BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Ravens’ 24-17 win over the Buffalo Bills at New Era Field on Sunday afternoon was a hard-fought affair that saw several players leave with injuries. But, the win clinched the team a playoff berth and put them in good position to lock up homefield advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Those implications and the grind it out nature of Sunday’s game had head coach John Harbaugh feeling extremely proud of his team afterwards.
He relayed that pride to his players after the game in an impassioned speech in the locker room.
“I can’t tell you how proud I am of this game. This is another team that had extra time to prepare for us, a team that had 10 days to prepare for us,” said Harbaugh in the video posted to the team website. “They gave us our very best shot, and that is a good football team. That is a hard a– playing defense. And we respect that.
The Bills’ defense held the high-flying offense to just 257 yards while holding the potent rushing attack to 3.6 yards per carry and 116 yards total. Still, the team was able to pull out the victory, their 11th of the season and one that Harbaugh said is indicative of what the team has to do moving forward the rest of the year.
“This win means something to all of us. This is our 11th win. This is the first win of the fourth quarter of December football,” said Harbaugh. “This is what finishing is all about. We finish the season, you have to finish a game.”
The finishing aspect was particularly critical in Sunday’s game as the much-maligned defense came up with a stop on 4th and 8 from the 16 yard-line with Buffalo driving for the potential tying score. With their ninth straight victory and a playoff berth in hand, Harbaugh also reminded his team that there isn’t much time to celebrate as this week provides a quick turnaround matchup with the New York Jets coming to town on Thursday night.
“We know we got much bigger goals than that. And we also know that we got to start setting our clocks right now to Thursday night, everybody agree? Set the timer for Thursday night,” said Harbaugh. “It’s going to be a mental week, communication week, technique week all of that kind of stuff and we are going to be ready for Thursday night.”
With a win Thursday and next Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, the Ravens would lock up the top seed in the AFC.