OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The streak is over for Baltimore Ravens kicker Justin Tucker.
Tucker’s 34-yard field goal attempt was blocked by the Patriots’ Shea McClellin in the first quarter. That snapped a streak of 35 consecutive field goals by Tucker — one shy of tying Matt Stover’s franchise record. Tucker had not missed a field goal since Dec. 6, 2015 and converted all 28 attempts this season.
The streak, however, was the least of his worries. Tucker’s focus was solely on helping Baltimore make the postseason with a late push.
“We know what we have to do to extend our season, and we’re going to get to work on that as soon as possible,” Tucker said.
JH: Ok, thanks for being here. I just want to make an announcement first, before we start talking about anything. We lost a member, we lost a Raven today. Konrad Reuland. He was declared brain dead, he had an aneurism about a week ago, underwent surgery and has been fighting for his life for the last week. He passed today, so I just want to offer condolences to his family. We love Konrad Reuland. Every single guy in that locker room loves him, that knows him. And I just want to say this, on his behalf, it is a Psalm: God is our refuge and our strength. In Him do we trust. That’s for Konrad. Ok, what questions do you have?
Q: Right before the last field goal Coach, and it was 4th down and a foot, did you think about going for it there?
JH: Yeah, we needed to score 10 points, one way or the other, so we got the 3 there. Try to get the 7 later, that was kind of thinking about it. We needed two scores, so you could do it either way basically.
Q: John, it seemed that Joe [Flacco] dumped the ball a lot. Was it something they were taking away or what do you think?
JH: That’s a great question. To answer that question, we’ve got to see the tape and see what the reads look like. I think they were covering deep and they had their safeties back and they did a good job staying on top of things. Corners were bailing a lot in their 3-deep coverages. They wanted to stay on top and I think they did a good job of that, not giving up the big plays. Certainly a better job than we did and that was probably the difference in the game.
Q: Been up here a lot. The momentum was a lot different early in this one. To fall behind like that, obviously, you guys made some opportunities in the special teams, does that make you happy?
JH: I think it is a credit to our guys, you know. It’s a tough environment. It was a Monday night, you know, in New England. It’s just like the AFC championship games we’ve played here. I mean, the environment is exactly the same as that, no different. I told our guys at half time, it’s the same environment that you are going to have playing in a championship game here, nothing different, let’s go play that kind of football. And our guys fought. That’s a very good football team and they deserve the victory. They played winning football and they made the plays they needed to make. Early, they got off to a good start. [That] put us in a hole. Thought they did a very good job. Their defense was very tough throughout the course of the game. But our special teams, stepping up and making plays, those were huge plays and gave us a chance to win the game. Put us back in it. Credit to those guys.
Q: John, is the feeling that you just fell short a couple plays in the 4th quarter? Offensively, defensively, that could have changed the game?
JH: Well of course, I mean, it’s always like that. It’s always a play here or a play there that makes the difference. Obviously, they made the play on the play action pass. We had a good idea it was coming and we didn’t play it well. We didn’t play it right, in the back end, and that’s just on us.
Q: Did Matt Elam think…
JH: It wasn’t Matt Elam’s play to make, for the coverage, before we start pointing fingers.
Q: Who’s play was it to make?
JH: I’m not getting into all that. Never do, never will.
Q: Now John, at 7-6, is now the mentality, with 3 games remaining, that you have to win out to get to the playoffs?
JH: Yes, absolutely, we know where we stand and the situation we are in. And that we basically have to win three games, you know, and [we are] certainly fully capable of doing that. That’s what we intend to do, but all the focus goes to the next game. That’s what I told the guys in the locker room, pack up the buses as quick as we can, get back to Baltimore and get to work on Philadelphia. It’s a very good Eagles team that we are playing on a short week. We’ve got to get healthy and we’ve got to get rested and we’ve got to get prepared. We’ve got to go play our best football next Sunday in MBT Stadium. We are going to need our crowd man, we are going to need our crowd in full force, because we are making a run for the AFC North title and it starts with that game. We have to win that game. And that’s what we will be preparing for.
Q: Do you have an update on Jimmy Smith?
JH: I do, it’s an ankle sprain.
JH: I don’t know.
Q: Is the message that you still have it, in your own hand? Under your own control? Doesn’t matter about anybody else winning, as long as you win, you’re in?
JH: Yeah, that’s the message. That’s the reality of it. That’s exactly where it stands.
Q: [Tom] Brady had over 400 passing yards, how much do you chalk that up to losing [Jimmy] Smith and [Jerraud] Powers?
JH: I don’t really chalk it up to anything. I just chalk it up to it’s a football game and Tom Brady did a great job. [He] obviously had a great night throwing the ball. And it was big plays. I chalk it up to big plays, so give them credit for making those plays. They did a good job of executing those plays. Read
JOE FLACCO, QUARTERBACK
Q: Was it tough with the dump off short passes? That probably wasn’t the game plan?
JF: Yeah, they were dropping a lot of guys. It seemed like most of the game they had a lot of guys in the middle of the field and weren’t rushing a bunch of guys. They brought a couple of blitzes, but they were kind of on the fly when we were in more of a hurry-up tempo.
Q: Was that something you expected from them?
JF: We expected to get probably a little bit more man-to-man that we got. We got some a little bit down in the red zone, obviously and in a couple of those third-down situations we were able to hit Kyle Juszczyk up the rail and [Mike Wallace], so we got a couple of those plays off. We took a couple shots down the field and we were hoping to take a couple more.
Q: Did they do anything to take away Dennis Pitta at all?
JF: He’s running a lot of his routes over the middle of the field and when they’re dropping guys out and not rushing a bunch of guys and you’re trying to sit in holes and find holes, it can be tough. Down in the red zone we were able to hit [Darren Waller] and we were able to hit [Kenneth Dixon] out of the backfield because it seemed like they were doubling him. They were playing man-to-man and putting an extra guy over Dennis at least on a couple of the plays down there.
Q: Do you think they did that because of all the success you had against Miami in the middle?
JF: It’s tough to say. I think a lot of the time when you have a good tight end, a lot of the times we’ve come up here they’ve found different ways to try to take them out of the game whether it’s not letting them come off the line of scrimmage or whatever, but you have to be ready for everything with these guys. These guys, New England, they’re very game specific with their plans, so you have to be ready to expect everything.
Q: What’s your takeaway from this game? You’re down by 20 and you came back, but you just weren’t able to get it done?
JF: The biggest thing I can think of is that we just didn’t finish drives. I think early on we moved the ball, we got the first 30 yards, we got moving, but then we just stalled out and that probably hurt us in the long run.
Q: Now at 7-6 you’re one game behind the Steelers with three games. What’s kind of the mindset right now?
JF: It doesn’t really matter what our record is. Like I heard you guys say, we’ve just got to win our games. Obviously, Pittsburgh is a game ahead of us, but we still have another game against them at their place, so it will be tough, but we’ve just got to focus one week at a time and go win football games. Read
ZACHARY ORR, LINEBACKER
Q: Different environment coming up here?
ZO: Definitely. This was probably the loudest and rowdiest atmosphere for a road game and we knew that coming in, especially whenever we’re playing the Patriots. You’ve got two of the top teams clashing against one another. It definitely was a hostile environment, but we knew that coming in.
Q: How shocking was that final play? The Patriots long touchdown.
ZO: It was something that is preached about through OTAs, camp and preseason and everything like that. We want to eliminate big plays and we had a bust and we don’t want to give them anything especially going against a team like that. If you miss an assignment, then Tom Brady and those guys are going to exploit that to the max and ultimately, it was one of the plays that cost us.
Q: Is this a communication error?
ZO: I didn’t really know what was – I knew it was an error – I don’t know what was going on. We really didn’t have time to talk about it, so it’s one thing that we have to go back and correct this week and get it fixed.
Q: Is there a level of frustration for coming back from that huge deficit and just not being able to overcome it?
ZO: Yeah, it was a little frustrating because we felt like we didn’t play our best football throughout the whole game, not just when we started to come back and everything. We felt like we didn’t play up to what we’re capable of playing and that’s the thing that’s disappointing and frustrating.
Q: What’s the mindset of this team going into this final stretch?
ZO: We’re putting this one behind us. We’ve got a short week. We’ve got Philly coming in to our place for our last home game in front of our fans in the regular season and they’re a good team even though they’ve lost a couple of games, they’re a good team. We still control our own destiny, so we’ll take it one week at a time and pretty much win-out, but it starts with Philly and as much as this loss hurts, we’re putting it behind us. As soon as we got on this plane – we’re going to hurry up and get out of here and get focused on Philly.