TITANS vs RAVENS
AFC WILD CARD
Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021
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(opening statement) "OK, good to see everybody. I appreciate you guys being here. Obviously, [that was] a tremendous victory against a very good football team, a very well-coached team [and] a team that plays very hard and very physical. That's the kind of game it was, [and] that's the kind of game we expected it to be. It was a tough football game, and it's a great win. [I'm] just proud of our guys. I mean, to come back and fight, you go down and not blink, keep pounding [and] keep your poise. You talk about playing this play, and then playing this play, and then playing this play – that's what our players did. We gave a game ball to Lamar [Jackson] and really, the whole team backing him up and having his back for his first playoff win and many of our guys' first playoff win. Chuck Clark talked about that and others. So, I'm just proud of these guys. It's something that's very meaningful because of the type of game it was, how hard-fought it was, and now we're looking forward to the next one. OK, what questions do you have?"
(on the reaction when QB Lamar Jackson was given the game ball for his first playoff win) "It was a big cheer. (laughter) There was a lot of cheering and a little bit of dancing. I think everybody is just really happy. You're right, there was a lot of attention on it. That's how it works; we understand the nature of it. That's really not the main point, I don't think, but it's a team game. I felt like our guys all played well, and they were just happy for him. It's something that he won't have to talk about in the future, and that's a meaningful thing."
(on how meaningful the playoff win was today) "Yes, it's very meaningful; we haven't won one of these for a while. It's been since 2014, I think, since we've won a playoff game. So, we weren't in there for a few years, and then we haven't won one [in the last few years]. So, to win it is very meaningful. It matters, but really all that stuff is just history. That's just behind you. We talked about that in terms of the game. The play is here and then it's gone; you play the play that is in front of you. This was a game that was in front of us. So, that's the focus. That's what you try to make the main thing, and I thought our guys did a great job of making that the main thing. All those other storylines – there are no subplots. There weren't subplots. There was just the game, and our guys did a great job of playing the game."
(on the attitude of the team being down 10-0 in the first quarter and how rewarding the response was) "It was great. It was very rewarding, obviously – that's how you come back and win a football game. But there was nobody … Nobody even blinked. Nobody got down. We just kept playing. We knew it was going to be this play and this play and this play – that's how the guys approached it. It's a very simple approach, and that's how they approach everything. That's how they approach practice; they keep it about football. They have tremendous leadership. Derek Wolfe is going to speak to you here in a minute, and [he's] one of the best leaders I've ever seen. [He's] one of the best leaders I have ever seen. Guys like that, in a sideline situation like that when you go down 10 [points], that's what holds a team together. That's what keeps guys fighting, and those guys did a great job with that. I'm really proud of them for it."
(on how valuable WR Marquise Brown's big plays were today) "He's come up big for us, man. He's made so many plays. He's come up big for us; catch-and-run plays, over-the-top plays – he has. Marquise [Brown], Lamar [Jackson] with the runs and the runs late, and then Lamar with the throws … Different guys came up with big plays. J.K. [Dobbins] had a big run there at the end. Gus [Edwards] had the big [run] to get the extra yards there at the end to finish it off and during the game. Of course, our offensive line … That's a really good defensive front. I don't care what the stats say; that's a tough defense to move the ball against. They committed guys up there against the run, and we still ran the ball. But, against that, you still have to make plays in the passing game, and I was really proud of the fact that our guys were able to do it."
(on the mantra of "Finish" and the significance it holds) "It's not revolutionary, I don't think. I think everybody understands what it means. It's a little tougher to execute, because so many things conspire against us to quit, to stop, to throw our hands up [and] to not finish. It's really irrespective of the outcome. It really doesn't matter about the outcome. What matters is how you handle it, how you approach it, [and] whether you stick to it or not. That's what finish means, and our guys have done that. It's led to great outcomes. Hopefully, that's something they'll take with them for the rest of their lives and teach their kids about. (laughter) I hope people out there take it and give it some meaning in their own families, but that's what it's about. It's about sticking to it, not giving up and continuing to fight for what's important for yourself, for your family, for your team and all those other things."
(on what he attributes the late-season turnaround that carried the Ravens to the playoffs) "[It's] really execution. We did a much better job of protecting the football and executing all parts of it. To me, you talk about offensive football, or any football, it's not really one thing. You can't sit there and say, 'It's this.' I understand that we look for the thing, but it's all the things. It's across the board. You continue to improve, and then all those things work together to make you better. And then everything starts looking better. That's really … That's why you just keep working; that's why you work to finish a practice, or you finish a meeting or finish a game – whatever it is. Eventually, you're going to improve, and things are going to start to turn for you."
(on if this was one of the best all-around defensive efforts) "I'm going to have to say yes. You know I don't like the comparison, but I'll tell you; that may be … I'm going to tell you; right now, that's the No. 1 best win. In perspective, it's going to be a Top 5 for sure. But right now, for me, this is the best win ever. And not just because of what was at stake, but because of the guys and what it meant to our team and to our guys – what it meant to all of our guys. This may be the best win I've ever been associated with. The defensive effort, like you said, it was disciplined. It was eyes on your luggage. It was finishing. It was running to the ball. It was tackling. Up front, our defensive line did a very good job against their very good offensive line. So, we had them stopped a lot of times before [Derrick Henry] got started. All of those things came into play. I'll tell you; you go right to the end with the interception by Marcus [Peters]. You're going to talk about 'Yan' [Yannick] Ngakoue, and you're going to talk about, maybe, sacks or something like that. Watch him hurrying the pass right there and making that happen. So, it's a team effort across the board – it always is."
(on the defense's ability to minimize RB Derrick Henry's yards after contact) "It was a very strong effort. I thought our tackling was strong. We were strong … We were strong across the board; edges, 'Yan' [Yannick Ngakoue], all the outside 'backers – 'Phee' [Pernell McPhee] … [Matt] Judon. Oh, Matt Judon on the edges there, too. Help me out … 'Haddy' [Jihad Ward]. Jihad had the big play with the batted ball. So, we were on the edges and the inside – Derek [Wolfe] will tell you more about that. But that kind of physicality … So, he [Derrick Henry] didn't really get great momentum downhill. Then we were able to hit him with multiple helmets and take him back, and that's what you have to do."
(on QB Lamar Jackson's 48-yard touchdown run and the effect it had on the team) "That's one of the best runs I've ever seen. It's the best run I've ever seen by a quarterback. I think it's even greater than the Cincinnati run he had a year or two ago. That was just a phenomenal play. What effect it had? I think it had a big effect on it; it just got us back in the game. We needed points at that point. It got us back in the game. Psychologically, I really don't know, but it made me feel a lot better – I can tell you that."
(on why this win is one of the best he's experienced) "I would probably have to think about it. I'm just going to say because it had so much meaning for our guys and for us together. The things that we've been through together this year and how our guys have responded, how our leaders have led and how our guys have stuck together. All the things that really matter, all the things that aren't always counted on the scoreboard, but are counted in life, that you remember for the rest of your life, those are the things that give it meaning."