“Not really. I finished the game.”
On the play you started right and came back to the left with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green blocking, did you think you could make it into the end zone?
“Oh yeah, definitely. I saw Andy and A.J. out there, and I was just trying to set up their block. I couldn’t finish going outside, so I just had to put my foot in the ground and try to outrun (Eric) Weddle. He had a great angle and he made a good tackle.”
If it had been a little different and you guys had a bigger lead, do you think you would’ve gone back in?
“I think I probably would have played it safe. At the end of the day, it was crunch time and I had to deliver. And that’s what we ended up doing.”
Is it frustrating after scoring on four straight drives to start to struggle after that?
“That’s the reality of the NFL; sometimes you are hot, sometimes you are cold. There are ups and downs throughout the game. As long as you can keep battling back. Fortunately, we were able to do that and put points up on that drive late.”
Did they call off the blitz after the first half?
“They made some adjustments. They played some different looks and tried to change some things up. What we were doing in the first half was obviously working, so they made some good adjustments.”
Did the offensive line realize that Joe Mixon was playing through injuries?
“It’s one of those things that whoever is back there, you have to block the same way. You have to make plays for whoever is out there, whether it’s Joe (Mixon), Gio (Bernard) or Tra (Carson). You have to make the best out of the situation for whoever is there.”
What happened on your touchdown reception?
“I just made a play. I came screaming across the middle and Andy threw a perfect ball to me. All I had to do is make a guy miss.”
Does starting the season 2-0, with a win over a divisional rival, set you up for a successful season?
“Definitely. This has been the best start since I’ve been here. I’m loving it, and I am sure everyone else is loving it. As long as everybody — every player, every coach, everybody in this organization — does their part and does what they are supposed to do, the sky is the limit for us. I already believe our offense can’t be stopped. As long as we control the ball and do what we have to do, the sky is the limit.”
What happened after you scored on four straight possessions?
“They were still doing the same stuff— it’s football. We were still driving, but we kept messing up on third downs. Nobody put their head down, and we knew we had to put a drive together once they scored. Everything was on us. At that moment, everyone had everybody’s back and we went out there and did what we needed to do.”
On the win ...
“It looked like we could do no wrong in the first quarter, and then everyone just settled in. We went three-and-out and didn’t put up a lot of points in the second half, but the defense came up strong. It was just a good team win. To be able to finish there in the end was big.”
How much momentum does being 2-0 give this team?
“There’s a long way to go. This is the best we could do right now. It’s a cliché to say this, but if we could just win the next week, and then win the next week, we will be alright. We are going to enjoy this one for the night, and then get on to the next one.”
Have you ever caught three passes, all for touchdowns?
“No this is the first time. It was the first three-touchdown game of my career — it just happened to fall that way.”
Did it feel like the offense couldn’t be stopped after scoring on four straight drives?
“We were clicking on all cylinders — nothing special, we were just in a groove.”
This team hasn’t started 2-0 since 2015. Do you feel the confidence in this team brewing?
“It feels good. We always have confidence. We never lacked any confidence in this room. We have to keep pushing along and keep getting better each week. It’s just another game. We are 2-0, and on to the next week.”
What a difference a year makes. You guys started 0-2 last year, and the offense was held without a TD in both ...
“Those two games (last year) defined us as a team. We could have laid down and not played our best, but we were playing for each other, playing for Coach Lewis. That momentum carried into the offseason, and the offseason carried on to the (regular) season.”
You had three touchdowns on your first three catches. It looked like you were headed for a huge game?
“That defense over there — and every defense — is trying to take me away. I don’t want them to force anything to me. I will make plays when my number is called.”
Tyler Boyd seemed to do a good job of capitalizing on his opportunity ...
“Of course. No doubt about it. I have seen him grow since his first year to now, and going into his third year, it’s night and day.”
Where is the interception ball going?
“I am sure my mom will have an opinion on that, but we will see (laughs).”
Are all the young guys feeding off each other, or is that a perception by the media?
“I think it’s kind of perceived by you guys (the media). The expectations for the younger guys are the same exact thing as for the older guys. The young guys are making plays, but don’t think the older guys aren’t making plays.”
Is there a relief in getting the first interception?
“They come in bunches. I had another one that I missed, but it’s all good. I will have more opportunities for that throughout the season. That first one is always a relief. There is a lot of weight off my shoulders now.”
Do you feel like the team earned a little respect tonight?
“Yeah. They preach about Baltimore being so physical. I think our guys brought it to them tonight. I feel really good about what this team is capable of. We are able to have a little time off now and start preparing for Carolina.”
RAVENS POSTGAME QUOTES
SEPT. 13, 2018
BALTIMORE AT CINCINNATI
Initial comments ...
“OK. Good to see everybody. Appreciate the crowd. What do you have?”
The lack of sacks and pressure on the quarterback and penalties on third down was obviously not what you expected ...
“Well, I think those are things that led to the slow start. Certainly spotting them a three touchdown lead basically — 28 points — and those are the reasons. It’s a little tough to get (Andy) Dalton on the ground playing the offense that they play because he gets the ball out so quick. That’s what they do. It’s quick throws, guys running inside routes — he’s deadly with that kind of stuff. That’s what he does. You’d like to get some batted balls, which we did. He’s not a guy that gets sacked a lot because of the offense that they run, although we want to get sacks and get there. The penalties, really, they shouldn’t happen. We’re better than that. We’ve got to go to work and look at that. You can’t give any offense in this league, let alone the kind I referenced, opportunities to get back on the field. I’ve got to see the holding call there at the end in the fourth quarter on Tavon (Young). I don’t know, I didn’t see it. I’ve just got to look at those things and see what they look like.”
How much of an adjustment was it when you lose C.J. Mosely in that first drive?
“Well, that’s your middle linebacker. You’ve two young guys in there playing. Those guys played hard. They fought, they really did but they didn’t play perfect. That’s going to hurt you for sure, and it did. It hurt mainly in coverage more than anything.”
Does C.J. need more testing?
“He got his MRI tonight. There’s no ligament damage of any kind, it doesn’t look to be long term. I’m sure there’s a bruise or something in there, so we just have to see how he responds in a couple days. The good thing is we have a long week. I don’t know if that means he’ll be ready for game or not — I have no idea.”
A lot of pressure on Joe Flacco tonight and maybe that’s why he wasn’t as accurate out of pocket as he usually is?
“I have to look at the tape. I don’t know. I’ll have to see.”
Any adjustments when covering A.J. Green?
“Any adjustments when covering A.J. Green? We doubled him some, we rotated coverage to him some — we did all that. Yeah, we had double coverage on the touchdown pass with No. 55 right underneath him and No. 25 was right on his hip, I think it was. He made so many great plays. He’s a great player.”
Who wore the defensive headset when C.J. Mosley went out and how did they do?
“It was Eric Weddle and he did a good job.”
What kind of challenge is that to shift that responsibility?
“That’s not a big deal. It’s probably easier in the regular season than preseason. You have a one, two, three order for who does the play-calling. They had their helmet sitting on the side so if you have to change, he takes the helmet with the microphone in it and you go. And Eric’s good. He knows what he’s doing and he’s a sharp guy.”
Talk about how the offense came alive in the second half. You moved the ball ...
“Yeah we did. We did a good job. They got the sack fumble late. We had a chance there to get a big play. I think if Joe gets one more second it could be a touchdown. You’ve got to execute it but it was one of those designed plays to take shots, and it’s a tough play to get off. Protection wise it’s a dash play. I thought we did a good job when we didn’t make mistakes. We’ll clean some of that stuff up.”
How much did the early deficit get you out of your game plan, especially revolving around Alex Collins?
"Not too much. The game plan doesn’t stop and start with the running game. We want to throw the ball. It might have got us in our two-minute offense, but maybe not, because we like to run that up-tempo offense during the game anyway. We ran it against Buffalo, and we were ahead. I don’t feel it got us out of the offense. Obviously we need to do more in the huddle, and we did. We ran the ball OK given the circumstances.”
I know it is low probability at the end, but did you consider kicking a field goal there?
“We were going to kick the field goal there, could have kicked it right there before the last play but decided to take one more shot and see if we could just throw it up in the end zone and maybe get a call or make a play. Joe took a check down in that situation. We were trying to do that but we were hopeful that we could take chalk shots down the field and score quick or kick the field goal. That was the idea to get an onside opportunity. The clock moves fast. It’s not college football where the clock stops on first down.”
Six sacks against the Bills but none tonight?
“It’s tough to sack the Bengals because the ball comes out so fast. That’s their offense. They get the ball out so fast. They’re precise, it’s quick, it’s three steps RPO (run pass option). I thought we were a little late with some of our backwards blitzes — I thought we could have timed those up a little bit better. But they had a big lead. You can’t tee off on the passing game because you’ve got to stop the run too. It all factors into it.”
The Ravens have turned the ball over more often against the Bengals than anybody. Do the Bengals do anything different defensively than other teams?
“Yeah, they run their defense. They do a lot of things differently. They run a defense that they’ve been running for years with Marvin (Lewis) and Mike Zimmer and right on through. They play great defense. I mean they have talented guys, they have pass rushers, they are a team that turns people over. You can’t turn the ball over a lot against anybody, and that’s probably why they won most of those games.”
What happened differently this time?
“We weren’t sharp on a couple few things early on. We hurt ourselves with some penalties too.”
Is it something the Bengals do differently on defense, where you seem to turn the ball over more?
“You have to give this defense credit for what they do well. The first interception was on me. The safety was up high, and we were looking to take a shot with John Brown. I was trying to keep it away from William Jackson, who has a lot of speed. But the safety came driving through and picked it off. It’s not a good play on my part. You have to give them credit on the second one — their pass rushers get after people. Without Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins on that play, it might have been a touchdown. Early on, they didn’t do anything we didn’t expect them to. We were trying to push up on people and run them outside. It wasn’t working great, and the middle of the field was open, so that started to get us into a zone. It was tough sledding early on, and we weren’t very precise. When you do that in somebody else’s territory, you pay for it.”
Was the second interception going to Chris Moore?
“No, it was going to John Brown. Chris was grabbing the safety and John was running the post over the top of him. I was throwing to John all the way there.”
Did you need just one more second on that strip-sack?
“I didn’t get a great look at it. I was letting it go to John Brown. I knew that guy was chasing from behind me, but I was able to step up and buy some time. He did a great job and ran through the play. We just needed a little tiny piece of him and I think we get it off.”
Do you feel like you run or scramble more when you play here?
“Their front seven is really good. Geno Atkins is arguably the best at his position. Carlos Dunlap is a monster — he deflects balls, he gets to the quarterback and pins his ears back. They don’t rely on pressure by blitzing a lot; they rely on those guys to get to the passer.
Going forward, how do you find consistency?
“You have to keep your head up and believe what you’re building around here. This is the NFL; nothing is promised, and we know that. We fought tonight. It wasn’t pretty and we didn’t come out with a win, but it’s a long season. We have to keep our heads up and be positive. I think we have a good football team, and guys reacted well to what happened tonight. We just have to move on.”
Is it a good sign that the game didn’t slip away?
“We battled. We had a chance to win the football game. When you get down like that, that’s all you can ask. Anything can happen. We’ve been in plenty of types of those games on both sides. We just didn’t play well enough early. It’s too good of a football team to let that happen.”
Do you feel like the guys on your team lacked this experience before?
“We have a lot of guys that haven’t had this circumstance with us specifically. But we’ve all been playing football for a long time. If you’ve been in the NFL for a long time, you’ve had your fair share of failures. The veterans have to just bounce back, and the rookies will follow suit.”
How did you climb out of that deficit early on?
“You just need to get that first score, and then you start to feel a momentum coming back. The confidence comes back into the group. Once you cut (the lead) like that, you start to build toward something. We’ve been playing these types of games against this team for a while now. They’ve done it to us, we’ve done it do them. These games last a long time, and you have to play the full 60 minutes. You just have to make sure the guys are focused, because anything can happen. Look at Green Bay vs. Chicago last week; it could have been similar to that.”
WR A.J. Green is a great player, but why do you think he was able to get three touchdowns?
“I have to watch the film to see what he was doing exactly. That’s what he does. I’m not sure how many yards he had, but it seems like when they were in the red-zone, it was touchdown after touchdown.”
Week 1 was great, but tonight was different. Where do you go from here?
“I think we’re still in a good place. We’ll look at the film and go from there.”
How much did the loss of C.J. Mosley affect you?
“We were kind of just scrambling around when he went out. Some guys didn’t even know he was out. It’s kind of in-between. I really couldn’t tell you.”
What do you think the issue was tonight?
“I’m not going to get into it. I’ll just say that they made more plays than we did. They got off to a fast start — we didn’t. We put ourselves into a hole. We tried to climb back out but didn’t make the plays we needed to. Give them credit. They played better than us and they deserved to win.”
Last week you guys looked different ...
“This is the NFL. It’s a week-to-week business, and everyone understands that. It’s one game at a time. You can win by 40 one week and lose by 40 the next week. There’s a lot of good players in the NFL, and they made more plays than us.”
How tough is it for Joe Flacco?
“We didn’t get off to a good start. That first quarter really hurt us. The good thing is that we were able to fight to get back into the game, but we didn’t make plays in the third quarter to give us a chance. It is what it is. We’re all pissed, but that’s part of the game. We’ll be alright.”
After tonight, where do you think you guys stand?
“We’re fine. It’s a 16-game season. You’re not going to play great every week, but you have to find ways to win, and we didn’t do that tonight. The sky’s not falling, but we have to correct some things. That’s why we have practice and coaching. Everyone in this room is accountable. We will take a look at ourselves first and see what we can do better and get back to work.”
Describe your first touchdown catch ...
“I just made a move at the line and Joe made a great throw. The DB never looked back, so I was able to focus on the ball.”
What kept you guys motivated tonight?
“I can’t speak for everyone, but seeing guys fighting and making plays to let us know it wasn’t over — that’s what kept me going.”