Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco spoke with the media Sunday night after the Ravens defeated the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. Flacco got the monkey off his back and is headed to the Super Bowl.
Q: Does the win make this trip even sweeter compared to what you had to endure last year?
Joe Flacco: I think its pretty sweet having won one of these AFC Championships – it’s probably pretty sweet no matter how you do it and no matter what fashion it’s in.
Q: Were you impressed with how many people from Baltimore made it up here?
Joe Flacco: You can always tell during the National Anthem when you hear the ‘O’ how many people from Baltimore made it up and today’s was pretty strong actually, so yeah it was pretty cool and pretty impressive how those guys made it up here.
Q: What was your thought process as the team was down during halftime? What was your mindset at the half?
Joe Flacco: We hadn’t gotten much going on offense. Our defense was playing really well – it was still a six-point game – all we had to do was go down and put the ball in the end zone, but we felt like we had to score, had to put pressure on the [defensive backs], put pressure on the linebackers in coverage. They do a good job stopping the run and we knew we had to come out here in the second half and make some plays in the passing game with some of our guys.
Q: What led you guys to passing so much in the second half?
Joe Flacco: Like I said, we realized that we just needed to put some pressure on them in that way. In the first half we were probably a little bit run-heavy and they did a good job of stopping it and we came out in the second half and decided to go with what we went with. We didn’t come all the way here to play it safe and hope to win. We came here to win the AFC Championship Game and you have to play to win and you have to do some of those things, and our guys made plays – Anquan [Boldin] came up huge – all of our receivers [and] all of our tight ends, our linemen, everyone came up big when they needed to.
Q: What has happened with this team and you specifically since that December 16th loss to Denver? You’ve been playing extraordinarily well and so has the football team.
Joe Flacco: I think we’ve been playing like that all year. It’s just that some of our losses – people lose during the football season. We had a couple of bad losses, but we really rebounded from them really good. We had a couple losses in there that were really close and hey, that just happens sometimes. We had some wins that we probably should have lost. It’s a crazy season and there are a lot of good football teams in the NFL, so you have to be ready to go out and play every week and you have to be ready to take your lumps and deal with it and I think that’s what we’ve done. We’ve come out here and played football like we always do which is hard – it’s just 60 minutes of it and it’s good playoff football.
Q: What did you say to Ray Lewis after the interception in the end zone by Cary Williams?
Joe Flacco: I just said, ‘Hey, we are going back to the Super Bowl, man. We’ve just got one more to win.’
Q: At what point did you know you were going to the Super Bowl?
Joe Flacco: After the four-minute drive when we got a couple of first downs there, but then came off the field it seemed like we were going to go. I think we were going to go, but they could always score, get an onside kick and get a two-point conversion – anything could happen – we’ve seen it all. We got pretty confident over there, but at some point I tried to tone down the celebration a little bit just in case something like that did happen. But after we went out and threw it a couple times and got back out there and ran the ball, we felt pretty comfortable.
Q: You guys had a good team the last five years. What made this team special?
Joe Flacco: A lot of things. I think this is a special team and I think we’ve had a special team. These games are tough to win and we’ve put ourselves in the position to win these games and eventually you’re going to push through and play the way you need to. It’s crazy, this is my fifth year here and this is the third one of these games that we’ve played in and this is the first one we’ve won. These are tough games to win, but we played well as a team today and that’s what we’re going to need to do in a couple of weeks.
Q: Considering what you guys have been through this year with just the different forms of adversity, just how much sweeter does this make this feel?
Joe Flacco: I don’t know if it makes it feel any sweeter. Like I said, I think it’s kind of tough to have this feel any different than it does right now. I don’t care what the circumstances are, but yes, we were dealing with injuries and we didn’t have [Terrell] Suggs, we didn’t have – Haloti [Ngata] hasn’t been healthy, Ray [Lewis], Ed [Reed], Haloti, Suggs, all those guys on the defensive side of the ball – it was probably not until the playoffs when they were all actually playing together. So, I think we’ve definitely overcome a lot, but I think that’s, if you look at the Super Bowl winners over the past few years, I’d probably say they would have a lot in common with that. It’s about who can get ready and who can become their best at the right time and hit the ground running and that’s what we’re doing.
Q: How meaningful is it to get Ray back to the Super Bowl?
Joe Flacco: It’s pretty cool. Ray is an awesome guy; [he’s] a special person. To see how emotional he is about it and how excited he is about it and the cool thing about Ray is that he’s excited about getting back there and having the opportunity to win another one for himself, but he’s more excited because he’s felt it and wants all of us to feel it and he knows what it feels like. I think he’s more excited for us to go feel that and he wants to get us there, so to be able to get him back there is a pretty cool feeling.
Source: New England Patriots