Every Monday, win or lose, John Harbaugh steps infront of the mic to take questions about the game from all of Baltimore’s media members. Here are some of the highlights of what went down in today’s press conference:
How important is winning this week’s game for the city since no team from Baltimore has ever defeated a Pittsburgh team in postseason play?
“Is that a psychological burden that we’re placing on the team? The whole city’s psychological burden? (laughter) I think the answer is obvious. It doesn’t make a difference. It’s going to be one game played for three hours on Saturday afternoon in Pittsburgh, and the team that wins will get to play in the [conference] championship game, and the team that loses won’t. And that’s the bottom line. So, it’s always one game.”
My Take: This isn’t just a game. It is the Super Bowl before the Super Bowl for both the Steelers and Ravens. I understand why Harbaugh is saying what he is saying, but in no way is this just another game. This is the only way most of Baltimore would want it: Ravens roll through the Steelers in the playoffs. The Ravens haven’t had much luck in the past, so lets hope that changes Saturday.
What are your thoughts on the “tuck rule,” which overturned a Kansas City fumble in the game?
“My thoughts on the ‘tuck rule?’ When that happened, my thoughts on the ‘tuck rule’ were, ‘What’s the “tuck rule,” again? How does that work?’ (laughter) Little bit confusing. It looked like a fumble to me. The ‘tuck rule’ - that’s one of the more confusing rules in football. That was my thought.” (laughter)
My Take: Rules are rules, even if they’re stupid. Matt Cassel’s arm was definitely moving forward when the ball was knocked out so unfortunately, it wasn’t a fumble. Luckily, it didn’t matter because the Ravens already had the game in hand.
How impressed were you with the way your offense was able to finish the game by keeping the Chiefs’ offense off the field?
“I was very impressed. I was really happy and pleased with it. I think we had the ball for almost 14 minutes in the fourth quarter. They had the ball for 68 seconds. And that’s a two-way street. It’s the defense getting off the field, too. Then, the offense converted a couple... I think we converted a real long-yardage play in there somewhere. Ray [Rice] and Todd [Heap], a couple times, kind of threw their bodies across the line to get first downs. Blocking... As the game went on - especially in the fourth quarter - I thought our offensive line started to really take control and dominate. If you want to win games, if you want to close people out, you better be able to do that. And that was good to see.”
My Take: It really was good to see the Ravens finally put away a team. The best part about the defense only being on the field for 18 minutes is now they’re rested for this Saturday. That is so valuable seeing as the Steelers have had two weeks off.
It’s hard to just single out Rice or Heap because everyone had good games. Joe Flacco ran the offense and Willis McGahee came up big on a few different occasions. Anquan Boldin came through with the big touchdown grab. The only downside was the offensive line play early in the game. Flacco could never get set in the pocket, but still was able to find his receivers.