Quotes: Texans at Ravens

Coaches and players from the Texans and Ravens answered questions from the media after the Divisional Round playoff game in Baltimore.

Head coach Gary Kubiak
Linebacker Brian Cushing
Running back Arian Foster
Wide receiver Andre Johnson
Wide receiver Jacoby Jones
Cornerback Johnathan Joseph
Center Chris Myers
Linebacker Brooks Reed
Linebacker DeMeco Ryans
Defensive end J.J. Watt
Quarterback T.J. Yates

Head Coach Gary Kubiak
(on starting the game with turnovers) "We did the one thing we couldn't do to come in here and win and still got beat by four [turnovers]. We had four turnovers and then you don't give yourself a chance. Right now, with our football team, if we don't turn the ball over, we are pretty tough to beat. But we put ourselves in a tough position early in the game, and ultimately, they did us in again, in the fourth quarter, so that's disappointing."

(on WR Jacoby Jones' fumble) "There's no excuse. He shouldn't even be around the ball once that happens. Just made a mistake, I don't know what to say. It's just a mistake. We basically gave them 10 points early in the game with the interception and that fumble. And then late in the game, 17-13, we had a couple of excellent opportunities as a team and weren't able to get it done."

(on whether the Texans outplayed the Ravens after the first quarter) "I don't ever go there as a coach. They won the game. They deserve the credit. Defensively, we played excellent all day long, no doubt about that. Offensively, I thought we played our way back into the game very well, especially in the second quarter. We had a nice drive in the third quarter, had a chance to make a really big play to Andre [Johnson, WR] on third-and-6 early in the third quarter that we didn't make. When it's all said and done, there are a lot of good things we did as a team, but you've got to give them credit. It's about moving to the next game, and they made the plays. Congratulations to them."

(on what QB TJ Yates saw on the last interception) "The one where he was trying to throw to Kevin [Walter, WR]? I think we had third-and-long there, eight to 10, something like that, we called two deep and they were carrying Kevin and OD [Owen Daniels, TE]. Kevin's trying to bend to the post, we're trying to get him the ball. The thing I told him [TJ Yates] right there, it's a moot point right now, but I said 'your team's still in a great position. Even if we don't make that first down, there are seven minutes left. We punt them, we bury them in their own end, we're okay.' Those are just things a young guy is going to learn. It's just a tough day to learn it."

(on how QB TJ Yates played today) "I think it's kind of how he's been playing for eight weeks. He made a lot of great plays in the game, and he made a lot of mistakes. Fortunately for us during the course of the eight weeks, his mistakes were not necessarily interceptions. Today they were interceptions. You can't coach a kid enough, as a quarterback, about how good No. 20 [S Ed Reed] is in the middle of the field and what you need to do to control him. He found out the hard way today. Ed made some great plays back there."

(on how the defense played) "They were tremendous. They got put in some very tough situations. We had a couple balls on the ground that could have gone our way. We could have gotten a few turnovers that we didn't get in the game. [LB Brian] Cushing tipped the ball one time that almost stuck in his hands, like JJ's [JJ Watt, DE] at the beginning of the fourth quarter. They played extremely well. We played hard. I'm very proud of our effort. We just didn't play clean enough to move on to next week."

(on whether it stings to know the game was within reach) "If we don't turn it over, maybe this get together right now is a little different. But the fact is, it isn't. That's what is so hard. It's very difficult. If you prepare for a week or prepare for the game, our preparation as a team has been all about doing the things we do. If we do these things, we'll have an excellent chance to win, and when it's all said and done, we didn't do that today, because we didn't protect the ball."

(on the stop by ILB Tim Dobbins on the fourth-and-one) "That was a tremendous stop. And then we came out, and I tried to put the ball up, trying to make a big play and get out of the hole. We weren't able to get out of there, but I thought Andre [Johnson, WR] played excellent today. I don't know what types of statistics he had, but I thought he made some plays for us. Arian [Foster, RB] ran the ball extremely well. We just needed a few more guys to step up and make plays. We just didn't find them."

(on the Neil Rackers field goal that fell short) "We had a marker. We felt like we were fine going that way, from that spot. I think the ball hit the crossbar. Am I right? Obviously, you always think what happens if I punt there? What do you do? We had a mark there, and we were inside of it, so we felt like he [K Neil Rackers] could get it there, we just didn't get it there."

(on TJ Yates' decision to go deep on the last interception) "There were two minutes left, and we actually had a different play called, but if we catch a certain coverage, if they play man free or play us in one safety, then we take a shot outside. They did, so they gave us a chance to make a big play. I want to go try to make it. We had a one-on-one with Andre [Johnson, WR]. We just didn't hold Ed [Reed, S] in the middle of the field. We let him go get there. The kid's in the right play with the ball, we just didn't hold Ed in the middle of the field. Attacking coverage, you never know where the ball is going to go. That coverage told us to try and take a shot, playing one safety."

(on how special the season was) "It's hard to look at that today. Obviously I'm very proud of the organization, the players, everything we went through this year, to be here today playing, to have an excellent chance to win and move on, it says a lot about the character of the organization. I'm very proud from that standpoint. It just stings right now, but we'll talk more about that over the course of the next few days."

(on whether the loss stings more because of the turnovers) "Getting beat stings for me all the time, I don't care how it happens. But you are right, you've got a group of guys in [the locker room] right now that knows we were a couple of mistakes away from winning, so it makes it a little tougher. When you get beat in this business, there's usually a reason you get beat."

(on the sacks and big plays from two rookies, DE JJ Watt and OLB Brooks Reed) "They haven't played like rookies. They've been excellent all year long. They've played their best football over the course of the past five or six weeks. They've been exceptional, and what a bright future to look forward to. It's very exciting and very painful at the same time."

(on how dangerous WR Torrey Smith is and how to cover him with CB Johnathan Joseph) "I thought he did a job. [WR Anquan] Boldin's the one who made the big plays on us, came up with some big plays. Kareem [Jackson, CB] was in position a few times, and they found ways to make the play on the ball. You look at the overall picture of our defense on the night, and I don't know what we could have done better, other than get some turnovers. We did have a couple of chances to do that, but the ball didn't bounce our way."

(on the play of the offensive line) "I thought we did a good job. They actually played us different today than the last time we were in here. We gave Arian [Foster, RB] room to run and make some plays. Like I said, we had ourselves in position, we just couldn't close the deal."

(on RB Arian Foster's play today) "He was exceptional. He's the bell cow for our offensive football team. He played exceptional last week. He was exceptional today. He did his part. It's just a shame we couldn't give him a few more chances."

(on how the Ravens' defense played differently this time) "They didn't pressure us as much as they did the first time. The first time, they came after us a great deal. They did not do that today, so we had some adjusting to do there about midway through the first quarter. That's the biggest thing I can say."

LB Brian Cushing
(on forcing fumbles but not recovering)  "Yea, that's football. Sometimes they go your way, sometimes they don't. It seems like Baltimore has done this for so long, making big plays. It's just tough. We didn't do it today, but overall, I don't think we could have played any better."

(on the feeling that the season is over) "It's weird because the last couple of years, the last game we knew our season was over. This is, you win, and you keep going. You lose, and that's it. I don't think anyone wants to stop playing football. I think this is a different feeling than we've ever had in this locker room, it's a hungry feeling and a bunch of guys that want to be the best, and I think, if anything, it's a ton of momentum going forward."

(on making sure they pressured Flacco) "We knew it was important for us because no quarterback likes to get hit. We knew if we did that, it completely disrupts their passing game. We were able to limit the run, and if we do that, it really disrupts their whole purpose."

(on if the Texans can be a Super Bowl contender next year) "I'm sure we're going to be a better team, and obviously, a Super Bowl is going to be the goal. But at the same time, you've got to have short goals. We're going to keep it simple. We're going to go into OTAs and try to be the best team that we can."

(on the key to stopping Ray Rice) "Just being physical and being tough and really attacking them and trying to play faster. They're not such a complex offense where they do a lot of different things. They're going downhill a lot of times, and we're going downhill right at them, and I think it was frustrating them a lot."

(on how tough it is for the season to end and start thinking about next year) "None of us want to stop playing with the possibility of going to New England next week. Unfortunately, we're not, and Baltimore is. That's part of the game, and this is the first time in a while where I'm done with my last game, and I don't want to stop playing. I think that's going to be something else on the minds of these guys going into next season."

RB Arian Foster
(on the Ravens' defense and his performance) "It's fun to look at moral victories, but out there, we didn't get the win, and it's just extremely disappointing. It's hard to say at this point. We didn't get the win. We gave it our best shot, but the beautiful thing about this thing we have in Houston is that it can only go up from here. Houston should be excited about it. I'm excited about it, and this franchise is excited about it."

(on the Texans' year) "Everybody sees the potential this team has now. I think we gained a little respect from the league this year, and it only continues to grow from here. We have a young team, a talented team, and I think the upside is tremendous. I'm going to take this offseason and relax a little bit, and then my mind is on next year already."

(on the early turnovers) "You can't turn the ball over, especially against a team that has a defense like them. They're very opportunistic, and they're very tough. You can't turn the ball over, and we did that. Still, at the end, we had a chance to tie it up and put it away, but we didn't execute. That's on us. I have broad shoulders, and I can take responsibility for a lot of what happened out there. It's a tough loss. We're growing as an organization, and it feels good to be part of it."

(on the four turnovers) "It just shows what we're capable of as a team. If you turn the ball over four times, you're not even supposed to be in the game, and you know we were in it. My hat's off to our defense. Our defense played unbelievable. In this game and this year, they kept us in so many ball games. I'm a little disappointed as an offense that we couldn't help them out. We couldn't do the things we had to do to make them successful and get the respect that they deserve. What those guys did on the other side of the ball was tremendous. You hear about the Ravens' defense, you hear about Pittsburgh, you hear about all these other defenses, and we're right there with them, and we don't get that respect."

(on WR Jacoby Jones) "I haven't talked to him but he's been a playmaker for us, and he's one of my brothers on this team. One play does not decide a game – it just doesn't. I'm going to tell him that when I see him on the plane. I'm just excited about next year. I can't wait to get back to work, get around the guys and see the kind of moves we make. I just can't wait. I love this team. I love my guys. I love the city of Houston."

WR Andre Johnson
(on the Texans' year) "It's a disappointment. We aren't happy just making the play-offs and being satisfied. When we came into the locker room, there was quiet. Guys are hurt. We feel like we were just a play away from winning the game. We weren't able to make a play. Everybody was happy that we made it [the play-offs]. At the same time, there was a bigger picture. We didn't come into this game planning on losing. We were going out to win it. We fought our butts off and we just came up short."

(on the four turnovers) "Anytime you turn the ball over four times, you don't want that to happen. We turned the ball over four times and still had a chance to win the game. When you're playing, you don't think about how many turnovers you have, you try to move onto the next play. We just didn't get the job done."

(on the Texans' future) "I'm very hopeful. Once we all came together after the game, guys were telling guys that everybody needs to be at off-season workouts, work towards achieving that big goal. Guys are motivated and at the same time, guys are disappointed because of what happened today. But at the same time, being this was our first time, it was a great learning experience for us and when we come back and get in this position again, we'll know how to deal with it."

(on WR Jacoby Jones' fumble) "All you can tell him is just forget about it and move on. You can't let those plays linger because you'll continue to have mistakes."

(on this season's injuries) "Nobody really gave us a shot. Nobody even thought that we would win a playoff game. But we proved a lot of people wrong. I think if it would have happened to any other team, they wouldn't be in this same situation that we were in. We did some positive things. We overcame a lot of obstacles, a lot of adversity and we just came up short today."

WR Jacoby Jones
(on his mishandling the punt) "The way it bounced – I wasn't trying to get us pinned down there. I was really trying to hurry and grab it and get down, but it hit off my facemask, and I let it roll. Of course, I'm upset about it. It's a turnover. That's a play we didn't make, and they went down and scored. The defense played lights out, and I think that touchdown they scored is off me."

(on putting this one behind him) "I have to wait until we get back on the field. That's a long offseason. But it will make me hungry. Believe me – it will make me hungry."

(on what he was thinking during the punt) "I was just trying to grab it and get down, so we wouldn't get pinned. It's a loss. It's all or nothing and go home."

(on the game) "It's an emotional game. When you come into a roll like this, you have to play with poise. Those guys made one play that we didn't make."

CB Johnathan Joseph
(on being assigned to WR Torrey Smith) "We came into the game with the idea of stopping Torrey Smith. He really hurt us the last time. Our job is to execute the gameplan, and we did shut him down. However, they scored more points than we did, so our defense was obviously not good enough."

(on the future of the team) "It's no excuse. The reality of the situation is that we lost this game. But we're going to get better every year. The sooner we can get back on field, the better. This is our first time around on the playoffs, and I know that we will be back. The sky is the limit for this team."

(on who will win the Ravens' game against New England) "It doesn't matter to me who wins. I have no rooting interest. It's not my place to make predictions."

C Chris Myers
(on how tough a loss this is) "Everything leads back to the turnovers. We grinded it out, but we just didn't get it done. We played hard, but they are a tremendous team. We had four turnovers, and we were still in the game at the end. That says a lot about our team."

(on playing at M&T Bank Stadium) "We're just going to build on this experience. This is a tough pill to swallow. We knew coming in here, it would be tough. We played well, and we could have won."

(on facing OLB Terrell Suggs and DT Haloti Ngata) "Those two guys are perennial All-Pros. That whole defense has so much quality talent. Our line really played well today. We didn't do anything special. We just played well together."

LB Brooks Reed
(on the key to the defense's dominant play) "Me and J.J. [Watt} were on the same side in our 4-3 package. We tried to mix it up a lot this whole game and give the offensive line different looks."

(on if he could tell the moves confused the Ravens offense) "It was a combination of our secondary doing a good job of covering down the field. A few of those sacks were coverage sacks. There should have been more times that we should have gotten [Flacco] down. I would just like to credit our secondary on how well they played. That's a good sign of a good secondary when the quarterback stays in the pocket."

(on his thoughts on losing this game) "It sucks. It's a really weird feeling knowing that you're not playing football. We've been doing this for the past 25 weeks. I feel for the older guys and Mario [Williams]. I know it must have killed him to be watching on the sideline. But I was out there playing my hardest, just trying to fill in for him. I feel bad for all the vets because we all thought that we had a special team that could take it all the way, and it sucks that we fell short."
LB DeMeco Ryans

(on if their defense matched the Ravens) "I definitely feel we were right there. They weren't overly better than us. They just made plays and got turnovers, and we didn't."

(on if he feels the Texans still should have won) "Absolutely. We still had a chance to close it out. Tonight, we just couldn't find a way to get it done. I credit our guys. This team fought to the end, and gave it up for each other. We have a special group here. I'm proud of the way guys stepped it up and fought today."

(on getting pressure on Flacco) "It was good. We got good pressure on him. We got a lot of hits on him, and that's exactly what we wanted to do. But at the end of the day, we have to find a way to get the ball out more because they beat us in turnovers, and we weren't able to get any, even though we were back there. I feel we have to knock a few balls out and get our offense on a short field, and it would have been better for us."

(on if he feels they're walking away from a game they should've won) "I definitely feel we should have won this game. But at the end of the day, they made plays to close out the game, and we didn't. And that was the difference. We were right there, right there in it. It's just disappointing that we couldn't be on the other side."

(on if this game represented their season) "We knew it was going to be a fight until the end, and guys kept punching. Everybody was giving it their all, and that's what you ask for. You just have to find a way to make one more play."

(on stopping the Ravens on fourth-and-one late in the fourth quarter) "It was a great job by the defense standing up. It's fourth-and-one, it's crunch time. The season is on the line, and we have to do everything in our might to give the offense the ball back, and we did that. We gave them a chance to go close it out, and Ed Reed made a good play at the end."

DE J.J. Watt
(on the loss to the Ravens) "This hurts because we put everything we had into this game, but we are very proud of our season, and we're excited about our offseason."

(on how well Texans' defense played) "Our defense took away their running game, and we put a lot of pressure on their passer. But give them credit – they made enough plays to win. They went away from many of their tendencies, and we had to adjust. We did play much better in the second half."

(on the Ravens' fumbles) "It's very tough when you see the ball on the ground, and you don't get it. They must have fumbled two or three times and got the ball back. If we had gotten one or two of them, it would have been a different game."

(on the Texans' goal-line stand) "That was a huge play. That's the type of play that wins playoff games and turns momentum. Unfortunately, we didn't take advantage of it."

(on how he feels about the team's future) "This loss really stings right now. But playing these two playoff games was great motivation for us. We were only a few plays away from going to the {AFC] Championship game, so we're very excited about where we are, but this one hurts for all of us. And it hurts for all of our fans."

QB T.J. Yates
(on all of the Texans' turnovers) "We had a couple of chances to go ahead, but we just hurt ourselves with turnovers. We gave them the ball in great places to score, and they did. Without those turnovers, we had a great chance to win. Obviously, we need to do a better job protecting the football."

(on the tough environment in M&T Bank Stadium) "This is a tough place to play. We knew that coming in here. The crowd is very, very loud. The weather was cold and windy, but I thought we handled it well. Playing this team in this environment is an experience that will help all of us in the future."

(on the last eight weeks as starting quarterback) "I learned a lot very quickly, and I felt like I made a lot of progress week to week. I know how to play the game much better than I did several weeks ago."

(on the impact of S Ed Reed) "I knew we were facing one of the best defenses around, and I learned pretty quickly that just because I read the right coverage, it may not work. Ed Reed makes up for so much. He is all over the place. You may be making the right read, but Ed Reed will make a play anyway. He taught a lesson today."

(on the second quarter dominance) "We came in at halftime knowing we had a great chance to win this game. Our offensive line did a great job protecting me, and we were able to run the ball well. But turnovers killed our opportunity to win, and that's what hurts now."

Baltimore Ravens
Head coach John Harbaugh
Center Matt Birk
Wide receiver Anquan Boldin
Quarterback Joe Flacco
Linebacker Ray Lewis
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata
Safety Ed Reed
Running back Ray Rice
Linebacker Terrell Suggs
Cornerback Lardarius Webb
Tight end Kris Wilson

Head Coach John Harbaugh
(opening statement) "First of all, on the injuries, we got through okay. We'll have to check on Ed [Reed]. But, apparently, he seems like he's in pretty good shape. The two guys who had the issues that were really nip and tuck before the game were the linebackers – Brendon [Ayanbadejo] and Jameel [McClain]. They got through the game okay. So, that's where we stand with that. As far as the victory…First of all, congratulations to our football team. You win the game no matter what. That's what it really boils down to in a situation like this. This football team won the game no matter what. It wasn't perfect by any stretch, but they found a way to win the football game. And, then, Houston is just a tremendous football team. I hope everyone understands that nationally and really over here, what kind of football team that is. We studied their run game pretty much through the whole offseason. Those guys are as advertised. Their defense was the no. 2 ranked defense in the National Football League this year. As advertised. That's a really good football team. They made plays when they had to. They stopped us when they needed to, and when we needed to get something done. But, at the end, we found a way to win the football game."

(on the ability of the team to capitalize on turnovers) "That was obviously the key of the game. First of all, the turnovers – the four turnovers were huge. That's the difference in football games, especially, at this time of year. You have to do the important things right. There are a number of things we need to work on. We're excited about the things that went well. We're confident about the things that went well, but we're humbled about the things that we need to improve on. Those are the things that you're talking about. The fact that we capitalized on turnovers and that we got turnovers, were probably the key to the game."

(on if it was a tough decision to go for it on the goal line) "It wasn't tough at all. It was easy."

(on what the Ravens can do better on short yardage situations to pick up the first down) "I think we can execute better. We can block a little bit better. That's probably the biggest thing. I thought we ran it up in there pretty good, for the most part. Really good defensive front. Linebackers crash up in gaps and things like that. We need to find a way to get those guys blocked. They had a number of all out line blitzes in the second half against us, in those situations. It wasn't just the third and short situations. Even in the situation where we threw the ball a couple of times down in there, from a time management perspective, you would have liked to have run the ball and keep the clock running if you don't get the first down. But, those are all out run-blitz situations where our quarterback made a decision to throw the ball there, and it was a good decision because you have one-on-one coverage out there. If you make the catch, and you run for a touchdown, its game over, rather than running into an all out blitz. That's football. That's the ebb-and-flow of football. That's what execution is all about. Those are the things we are humbled by, and we have to keep working on it."

(on the two pass plays…) "That's just what I'm talking about. Those were all out run blitzes."

(on Ed Reed's performance) "Thanks for asking me about Ed Reed. He's one of the premier players in football. He has been since he got into the League, from day one. He does everything. He returns punts, and he rushes punts when we ask him to. He plays defense. He tackles, even though some people don't think he tackles. He tackles a lot. Look at how many tackles he has this year. But, then he comes up with the plays, and he made that play at the end. I'm sure glad we have him. He's a great player. He's a great person."

(on if he was nervous that Joe Flacco was under so much pressure) "I don't know what the term is for it. But, that's not what you want, obviously. I thought Joe did a great job under fire. That's a really good pass rush team. It's a premier pass rush team, and we didn't do a great job always of blocking. But, at other times we did. I thought Joe did a really nice job of protecting the ball in the pocket, stepping up and making a couple of throws. But, when we did get sacked, minimizing the negative play, and making sure we punted when we were finished. So, I give Joe a lot of credit on that."

(on if it's time to win the AFC Championship, the team's third appearance in four years) "It's always time to go ahead and win one. That goes for this game and every game, Championship game, opener. It's time to go ahead and win."

(on if he feels the team needs to have a better offense against the Patriots) "I think you have to do whatever you have to do to win a football game. I would anticipate, against the team we're about the play, you have to do a better job offensively, in terms of numbers and stats and points, of course, than we did today. We'll see how that plays out throughout the course of the game. That's what the humility is all about. It's about to going to work on those things and trying to improve those things, recognizing what a really good job the team did against us today. But, it's about looking forward. We're not looking behind us. We're not looking to either side. We're just looking forward to the next challenge, and that's the one we'll be going after."

(on if the team's 17-3 start in the first quarter changed the play calling the rest of the game) "I think if you look at it, it didn't. We stayed aggressive. We continued to throw the ball. Sometimes we were successful, sometimes we weren't. I think we had a good mix of run and pass throughout the course of the game, with mixed success. Our whole idea was to continue to try and attack them and see if we could build on that lead. Unfortunately, we weren't able to do that."

(on if he carries the message to the team that they have won before in Foxborough) "I don't think that's really the message so much. I think our guys understand that. We've played there a lot. It seems like every time we play them, it's there. They've earned the home field this week. They are a great football team. They have great players. They're very well coached. We know, because we've been there so often, what kind of challenge that entails. They've beaten us plenty of times there, too. They understand that. It's going to be a heck of a football game. It's going to be our job to make sure we make it that."

(on his recent conversations with brother Jim Harbaugh) "We talked last night after the game. He was pretty happy. I was happy for him. But, I couldn't get quite as happy as he was. He was fired up, and I think he was really proud of his team. I'm proud of him. I'm proud of Jim. I'm proud of his staff over there. But, I haven't been thinking that much about him, to be honest with you."

(on if he is happy to have Anquan Boldin back) "Anquan made huge plays in critical situations down the field, on the sideline. [His ability] to make the catches in those situations was important."

(on Ray Lewis' performance) "I've always said it, to me, it's not any different than what he's been doing the last few weeks. He's a great player. He's Ray Lewis. He's our leader, and I'm sure glad he's on our side."

(on if recovering the first fumble on the punt energized the team) "Well, it was huge. [We had] the ball on the three yard line. Cary Williams – he's a starting corner, and he goes out there and plays gunner. He causes a fumble. I think it was Jimmy Smith – he's a starter in our nickel package. He goes out there and recovers the fumble. Credit to those guys. It was a huge play for us, and then, obviously, capitalizing on the offense."

(on if he is concerned when Ed Reed goes down after an injury that he won't get back up) "I'm always concerned when anybody goes down. But, Ed especially, because he's a really good player. The best players are the ones you're most concerned about, usually. That's a joke! But, Ed's a tough guy, and that's who Ed Reed is."

C Matt Birk
(on pregame rumors that he was retiring after this season) "I don't know; it could be 100-percent true or it could be zero percent true, and there's probably no in between (laughter). No, I haven't made that decision yet, and I don't know Charley Casserly. I don't even know who he is, I don't know him, he didn't talk to me, and that's all I can say."

(on whether those rumors emerged because he contemplated retirement before this season) "Yeah, I don't think it's unique for someone in my situation to contemplate it, but I'm just focused on the moment, on the now. I've done it for a while, and nothing is guaranteed in this game. You don't know when your last play is going to be, or your last game, and things happen, life happens. I just worry about the now, and after the season there will be plenty of time to figure out what I'm going to do next year."

(on the challenges presented by Houston's front seven) "No doubt. They're a very good front, and we knew that coming in; we played them before. And they have a system, they do some unique things, but they also have very good football players over there, and they do what they do well. We would have liked to have won more battles up front today, that's for sure, but obviously, the important thing is we got the win. And I guess our good thing is tomorrow in meetings we'll have plenty of things to look at and plenty of things to work on this week to get better at."

(on next week being a challenge going to New England) "Yeah, I mean, they're the Patriots. They're like the New York Yankees; great team, been great for a long, long time, and we're going up there to play them. But the road to the ultimate goal for any team is very hard, very difficult, and you have to meet all the challenges."

WR Anquan Boldin
(on getting back on the field) "It was great especially after missing the last two games of the season. It felt really good."

(on what his presence provided the offense today) "Hopefully, a spark. For me, my vision is much bigger than this game. I came here for one reason and one reason only, to win a championship. We felt like Houston was in our way today and we wanted to go out and make enough plays to win."

(on winning when things are going as well for the offense) "It's always good. The defense played their butts off and the special teams made their plays. We did what we had to in order to win."

(on whether the offense has work to do) "It's just a few tweaks. If we execute here and there we will be alright."

(on Houston's defense playing differently than in the regular season) "They definitely played us differently. They probably didn't match Joseph [Jonathan] with me because of my knee injury, they followed me with #25 [Kareen Jackson] and #30 [Jason Allen] and they tried to get a safety up over top of me."

(on whether he was a 100% today) "Yes. I went to Joe [Flacco] before the game and said, if you see me in one-on-one coverage, just throw it up and I'll make a play. Fortunately, he was able to do that."

(on his touchdown) "It was pretty much game planned that anytime we lined up in a close split in the red zone, the safety always came down with me and the corner would replace him over the top. The play before that we ran a run play and I cracked down on the safety. We came back with the same action, and I got the corner to shuffle his feet for just a second, and like you said, Joe made a great throw."

QB Joe Flacco
(on whether he thought he would be throwing a touchdown pass to TE Kris Wilson) "You never know when it's going to come, so I definitely wouldn't have predicted it."

(on what happened on the touchdown pass) "Yes, I got tripped a couple of times, I think, by Vonta [Leach]. I'm going to have to talk to him about that. I reversed out to make the play fake to Ray [Rice], and I kind of got hit by him, I think. And when I came around, the guy was bit up a little bit, and I think if I would have let the play draw out, he might have been able to go meet Kris [Wilson] at the point. That's why I tried to get the ball out of my hands as quickly as I could and put it on his back shoulder. He actually ended up making a really nice catch on it."

(on if he anticipated that much pressure from the Texans' defensive line) "You never know, but we knew that they had a good front seven that could create a pass-rush. There were a few times today that they had a good pass-rush, and they were able to get to me just by bringing their four guys. They didn't bring pressure on those plays. I don't think I anticipated it, but at the same time, we knew that we had to take care of that part of their game."

(on playing in the AFC Championship in New England) "We've gone out there and played before. We've gone on the road and played a championship game since I've been here. We didn't win that game. We have won in New England. They are one of the teams, just like us, that's tough to beat at home. They play very well up there, but we know how tough it is to go into a place like that, a place like here, and win a football game. So we're going to have to make sure we prepare well all week and bring our A-game up there."

(on whether he thinks the offense is going to have to score a lot to win) "As an offense, an offensive guy, I would think so. At the same time, we have a good defense. The way they've played all year, the way they've played in the past, they put points on the board. So I think as an offense, you have to go in there and put points on the board too."

(on if the offense was getting frustrated and if the Texans' defense was doing something different after the first quarter) "I don't think they were doing stuff too differently. They're a good defense. You have to be patient sometimes with them. We got some turnovers early on that allowed us to put the ball in the end zone or have the chance to put the ball in the end zone, and we were able to capitalize on them. That ended up being a pretty big part of the game. It can be frustrating. I don't think any of us got too frustrated about it, we just kind of played on and let it play out. I think we did a pretty good job. Obviously, we had pretty good help from our defense with the turnovers and not letting those other guys get any more points."

(on having WR AnquanBoldin back) "Yeah, he brings that energy. Obviously, he was able to catch a couple balls early on and move the chains a little bit for us. I think anytime you get a guy back like that, everybody on our offense sees that and gains confidence from it and gains a little bit more energy from it."

(on why the offense had trouble moving the ball after the first quarter) "You can probably see it. They did a good job stopping the run. They put pressure on me. They did a good job. I think we had that one drive where we ended up kicking the field goal. We wished we had gotten a touchdown out of that, but they're a good defense. We probably need to clean up some things on offense, so when we look at the film, we'll look at it and see what we need to do."

(on the differences in playing quarterback at home in the playoffs) "Obviously, I think, when you're playing a game on the road, you're not really thinking about that too much. You go in there, and you play football. The biggest thing is when little things start to maybe go against you a little bit, their crowd can get into it a little bit and possibly cause some things that if you were at home wouldn't happen. Last year, up in Pittsburgh, we fumbled a snap because we couldn't hear, nobody could hear. We were just off with it. If we were at home, if we would have beat Pittsburgh last year, that would have never happened because everybody would have been able to hear my voice clearly. I don't think you think about too much of it. At the end of the game, I think you can probably pick a couple things out that would have happened."

LB Ray Lewis
(on the AFC Championship game and Tom Brady) "I take my hat off to my team. All of the ups and downs we have been through. For us to have the opportunity to go back to the Super Bowl, you can't ask for anything more. We played a very, very tough team today. We knew what kind of battle we were in for and for us to come out the way we did and rally in the first half, and then with our defense in the second half. You really have to take your hat off to our team."

(on whether or not he wore his ring to remind his teammates about the Super Bowl) "I think it's bigger than just reminding them, it's also there to remind me about what it's really all about. Sometimes when I do my cheap little push-ups and sit-ups, I think about those things."

(on whether or not the Ravens have to be a better team next week to neat the Patriots) "I think all we have to do is be the team that we are. You don't take anything from one week to next week. It's the 24 hour rule, win, lose or draw. You're going to see a totally different Ravens team next week because we are playing a totally different team next week in the New England Patriots. And that's the way the playoffs are. I sat there last night and watched the San Francisco game and I was like 'what in the world?' It's a four point game and then all of the sudden there were 28 points scored in the last four minutes in the game. But that's just the irony of sports. You can go up and down that rollercoaster. I think Bill [Belichick] and Tom [Brady] know that they are going to see a totally different team, just like we know we are going to see a totally different team next week."

(on the rivalry with New England) "It's going to be a great challenge for both of us. We've played the Patriots several times, and the games always come down to being classic. Brady is one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time and there is no better mind in football than Bill Belichick. So with all of that being said, here is our opportunity. "

(on Joe Flacco not getting enough credit for the team's wins) "Like I told Joe, no one wins games by themselves. We are in this as a family; we are in this as a team. Nothing on the outside matters. What matters is what we think on the inside of this building and what we feel about him and the confidence we have in him. Everything else, you can throw out the window. Joe has come in and led us to the playoffs in each of the last four years. If that was anybody else, they would be praising him. Joe Flacco has done a heck of a job getting us into the position to win."

(on whether he has moments talking with Ed Reed about getting older) "No, I never have those moments, because I have kids. My kids challenge me in the weight room, they challenge me in sprints, they challenge me in everything. So it's kind of hard to think about Father Time. I don't have time to think about 'when it's time to do this' or 'when it's time to do that.' When it's over, it's over. Everybody here has to appreciate that great warriors fight until the end. Those are the stories that you'll always remember.  You don't remember the stories of people going back two or three years, you remember the stories of people that carried and carried. For me to be in my 16th year, and back in the AFC Championship game, I don't just credit myself, I credit my Mom and I credit God for everything. I never stop that. I joke about it with my kids, but I can't stop working until whenever is whenever, and I don't know when that is going to be."

 (on the importance of having home field advantage ) "Huge, huge. You go across the League and I don't think there was a road team that actually won. Yeah, there wasn't a road team that won. I've said this a million times, 'the hardest thing to do in the NFL is win on the road.' It's the hardest thing to do. When you make little mistakes, it's hard to fight back from those mistakes and most of those mistakes become turnovers. Anytime we can get a home playoff game in Baltimore, that is huge. Now the AFC Championship, I feel a little different because it's for all the marbles. Everything is on the table. When we start getting these playoff games at home, I think it means a lot."

(on the play of Ed Reed despite the criticism) "Trust me when I tell you this, I pretty much listen to what nobody else says outside of our room. But when it comes to my brothers inside of our building, to me Ed Reed is one of the best safeties that I've ever played with and will go down as one of the best safeties to ever play the game. When people talk about the age - [former Ravens safety] Rod Woodson, as great as he was, Rod Woodson won his first Super Bowl at 36 years old. That's how long it can take for a legacy to be complete, but he completed it. No matter what people said, he couldn't do it anymore, you don't listen to those people. Those people are the ones you put up on your bulletin board. You will always remember them in the back of your head. The confidence that we have in each other I think is more overwhelming than you can ever imagine."

(on if playing in the AFC Championship game is the reason you play football) "The only reason you play this game, the only reason you play this game, is for the opportunity to go to the Super Bowl. We have that opportunity right now. Whatever anybody wants to say about us, we are in position. There are two teams left in the AFC, just us and the Patriots. Next week that's going to take care of itself."

(on facing Tom Brady) "The ultimate. It's just one of those rivalries. Every time that we saw each other, it always comes down to a classic rivalry. I wouldn't expect anything else and I don't think they are going to expect anything different as well."

DT Haloti Ngata
(on the physical match up today) "Houston is known for running the ball really well. In the first half they did a really good job getting some yards on us. We came out in the second half and got better."

(on half-time adjustments) "We didn't really make a lot of them. It was more of us just having to be fundamentally sound. Sometimes we were getting caught backside or over pursuing. We just had to trust each other that we were going to do our jobs. We did much better in the second half."

(on Houston's pass protection) "They got the ball out pretty quick most of the time. It was a great game plan for them. They know Yates [TJ] is a rookie and they probably protected him a little bit with getting the ball out quick. They also did very well with play action. They did a great job of adjusting and changing up the plays on us."

(on getting more pass rush against the Patriots) "We just have to have a great week of practice and work on getting to the quarterback. We have to study well and try to get some."

(on turnovers being the difference in the game) "It was huge. If we didn't get any of those turnovers it would probably be a different game. We're just lucky we have those guys back there that can catch the ball. Hopefully, we can continue to do that."

(on his forced fumble) "If we would have gotten that one, it certainly would have been a big turnover for us. They got it back, but we got off the field and it kind of kept that momentum on our side."

S Ed Reed
(on his ankle that he hurt at the end)  "I'll be all right. I'll get treatment, go get treatment, and I'll be ready to go. I rolled my ankle, pinched it real bad or what-not. I was able to walk off at the end, once it was all said and done, go talk to Andre and those guys. Hard-fought game, you know, we knew it was going to be that. Houston's a good team. They've been a good team for a long time. Without [Matt] Schaub and Mario Williams, it'd have been a totally different ballgame. So hats off to those guys. They fought their tails off."

(on if he hurt his shoulder earlier in the game) "I came down on something else. My shoulder actually held up, which I knew I was, just hitting guys today. Better tackling game than I had in the last couple ones, been getting a little criticism on that, but it comes with the territory."

(on if it's more of a sense of relief than joy to get through this game) "I wouldn't say that because it's playoffs. It's winning by any means necessary. That's what it's got to be. It's got to be a team effort, and that's what it was today against a great football team."

(on playing against T.J. Yates and what he saw) "I saw a guy that grew up within a couple weeks time. Honestly, he made some throws, and then they gave themselves a chance to win right there at the end. You can't ask for anything [more] than that against a defense like ours and being a young quarterback. They actually had more yards total than our offense. So you've got to say hats off to those guys."

(on if the defense carried the load) "We feel like we're the big brother so [to speak] of the team, but our offense will get going. We knew that. We knew they would make plays when they needed to. It's not going to always be a blow-out or a shoot-out game. It's going to be hard fought. It takes a team effort. It's not just offense out there on the field or defense on the field or special teams. It took a team effort. Great plays on special teams. We capitalized on some plays, and they did, too. We just made more."

(on his thoughts on next week) "It's going to be hard-fought. These guys are a great football team. I was fortunate enough to see them win in New Orleans back in the day; my first Super Bowl I went to and a huge fan of coach Belichick, everybody knows that – and Brady. He's one of the best to ever play. So it's going to be hard-fought. It's going to be hard-fought and fun at the same time. Somebody's got to win and somebody's got to lose, and we both know that. We're coming, and they know it."

(on Arian Foster) "Great football player. He's a guy that you'd love to take in an alley with you. Arian Foster, got huge respect for him and what he's doing over there. To be one of those guys, not drafted high and to show young folk that you can achieve your dream if you just believe it. It's not about  first- or second-round guys, it's about believing in yourself. He's definitely one of those guys that you look up to, and you take your hat off to, because he's worked hard to get to where he's at.

(on how much better they'll need to play against the Pats on defense) "A lot better than today.A lot better than today. Like I said, they're a great football team. They make great adjustments. They have great football coaches. They have great football players that are smart and understand football, and I'm sure those guys were watching. Probably still watching the interview now to see if they can pick up on something. We look forward to it, and I'm sure, like I said, they are to."

(on the recent criticisms he's gotten regarding interceptions) "The picks haven't been coming because they don't throw my way as much. I got my hand on two or three before that, and didn't bring them home. It hasn't been like they've been trying [to throw] in my zone. You've got to watch the football game and understand what's going on. Like I said, I missed a couple tackles leading up to this game. It happens. It's part of the game. I'm also getting old. At one point, I won't be up here. You'll be interviewing another safety here in Baltimore."

on the work of Lardarius Webb)  "He's an awesome player. I've actually been very hard on him the last couple of weeks because I know how good he wants to be, and I know what he can accomplish. For him to come out and make the plays that he did was awesome."

(on the TEs that New England have) "They have real good tight ends, but they've also got real good receivers out there. You got to know who's on the football field at all times, but you've got to cover your guy. Brady doesn't have a favorite target. You've got to cover everybody, and they understand football so much the way they will scheme things. They're going to go back to the years past and understand what we do as a defense and how to try to defeat it."

RB Ray Rice
(on Houston staying in the game) "We knew they were going to regroup. There were a couple of special teams plays that changed the field position, and we knew they had a special defense. It was a battle of defenses today, and our defense made the big plays."

(on Ray Lewis and Ed Reed) "I don't want to say that those guys saved their best for last, but the fact of the matter is, those two guys are the leaders on our team and they showed their mettle today."

(on the match-up next week with New England) "This is all that we have been dreaming for. We didn't look past anybody this year, and we didn't look past the Texans today. New England is definitely going to be a challenge but we are up for it."

(on the challenges that the Texans presented) "I want to give credit to the Houston Texans. That was probably the best defense I've seen all year. It was tough sledding today and we knew it was going to be a big challenge, but these opportunities don't come around too often. I've been spoiled for the last four years. I've played in every single playoff game, and this is my second AFC Championship game. These opportunities don't come by too often. Playoffs. It doesn't matter that they have a third-string quarterback. That's a good team over there and I'm never going to apologize for a win."

(on the offensive team's performance) "You always want to play a little better, and the film is not going to lie. We know we have some things to work on. They had a great pass rush and they got inside of us a little bit, but you have to take what's there and there wasn't a lot there today. Our guys did a great job of blocking them. We'll get it corrected. It's just another week that we have to get it corrected. We always like to say we strive for perfection. We realize no body is perfect but we are trying to get there."

(on playing New England ) "It's just a great opportunity. Denver was the number one rushing team in the NFL and you saw what they did to them. It's not a surprise that those guys [New England], they know how to win playoff games. They'll be ready and obviously how can you not think about the Patriots and know what Tom Brady is doing over there. They're a well-respected opponent and I'm sure they are over there saying the same things about us."

(on if the Ravens have to play their best game to beat New England) "They have to play their best game too. They know that's what the playoffs are about. If they don't play their best game, they'll get beat. If we don't play our best game, we'll get beat. And that's not taking anything away from them. There's a reason why one [New England] and two [Baltimore] are playing each other. It's not David and Goliath; we are right up there with them."

(if both teams play their best game, who will win) "If both of us play our best game? That's what Sunday will tell."

OLB Terrell Suggs
(on how this wasn't the prettiest win) "I think it was a Ravens' type victory. I always say this: 'There's a right way to do things, there's a wrong way to do things, and then there's the Ravens' way to do things.' It wasn't really pretty but hey, we're not really a pretty team. We got the 'W', and on to the AFC Championship."

(on the Patriots QB Tom Brady) "He's a great quarterback. When it's all said and done, it's going to be Johnny [Unitas], him and Peyton [Manning], end of discussion. We've got a full week to prepare for them. I guess we just get to wait and see."

(on whether Brady is one of his favorite players) "Yeah, he's definitely one of my favorites. Let's not take away from this win right now. I'm going to enjoy this win, and I'll talk to you next week about the Patriots."

(on how the defensive line played) "[The Texans offensive line] did a good job. This is a playoff game. They went out there and played playoff football. Let's not be fooled, we know exactly who the Houston Texans are. We knew they were a great team. We knew they were physical up front, and they came to play football today. They came, and I think this was just exactly what we needed. We had some success early, and they didn't back down, so you can't take anything away from the Houston Texans. They are already a contender, you already know that. [QB] T.J. Yates, he went out there, and he made some plays. He definitely showed me something. I really take my hat off to the Houston Texans. They played a phenomenal game, and I'm really impressed."

(on what he means by 'this being the type of game they needed') "It's just the type of game that we need. We can't be lackadaisical. Execution is key; we have to execute on all phases of the ball, special teams, offense, defense. It was a good team, one of the best teams in the AFC this year. We had the opportunity to get to play them twice."

(on how much better they need to be upfront against the Patriots) "We're playing against a phenomenal player, we're playing against a phenomenal team. You can't make that many mistakes, or else they're going to expose you. Like I said, we don't' play the game until next week, and I'm going to enjoy tonight."

(on whether next weeks game is a clash of styles) "Kind of. Tom Brady, he is good looking. Joe [Flacco] has got the Fu Manchu. They're a good looking team. Like I said, we are not a good looking team. We're just going to play football, and it's going to be a fun game."

(on RB Arian Fosters big day) "Like I said, he's a phenomenal back. He went to the Pro Bowl the last two years. He led the NFL last year, going to the Pro Bowl this year. He's a phenomenal back. He's a good back. He and their offensive line played good together, you have to tip your hat to them. He's a good player, and played a good game. Like I said, we tip our hat to them. I congratulate my team on the adjustments we made and doing what it took to win the game."

(on not playing their best football, and still winning the game) "Like I said, a win is a win. A playoff win, is a win. You can't take anything away from that. We played a good team; we played a really good team. You all are acting like we just beat a team that eeked into to playoffs. They were in the playoffs with three or four games to play, so they were a really good team. They came in a played a really good game. You can't take anything from them. We know there are some things that we need to correct, but then again, we won the game, and we're in the AFC Championship. We'll take that any day."

(on how big the Ravens secondary was today) "They played phenomenal. We didn't get any balls thrown over our heads, and when we did, we got to them and touched the ball. We dropped a few picks, but we also caught a few picks. Like I said, they did play phenomenal, but they've been playing phenomenal all year. When you look at it, our sack totals are because the back end has played so great. You can't take anything from them. Tip your hat off to the secondary. [Secondary coach] Teryl Austin, the job that he is doing with those guys back there, but back to the drawing board. We get to go to work on Wednesday, back to work."

CB Lardarius Webb
(on converting turnovers into points today) "It was big time. We were always talking about [how] we needed some turnovers to change this game, and the front seven played a great game today, starting with controlling Arian Foster. And whenever [Yates] passed the ball, they were on T.J.; they were pressuring him all game. And he made his throws a little light, or he didn't get to read his throws, so it made the interceptions easy on me."

(on whether watching film on him makes it easier to pick up his reads and tendencies) "Hey, if you study film, you can cover anybody. But we were just playing ball out there, communicating today and everybody knew exactly what we were doing. We weren't perfect out there today, but I think we did good enough to get the 'W'. So, we have to go back and correct some things, but turnovers were big today."

(on what he saw on his interception plays) "Well, the first one, Andre [Johnson] just ran an out-route – a nonchalant out-route – and I jumped it. The second one, I was inside, and he threw the ball inside; I just caught the ball."

(on having the mentality that they were going to make Yates win the game) "Yes, that's the number one thing, because he's been playing some good ball. He had confidence coming into this game. He was not playing like a rookie; he was playing great. And we just wanted to put some pressure on T.J. to make some of those throws to Andre [Johnson] a little harder, a little wobbly. And the front seven, I'm always taking my hats off to them, because they're amazing. They get at the quarterback and make my job easy. So, I'm happy to be a part of this team."

TE Kris Wilson
(on his touchdown) "I got open and I got an opportunity to make a play. I came off and I blocked the defensive end. Once I saw the corner go up to play Joe, I snuck in behind him. Joe found me and I make a play."

(on the physical battle with the Texans) "We knew it was going to be a physical game. We knew the game was going to be won up front. Both teams have great defensive lines, both are rush oriented teams and both defend the rush very well. We knew the game was going to be won there."

(on tight endsmaking plays in the offense) "As a tight end you are called on to do different jobs. Some of them are glamorous and some of them aren't glamorous. Today I got to do a little bit of the glamorous part which was nice."

(on having his number called) "You just got through it like you go through it in practice. Anytime your number gets called, you can't get too high or too nervous. You just have to do what you know how to do. It's the same stuff every day, just stay calm and stay focused and do what you have to do."

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