NEW ORLEANS SAINTSHead Coach Sean Payton (opening statement) "Just first off, obviously it's a disappointing loss, tough loss. You credit Baltimore. It was a hard-fought game. I thought both teams played hard and in the end, they made more plays than we did. As a result, they ended up with a win. It's disappointing, and we got to get back to work tomorrow, look at the film, make corrections as we move forward to next week. Nothing really on an injury note. We'll find out more with Jabari [Greer] later in the week."
(on passing the first six plays) "Part of it early on was to spread them out and try to substitute personnel groups, but go in with the idea that we're going to be a little more aggressive early and then, kind of mix things up and just see what the conditions were like. We felt like the weather overall was pretty good. Wasn't really a substantial wind and it was part of our plan."
(on changes for better protection in the second half) "We got into some different sets, but I thought we handled the pressures. Drew [Brees] did a good job of seeing it and the ball coming out. I thought he saw it pretty well."
(on bad tackling and Ravens RB Ray Rice)"We're doing the same thing we've been doing. I think there's a couple penalties that hurt us in those situations. I wouldn't disagree. Obviously they rushed the ball pretty well today, so we'll look to clean some of that up. He's a good back, he's a real good back, and he ran well today."
(on goal-line defense being a bright spot) "It's a big stop for us, and us being able to hold them to the field goal. There are a handful of things that I thought we played with energy. I thought we competed and we came up short. It was a hard-fought game, and we'll look hard at the film and make the corrections we need to, but I was pleased with the effort. It's tough when you play another good team, and you don't end up winning the game, but you credit Baltimore and John [Harbaugh] and his staff. They did a very good job."
(on building momentum) "We had the touchdown, the touchdown before the half. It got us back in it a little bit, and then at that point, just as we climbed a little closer, then they were able to separate themselves a little bit and we fell short."
(on first 15 minutes putting the Saint in a hole) "I don't know that the first 15 minutes put us in the hole because we went up 7-0. But after that, they were able to score, and so, it kind of went back and forth. Again, it was a hard fought game and we knew it would be. I thought both teams played with great effort, and we ended up coming out with a loss. We'll regroup and get ready for next week."
(on falling back 14 taking them out of the game plan)"Fourteen in our league is not a lot, so no."
(on Pierson Prioleau) "In a hard fought game like that, you just want to be heads up and not get a personal foul, not get caught up in all of that mentally. You want to have that discipline, and I just reminded him."
(on Will Smith getting the personal foul) "I don't know that those two incidents were tied together though. In other words, I think Pierson's [Prioleau] happened on kick return, and Will Smith's happened on defense. But again, in a game that's contested like that, you want to keep your cool, and I didn't see what the penalty was, but certainly we had a couple of those. We had a hit out of bounds that resulted in a big play on Roman [Harper]."
(on clicking during the last drive) "It's a good defense. We had the one tipped on fourth down. You know with the time left in that portion of the game, you're going to be in a hurry-up mode. We still had some timeouts. That was to our advantage. We had plenty of timeouts, so the key was just the field position and they did a good job. They've done that all year with their punt unit."
(on Chris Ivory not playing today) "We ended up holding him back, and we'll just see where he's at this upcoming week."
CB Tracy Porter(on the defense) "It wasn't up to our standards today. Those guys [the Ravens] did a great job today, capitalizing on the mistakes we made. On the missed tackles today, we let Ray Rice have a big day, and that's something we usually don't do, but those guys get paid just like we get paid, and they had a great game plan. They just executed in the moments when we were out of position."
(on Ray Rice) "He's a small guy, but the other thing is, guys were just out of position. We weren't in the best positions to make the tackles. Once we had the opportunity to tackle him, he's a pretty small and elusive guy that can get away from those tackles. So it's a combination of all those things: his talents and us being out of position."
(on Joe Flacco)"We definitely tried to get after him. He did a great job in giving the ball to [Ray] Rice. It's very frustrating having a guy right there for the sack, and he makes one little move, and he gets out of the tackle and breaks the tackle and makes a play down field."
DT Sedrick Ellis(on the defense's play)"I think our defense played well as a scheme goes. As a defense, we need to tackle better. I thought a couple times we had the guy in the perfect position, and we just didn't get him on the ground. As far as our scheme goes, we played our scheme dead on, and we played with a lot of effort and a lot of intensity, but we have to get the guy on the ground when we get our chances."
(on Joe Flacco's ability to scramble) "That's football. Like I said, we have to tackle better. We can go around and around and around, but when it comes down to it, we have to tackle. When we have them in the position where we have them, we have to get them on the ground. [Joe] Flacco, [Ray] Rice, and whoever else they have that carries the ball."
TE Jimmy Graham(on his touchdown catch where Ray Lewis was guarding him) "You know, he's an amazing player. All those guys are. Ed Reed, [Terrell] Suggs, all those guys, and to catch a touchdown against [Ray Lewis] was definitely a special moment."
(on his first touchdown catch)"I was so excited. The first guy to me was [Jeremy] Shockey, so there was a lot of emotions. To come here and start the game off like that, I thought it was going to be a pretty big day for us, but we ended up coming up short there at the end. I really don't remember a lot about the catch. A lot happened after that. Ball's in the air, and I end up getting lucky. We're definitely getting better each day, each practice, each game, so we just have to keep moving forward. It's kind of bittersweet when it comes in a loss like this."
(on the offense) "We didn't start as fast as we would have like to have. We've got to get that corrected. I'm a rookie and there's not very much that I know. I just know run and try to stay alive."
(on the passing game)"We really thought we would be able to pass, do a little no-huddle, but we were a little short at the end."
(on whether there was any talking to Ray Lewis after his touchdown) "No, no, no, no. I wouldn't talk to Ray Lewis. I'm not stupid. I come from the 'U' [University of Miami]. Obviously, I know what kind of player he is. Obviously, an amazing linebacker."
(on the Saints' usual fourth quarter comebacks) "I definitely felt it – 'here we go, let's do what we do' - but to come up short there, to get pushed back hurts you big time. We just have to get back in there and keep working."
WR Lance Moore(on his touchdown) "I knew if Drew [Brees] threw the ball up there, we had two guys over there, so there was a good shot that somebody was going to get it. Fortunately for us, I was able to make the play. I knew that Marques [Colston] was over there. He's my teammate. I knew it was going to be a tip ball drill kind of thing. All I know is that the ball was coming, I made the catch and did a little dance on the sideline."
(on the touchdown being his first catch of the game) "You have to stay alive in this game for a full 60 minutes. You never know when your time is going to be. When it is, you have to make the play."
(on the Saints being a wild card) "Our job is to do whatever it takes to set ourselves for the tournament. This doesn't end that. We have two big games coming up, and we've got to do what we can to win those games."
(on having the ball at the end of the game)"You couldn't have told me that we weren't going to score on that drive. Our offense has the confidence to go down there and score, and when we don't do that, it's obviously disappointing. We don't think that can happen."
S Roman Harper(on the defense) "We had a lot of effort but at the end of the day. Our technique in tackling, we just didn't finish. We have to wrap this back up, do a better job of it. It's one of the things that [Defensive Coordinator] Gregg [Williams] talks about all week. We just have to get it corrected. There's nothing else to blame or point or get our heads down about. It is what it is, and whenever you play a low-center of gravity back, a good guy like [Ray Rice], you've got to be able to do everything to get him down. He's one of the top backs. It's one of those things that we do. It's part of the game that they do well, so we just have to be able to counteract it. We'll learn from this thing, and we'll be better for it, too.
LB Jonathan Vilma(on missed tackles and was it credit to the runner or blame on the defense) "A little bit of both. You can never discount a guy like Ray Rice, the way he was running the ball. He did a real good job not only in the running game, but in the screen game as well. At the same time, we're out there to tackle him. That is our job. That's what we get paid to do, and we've got to do it."
(on holding the Ravens to field goals)"That's what we've done all season. We actually expect that. We don't make any bones about it."
(on giving up three touchdowns in a row)"That was a tough first half. Unfortunately, it's one of those things we just have to swallow. We've got to look at the film and get it right."
QB Drew Brees(on what the Saints can take away from the game) "We came into a hostile environment today, and we needed to find a way to win. We've been a great road team all year. We had our chances, but the Ravens played very, very well. It was a lot different from last Monday night, when we watched them against the Texans. They pressured me a lot more than they did last week. The defense played a lot less conservatively. It seemed that Houston's offense was out there a long time last Monday night. Today, the Ravens' defense was much more fresh. Considering the Ravens were coming off a Monday night road game, they played a very good game."
(on the Saints' slow start) "We had a lot of three-and-outs early in the game. We needed to drive the ball better. I was hoping we could stay out there a little longer to give our defense a rest. We were lucky to have a good drive at the end of the first half."
(on the final drive of the game)"We were just missing by a hair, trying to complete passes. That last pass was going to be a completion to Marques [Colston], but [Haloti] Ngata jumped up and got hand on it, and that was the end."
(on the next game against Atlanta)"The next two games are very big. They don't get any bigger. We play two divisional opponents [Atlanta and Tampa Bay]. We control our destiny, and we have a lot to play for. It's too early to look at the playoff picture right now, but if we are a wild card team, the road to the Super Bowl will be on the road. We can handle that."
(on the touchdown pass to Lance Moore) "I was actually throwing the ball to [Marques] Colston. He 6'5" and he was being covered by a 5'9" cornerback, so I liked my chances. The play was supposed to be a screen pass to [Jeremy] Shockey, but he was being bear hugged. It was a lot of pressure on me, so I just threw it up from Marques. He tipped it, and Lance made a phenomenal catch. He has awesome body control, and it was really a heady play. I didn't see it until they showed the replay because I was on the ground. It was amazing that he was able to stay in bounds."
(on the end of the winning streak) "We played a great team on the road today, and we came up short. We did some good things today, we just didn't do enough of them. We won six in a row, now we just need to finish it off with two more wins."
S Darren Sharper(on Ray Rice) "He runs really hard. He's a low-to-the-ground guy. He's small and compact. That makes him tough to tackle. The way they use him in the passing game makes him a complete back. He's versatile, and he has good speed to get to the outside."
(on the difference in the game) "The bottom line is that we didn't stop the run. We know we can play with this team. It seemed like penalties at bad times of the game hurt us, but we just didn't stop the run."
(on the chippiness of the game)"That's them. They are a team that talks. They do more talking than most of the team's in the league. They start that stuff. When you play them, you've got to say disciplined, and not get involved in that stuff."
(on the Saints' playoff hopes) "Everything is ahead of us. If we win our next two games, we are in a good position. We just need to come back from today. This was a tough loss to a tough team."
S Malcolm Jenkins(on the Ravens' running game)"We knew that running the ball was going to be a key to the game. We knew they were going to try and run the ball. It's what they like to do, and they are good at it. They did a really good job today. "
(on the game versus Atlanta next week)"We have a big game against Atlanta next week. We can't play it soon enough for me. We are just going to put this game behind us and go back to the drawing board."
(on the chippiness of the game) "When you have two physical teams looking to win, those things are likely to happen. Neither team will back down, and that's the way things happen sometimes."
WR Marques Colston(on the loss) "Obviously, this was a tough loss to a really good opponent. This is one that I think we all feel that we should have had."
(on WR Lance Moore's TD catch in the fourth quarter and the Ravens responding with a field goal) "Like I said, it was a good opponent that we were playing today. You have to tip your hat to them, and we have to just get ready for Atlanta."
(on still having a chance to catch Atlanta in the NFC South standings)"We still play the games, so we have to prepare for a tough opponent in Atlanta."
(on what went wrong today) "We were playing a good team. [There is] nothing else to be said."
DE Will Smith(on the extracurricular activity during and after plays) "I think it's the fact that ultimately we know that we made a lot of mistakes. We played a good game, but we made a lot of mistakes, offensively and special teams. But we were still good enough to win the game, and we were still in the game. We tied it up, and still had an opportunity to win the game at the end. We just fell short, and it's definitely disappointing."
(on the late hits) "Every play there were late hits or something going on. It's just the nature of the game. If it happens for all four quarters, don't call it in the fourth quarter."
(on whether this game prepared them for possible bad weather playoff games in the future) "Absolutely. I always say that weather doesn't play a big part. It's more or less a media hype-up. Guys are football players, and everybody is tough. Most of the guys here played up north, or are from the north, and played football all their life in the north. The weather is really not a factor. Ultimately, the fact is today we made a lot of mistakes. Defensively, we didn't tackle."
RB Reggie Bush(on the offense battling back and falling in the end)"It's pretty frustrating. We put ourselves in a hole early on and couldn't fight out of it. You can't have that, obviously. When you're going against a team like the Ravens, you don't want to get down 14 like that. We had some key plays that we didn't convert on. We pride ourselves on being pretty solid on third downs, and I believe today wasn't that case. We had some miscues, and we allowed them to get a little pressure on Drew [Brees]. And we couldn't dig ourselves out of the hole. And they end up winning the game. We couldn't stop them toward the end of the fourth quarter, and they ended up getting three points, and that ended up being the difference in the game."
(on where to focus going forward) "We have to go look at the film and get ready for Atlanta next week. That's all we can do. This is in the past. We have to look at the film on Tuesday, and look how to get better, and not repeat those same mistakes next week. We are playing a divisional game that is very important."
BALTIMORE RAVENSHead Coach John Harbaugh
(opening statement) "First of all, to the Saints, that was a great football game, and that's a great football team. You can see why they are the world champs. They do not quit playing. I think that was on our mind at the end of the game. I'm just so proud of the coaches and the players on this football team for that victory. The gameplan, in all three phases, was tremendous, and I thought it was really well executed. I thought our players – like they always do – fought. But you know what? They played a little better. They found a way to make plays when they had to make plays. That's with all the different things that happened in the game. I'm just proud of this football team. I'm proud of these men, and I'm proud of what we accomplished today. That's a big win. Obviously, we have two division games coming up, and we'll have full focus on that starting tomorrow. But that's a big win for the Ravens."
(on the ability to re-establish the run) "I think our guys blocked. Ray [Rice] and Willis [McGahee] ran hard. We had probably more broken tackles than we've ever had. I thought that they ran really hard, and I thought that our offensive line finished blocks. We moved people and finished blocks. That's a credit to our offensive line. Our offensive line, they work hard every day. Sometimes you don't see the fruits of your labor as quickly as you want to, but it paid off today, and I'm proud of those guys."
(on the defense's ability to stop the QB in the fourth quarter) "That's a great point. That's something that we've struggled with at times, obviously, and we've been disappointed with the consistency at the end of games. We gave up one [touchdown] at the end of the half, but they got it done at the end of the game when they had to today, and that was big."
(on if he felt the team played for the full 60 minutes today) "I think we always get the full 60 minutes out of the team effort-wise. I think our guys play like crazy for 60 minutes. Obviously, we haven't made the plays that we need to make sometimes, or call the right plays at times. We all take responsibility when things don't go well, but this is a tough league, and that's a great football team. We had great coaches and great players going at it, and our players found a way to win the game. That's where the credit belongs. It belongs to the players."
(on the secondary's performance) "Well, we covered. We covered. I think Greg [Mattison] did a nice job of mixing pressure. I think our guys did a really good job of running the pressure. We blitzed a lot, so a lot of the pressure that we got was also four-man pressure. Give Cory Redding and the rest of the defensive line a lot of credit. We had a lot of four-man rush pressure. We ran some gains, some twists in there. I though we were very physical with our pass rush, and we kept Drew Brees in the pocket. He's a little bit of a shorter guy. It makes it harder for him to see some things, and that made a big difference. When he had some lanes and a vision, he was able to make some tighter throws. But when you don't have great vision – because you have a D-line collapsing the pocket – it's harder to make some of those throws."
(on whether this felt like a playoff game) "You know what? You're right. The intensity of the game was like a playoff game. Our guys didn't do a lot of talking. But let me tell you what, we did some responding. But I think they came in here, and that's the way they played. They have a bully mindset. They want to push teams around. They want to intimidate you. They want to get out to a lead quick, and our team is not going to have that. We're just not. I'm proud of the way we responded, and I thought we did it with composure and poise. I'm proud of our guys for that."
(on the defense playing with a lot of energy coming off a short week)"We got some great conditioning last Monday night for our defense. It paid off for us today, so we're proud of that."
(on whether this was a big win) "I like to think of it as a team win. I think all three phases… Our offense scored points. We moved the ball when we had to. Even though we didn't finish out the last drive, we did the things we needed to do to take that time off the clock. Special teams played tremendously. We pinned them down most of the second half. After they pinned us early, we got them pinned pretty much the rest of the second half. It was a great team victory, but it also has ramifications for the playoffs. We keep the pressure on Pittsburgh this way. We're still trying to win the division. They have the edge because they beat us, but we're not conceding that just yet."
(on whether this is a signature win) "I don't know. That's a fair thing for you guys to talk about, but for us, it's a win we needed this week. We needed to get 10, and we have 10. Now, we need to get 11."
(on RB Ray Rice's performance) "Tremendous. How many yards did he have? 200-plus? Just a tremendous performance. He broke tackles, he made people miss. Plus, give the backs and the wide receivers credit. That's one of the best stripping, tackling teams in the league. That's their trademark, causing turnovers. I thought our guys did a tremendous job of protecting the football. If you want to put [the win] on one thing, that was probably the difference in the game."
(on whether this win was more satisfying because some breaks didn't go their way) "If you look at the numbers, you're right. They played a solid football game. They put two balls on the ground that we didn't come up with. Credit Drew for recovering the one. I think one of their linemen got the other one. What a catch [by Lance Moore]. We thought he stepped out of bounds 10 yards ahead, but [referee] Walt [Anderson] said he didn't have a good look at it. I couldn't believe he made the catch. Then you start watching it, and you say, 'The kid might have made the catch.' But I thought you had to challenge it. There's no way you could just let that go. We focused on some camera angles. Maybe he was bobbling, or maybe he stepped out. We thought maybe he stepped out of bounds 10 yards upfield, but they didn't have the look at that. I thought you had to challenge it. It was a good catch."
(on the defense keeping their composure during tough situations) "I think there were probably some things. They came up in the Pittsburgh game. It came up at the end of this game. Our guys kept their composure, played the defense at the end really effectively, and made plays to get off the field. I'm just really proud of them."
QB Joe Flacco(on how important it was to run the ball and control the clock) "It was important because we were successful and scored points while doing it. The biggest thing is that we knew we were going to score points. When we got down there in the red zone, for the most part, we put the ball in the end zone, especially early on. After we got down 7-0, we came back with three big scores, and the running game was a big part of that."
(on Ray Rice's performance) "It was great. Ray came ready to play, big time in the running game. Our offensive line did a great job of creating space on the line of scrimmage. Ray did a great job of finding that room and then creating a little bit of extra yards on his own. Ray did a great job on some of the screens. It was a really good game."
(on the improvement of the offensive line during the game) "That happens on some drives, and it happened to be the first one. They came out ready to play from the very beginning, a big part of our win today was because of those guys just fighting and doing the best they can."
(on whether he knew coming into the game that the running game would take over) "I had no idea. "You never know. Cam [Cameron] may have had a better idea. We came in with a normal mind-set, and I think we saw pretty early on that we could play a physical game with these guys and do a good job with it, and we did."
RB Ray Rice (on what the victory says about the team) "I can't be more proud of my team. I will just straight up tell you, Ray Lewis spoke to the team last night, and his message to the team … You've got a guy who played 15 years and gave all of his blood, sweat and tears. You know when the time is trickling down late in the season, and we've got to push for that. He spoke to the team, and I just think everybody heard that message last night. We just came ready to play. I actually came into the game joking with [the offensive line], but I was serious and told them, 'I only need 102 yards to get a 1,000, let's make it happen.To do it against the defending champs and come away with a W,' it was just a great effort. I don't know what I have to do for my guys, that's two consecutive 1,000-yard seasons. Maybe a steak or some early Christmas gifts. I'm gonna help those guys out."
(on what LB Ray Lewis said in his speech)"It was more like sacrifice. What are we going to sacrifice now until the rest of the season? We had our bumps and bruises, but what is everybody willing to sacrifice for one goal? The one goal is to win a Super Bowl. Let's not forget, they were the defending champs; they still are the defending champs until somebody knocks them off. To beat them this late in the year when they were peaking and how many games they've won, it just says something about our team. We respond to situations really well. We've been making it pretty interesting, but one thing about our team is we've got a resilient group that can rebound, that can bounce back, especially after a short week, and we played our game. We figured out a way. We ran the ball. That was one thing that I was more impressed about because we developed mentality. One thing Ray said last night was: 'If we're going to run the ball, run it, and let's not stop until they stop it.' I definitely felt that message played a part throughout the whole organization because everybody came to play today."
(on where he ranks this game in his career) "I think this was my career high from what I was told. That's why I laid my shoes over there. I'm going to give them to my mom for Christmas. I'm going to sign them and give them to her for Christmas on top of her other gifts."
(on where he ranks the game emotionally)"Emotionally right now, every game from here on out is like a playoff game. So emotionally, it was just … especially coming into the game knowing that there was some doubt that we weren't going to be able to beat the defending champs because of last week's performance. But this is a new week. We scored, they scored. We matched them hand-for-hand. We played chess with them today, and it just so happened we finished the game with a checkmate."
(on whether he knew if the running game would take off today) "I saw the gameplan; I knew we were going to run the ball today. We knew one thing we would be able to do was run the ball. It wasn't anything against their defense, their defense is ranked pretty high. One thing we had to do was run the ball because they played that man structure. The cold weather doesn't bother me. I've been in Rutgers, grew up in New York. It felt like it was 80 degrees out there for me. I was good to go. Late in the year, it's a mentality thing. It just felt good to know that we said we were going to do something and went out and did it. There were no complaints, even when there was a bad play. The first couple of plays of the game, I'm getting knocked back for negative yards. So what? The guys had the mentality 'next play'. You can't do anything about the last play, [you have to move on to] the next play and the next drive. There was so much positive energy in the huddle that it felt different than any game. We're running the ball, and next thing I know, my receivers are blocking down the field. When you've got a group of guys that are willing to sacrifice, like Ray [Lewis] was saying, for one thing and that's to win. The lucky number was 10 today. We just happened to get that done today."
(on whether the team got their identity back) "I think we've established our team mentality back. Our identity was to win as a team. No matter what we've got to do to win, whether it's run it 50 times, or pass it 50 times. Whether it's defense making a play or whether it's special teams, I think we developed our team mentality because everybody has to sacrifice for one thing and one goal. Whenever Ray [Lewis] brings it up, it's one mission, one team, one heart. We played like that today. In the film, it'll definitely show that."
(on what he thought of QB Joe [Flacco] showing passion on the sidelines)"We both had little situations with the refs. We both got a little hyped up. Whenever you see Joe fired up, you've kind of got to say, 'Joe's fired up.' He keeps it cool, and he maintains the balance, but I've seen him fired up before. I've seen him ready to go. We go as Joe goes. Sometimes, other guys have to take the lead. If I've got to be the sparkplug, let's be it."
(on his touchdown catch)"[QB Joe Flacco] threw the ball perfect. I couldn't even tell you how perfect the ball was. One thing I refuse to do is let a linebacker cover me man-to-man. With me running I've got a full head of steam. If that was in the midfield of play, it probably would have been a catch-and-run after it because it looked like we had the safety beat. Joe put it to where I could catch it, grab it and develop my feet to make sure I wasn't going out of bounds. That's a big time throw. I saw it at the last minute. I just wanted to get a full head of steam, and make sure I had the guy on my hip, so if I had to back shoulder or something – and that's where he put it – I got it. It was just one of those throws where it should make top 10 this week on ESPN."
C Matt Birk(on how tough it is to run on a blitzing team like the Saints) "Yeah, it's tough, but at the same time, too, if you catch them sometimes there are holes there. There are holes there. And our backs got to the second level a few times today and were able to break some long runs. That's really what we've been missing."
(on what this win means to this team going forward)"Well, it was a game we felt like we had to have. The Saints are a great team, the defending World Champs, all that stuff, but we're fighting for our playoff lives at our place in December, and it just felt like it was a game we had to have. It was great, because today was a total team win; offense, defense and special teams. All three phases made plays, and we can feel good about it, but at the same time, we go back to work. What we did today guarantees nothing next week, so we'll just start over and keep preparing the way we do and practicing hard and give [ourselves] the best chance for success on Sunday."
(on the offensive line's performance as a unit and the play of RB Ray Rice) "Yeah, some good, some bad, kind of like we always do. But it was great. It was the type of game… I mean, we always want to establish the run and then converting of third downs, staying the field, you know, longer drives. That lends itself to calling more runs and just the type of game it was. And every week we try to get Willis [McGahee] and Ray [Rice] and those guys in the second level, and they can do their thing there, and fortunately for us, they got up into the secondary and did some things. That's what those guys do, that's why they're special."
(on whether it had been frustrating having trouble running the ball earlier this season) "We certainly hadn't run it the way we wanted to, but frustration, I don't know. Nothing comes easily in the NFL. If you're frustrated, I don't think a lot of positive things come from that. We just kind of said to our men, 'We've got to get it going, we've got to get the running game going,' and just really had like a laser focus this week in practice. We practiced hard as an offensive line, I mean we were hitting each other and doing some things, and it's just obviously important for a lot of reasons. But the run game helped us win this game today. But it's one game, and next week you've got to do it all over again. But certainly, like I said before, we're at our best when we're balanced on offense, so establishing the run game is important for us."
LB Ray Lewis (on whether this was 60-minutes of football today) "It doesn't get… I just think it just doesn't get any better. First of all, God is so amazing, and this team has been through so much. You know, we've been through every up, every down, every peak, every valley, and just for us to come out and fight the way we did; we knew these were the defending champs coming in here. And we've been a 60-minute ball club all year, and for us to pull it out the way we did, you've got to tilt your hat off to our team."
(on what went through his mind when the Saints tied the game in the fourth quarter) "Nothing. As long as it's a tie score, we can't lose. And that's what I was walking on the sideline telling the guys, 'Let's go finish it now. Let's finish it.' And that's what good defenses do, great defenses do. They go out and finish it, and we knew they were going to have some success. You're talking about the defending champs, you're talking about Drew Brees, but a lot of weapons over there. But the way we came out and played today, I mean offensively, defensively, special teams, we had a heck of a game plan going."
(on whether the team needed this win for confidence at all) "Confidence? I'll tell you, the only confidence we need is piling on more wins than losses. And that's what we've been talking about all year. Forget what everybody is saying from the outside; just keep piling up wins, and at the end of the day let's look up and see where we are."
(on his speech to the team last night and what it meant to him and the team) "Everything that I speak to my team about is just always straight from my heart. And me spending a lot of time with God before I came to the meeting, and He just kept putting things on my heart, kept putting things on my heart. And so when I just came, it was just about one thing; sacrifice. I've been in this business 15 years, and I've seen some good teams, and I've seen some OK teams, but what we have right now, the question was very simple, 'What would you give for the man beside you?' That's it. That's it. I don't care what the score is here and there; if we come out of here with the win, we became a better team. And that's basically what it was all about last night. Now, of course, it was much deeper, but that's kind of personal, because I really went into some personal stuff with my teammates to really share that these moments will never be again, ever. Ever. I remember when I was in my first year, and I went all the way back to that, and now I'm in my 15th. And if they understand this – the young guys that we do have – then they'll appreciate every second, every time we step on that field."
(on playing in a chess match with Saints' QB Drew Brees today)"Those games, man, you see the way it goes. They're going to make plays, we're going to make plays. But when we needed to, you know, Coach Mattison did a heck of a job putting us in, just communicating with each other, making sure we made the right checks, and we did. And we did, and we really got after them. Our front seven really just got after them. The ball never really got over our head, you know, we gave up one play. But then you take a 15-yard penalty that they gave us to give them a touchdown, you know, it's things like that you've just got to keep fighting with. So, again, I really, really liked the way our team fought today."
S Ed Reed(on whether he had a déjà vu feeling at all after the Saints tied it in the fourth quarter)"No, no. We knew [it was a] 60-minute football game before we even went out there. Just like we play all the rest of them; it's no different than the way we played all the rest of them. Same mentality, man, whole football game."
(on a lot of unsportsmanlike penalties being called, including one against him)"Yeah, well I swung kind of hard. I thought I was going to be able to get the ball and wound up hitting his head and whatnot. So, those plays are going to happen, it's football. You've just got to build from it, not make those mistakes and try to not do it, because we kept drives going. You know, they scored after that. So, you've just got to be smart about what you're doing."
(on the way RB Ray Rice ran today) "Hey, man, give him the ball. We've been having that staple all year, we knew it, [and] it's just a matter of getting rolling and being able to read your keys as players and coaches and execute. Our [offensive] line did a tremendous job moving the line, changing the line of scrimmage."
(on the defense not appearing to show any signs of fatigue this week) (laughter) "Hey, we were playing in Houston, man, that weather was different, they closed the dome, and we played 90 plays. Some people don't know anything about football."
(on whether the crowd helped a lot today)"Always. Playing at home, representing Baltimore, Baltimore representing us well. So, it was a great win."
(on whether this was a signature win)"I don't know about signature win. It can come back once you look at the season, but we've still got two games left in the season. [We're] trying to get to the postseason and finish up strong."
(on how much the Ravens needed this win today) "I mean, we needed it for what it was. For what it was at this time, we knew it was going to be a long stretch going into the playoffs. It's real tight in the playoff race right now, and all we could do is take care of ourselves and that's what we did today."
DE Cory Redding(on the defense and rushing Brees) *"The main focus was the integrity of our rush lanes, stay disciplined. He's not a really big, tall guy, so we have to get our hands up when that ball is thrown, and as long as we put some pressure on him, and the guys [cover] it, that was going to give ourselves a good chance to win this game, and that's what we did. I believe we executed quite well."
*(on if this is the kind of game he envisioned when signing with the Ravens) "I envisioned winning when I signed with this team. You're going to get a tough game every single week, regardless, if a team is 1-15 or they're 16-1. This is the NFL. People get paid to win. And guys have got heart and pride. So every week you're going get your best game, so you can't take not one game for granted. We just played one heck of a team, great quarterback, great coach, great organization, and we hung in there to the end and fought against these guys, and we came up with the victory."
(on the interception)"It was awesome, first career. Made sure I got to the highest point so nobody could take the ball from me and try to get some positive yards with it. It was awesome, just to see that ball in the air, and say 'you know what? I can get this ball'…and prove to my coaches and teammates that I catch. That was huge, to get the ball back and give it to our offense and have a potential chance to score. We put points on the board with the field goal and ran time off the clock."
(on keeping Brees in the pocket) "That's the whole design is to keep him in the pocket, make the pocket collapse around him. But there were sometimes we designed to have him flush out of the pocket, have somebody come from the back side to chase him down or somebody rush up in front of him to pull him up. We put a great game plan together, we executed, and guys ran around and tried to corral him as much as we could, try to frustrate him, hit him, touch him any way we could."
(on using a four-man rush) "That's the beauty of watching tape. We saw some things that we felt could expose them in getting into the rush lanes and making guys move around. They're big guys up front, but sometimes big guys don't have very good feet, and if you can make them move, we can create mismatches and get them off balance and put pressure on the quarterback."
(on the defense having more energy at game's end)"The energy, first, is from our crowd. We feed off the energy. With Willis and Ray running the ball like they did tonight, the offensive line, everybody blocking the way they did, it gave us time to rush on the sideline. And so we went out there fresh and felt good to go out there and get the stops that we did."
LB Dannell Ellerbe(on beating the Super Bowl Champion Saints) "It's always important to get the tough win. That's the key. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best. They are the best because they won the Super Bowl last year."
(on limiting the Saints' offense) "They have got a high–powered offense. You cant just double cover one guy like you can on some teams. You just have to account for every guy and just man up."
(on Saints QB Drew Brees) "He's very accurate. I've always seen him play on television. It was an honor today to play against him in person."
(on winning their 10th game) "We're just trying to win out and hope for the best."
DT Haloti Ngata(on beating the Saints) "We just wanted to win. It was great that we played almost a complete game. We played 60 minutes and got a win out of it. It's a beautiful thing."
(on shutting down the Saints' running game)"That's what we try to do early. We let them know that they couldn't run the ball against us, and we made them one dimensional. That allowed us to pin our ears back and try to get some pressure on [Brees]."
(on the tipped pass on DT Cory Redding's interception)"I was supposed to hit that A-gap. The Saints closed it, so I just spun around, and I just saw his eyes looking behind me, so I just kind of jumped up and tipped it. It was perfect."
(on DT Cory Redding being on a winning football team)"Even if he had been on a winning football team before this, this year feels great. It's great to be on a winning team and I know it feels great to him. Winning has been kind of foreign to him, but hopefully, he can be here for a long time and we can keep this going."
(on being held in the end zone) "I didn't get the call, so you just got to try to play hard and get another pressure on the next down. I was just happy we got off the field on that drive, and let our offense do what they do."
(on the Ravens blitzing more)"I think our coaches did a great job of getting us ready this week. Last week we had a tough game, so they made sure we were fresh throughout the week. They didn't put too much pressure on us – they rested us a little bit, and we were able to come back and come out here and get a win."
(on New Orleans' possession from the 4 yard line in the 4th quarter) "We were just trying to get off the field, maybe get a three-and-out or possibly, safety. They converted a first down, but we were able to get off the field after that set of downs."
(on whether he was thinking about past 4th quarter leads) "Of course, of course, I think everybody on our defense was thinking that we couldn't let this one get away. Throughout this year we have always let teams finish us off. It just felt that great that our defense could help out our offense like that."
LB Terrell Suggs(on preparing for the Saints)"Our coaches did a good job of getting us rest. That was our number one priority this week. We rested and studied our opponent. They did a good job of resting us so we could play this week."
(on whether the Ravens blitzed more week) "I don't know, I think we definitely didn't want Drew Brees to get comfortable. Brees is one of the premier quarterbacks in this league. You definitely don't want him comfortable. You don't want to turn the game into a seven-on-seven pass drill. He's the best in the business, and he's the defending champ. We just wanted him not to get comfortable."
(on what beating the defending Super Bowl champions means) "It just goes to show that when your offense is clicking, and in sync, you can be a deadly team. I think [the Ravens' offense] did a good job with time of possession and making sure that we were rested. When we have games like that, we're a pretty good team."
(on holding the Saints to 25 yards rushing)"They run the spread offense, and they kind of go to the run as a change-up. They have three amazing running backs, but everybody knows Drew Brees wants to get that thing out, he likes to sling it around, that's their game. We really just got back to the basics of stopping the run, and we were successful."
(on what the win over the Saints means) "This was a big win. We defended our home, especially since we didn't last time we were here. We take pride in giving our fans what they want. When we're home, we give our fans a show. We just played really good football today."