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Interviews and photos from the Broncos playoff loss to the Ravens

click to enlarge Head Coach Mike Shanahan - PAM HOUSTON

The Indy caught up with a handful of key Broncos players after their devastating loss in Baltimore on Sunday. Here are some highlights from the post-game interviews with Mike Shanahan, Gus Frerotte, Ed McCaffrey, Mike Anderson, and Bill Romanowski talking about everything from Shannon Sharpe to parenting.

Mike Shanahan (Head Coach)

I thought the Ravens played an excellent football game. They did what they had to do. Obviously they controlled the tempo of the game right from the beginning and I wish them well in the playoffs.

(on anything different about the Ravens defense)
Well, they're good. Great defenses play great and usually great defenses step up in the playoffs, and that's exactly what they did. Take a look at the teams that played yesterday and the teams that played today. Some defenses really stepped up and dominated the football game, and that's what you do to advance in the playoffs. I'm disappointed that we didn't do some things we normally do. We were a little bit off. It's a credit to their football team and how they played today.

(on the decision not to play quarterback Brian Griese)
I could tell in the latter part of the week that if we put him in there and he took a hit, I didn't believe he would survive that hit. I didn't think it was in his best interest to put him in there and put him in that situation. He tried and wanted to gut it out. He wanted to play. But I really believed if we put him in there, it was not the right thing to do for him. There's no way he could have survived.

click to enlarge Gus Frerotte - PAM HOUSTON

(on his confidence in the running game against the Ravens defense)
Any time a team goes 33 games without giving up a hundred yard rush you know they're pretty darn good, but you try to keep them at least in a scenario where they had to respect the run, where they couldn't tee off and go right after the quarterback. Once you put this team in a one-dimensional game with this defense, you're in for a long day.

(on quarterback Gus Frerotte's inability to find his rhythm)
He never really did. We were just a little bit off. I don't know if it was the wind bothering him early or what it was, but we never did seem to get that continuity going that we have been getting.

(on the cold and windy game conditions)
Both teams played in the same conditions, and I'm disappointed that we didn't execute a little bit better.

(on Shannon Sharpe's touchdown catch)
It looked like it was going to be an interception, and then all of a sudden it turned into a touchdown. Those things do happen. You've got to overcome those big plays in the playoff game, and we didn't overcome them.

(on putting the Ravens defense in historical perspective)
You're always compared when you win championships. I think if this defense or this team can keep going and win it'll be compared as one of the best of all time, if not the best. But I think it's all predicated on winning. When you win Superbowls you always put those defenses in an elite class, and if Baltimore can do that I think it's defensively considered one of the best of all time, if not the best.

(on whether he can remember a more frustrating experience in which his team couldn't get anything going)
No, I don't think so. I don't think so. I don't think we've ever had the opportunity to make some plays and didn't make them like we did today. We're a little bit off for whatever reasons, and those reasons normally go to the credit of the opposition, so I take my hat off to them and wish them well.

click to enlarge Ed McCaffrey - PAM HOUSTON

Gus Frerotte (Quarterback)

We caused our own problems today. We had a pick early. We had a couple fumbles at the quarterback-center exchange. We didn't get it done offensively. I didn't get it done offensively. I apologize to my teammates for not playing the way I know how to play. I missed some throws today. I'd like to have some things back. Just got to regroup. It's hard to end a season like this.

(on the Ravens defense forcing them to play a passing game)
We got behind the eight ball and had to throw it and we had to keep throwing it and we just didn't make the plays today.

(on the Ravens defense in general)
They're a good team, they're a solid defense. Hopefully they'll go all the way and the only thing we could say is we lost to the best. Right now I'm just putting it on my shoulders and saying I wish I could have played a lot better.

(on the disappointment of the loss)
The thing about it is you don't get to the playoffs too many times, and you're lucky if you get to go again. I got to go again, and I didn't make the most of it. It really ticks me off that I didn't play better, 'cause I know I can play better. I know I can make the throws and do the right things to help this team win. I played a lot this year and I feel like I've helped the team move forward. I just didn't have my best game today.

(on returning to the Broncos next season)
I want to focus on what happened in this game and see if I can learn from it, come back out and if I ever get this opportunity again know that I'm not going to screw it up.

click to enlarge Anderson - PAM HOUSTON

(on whether it was imperative to get a fast start)
I think so. I think it would have been very important to jump out fast. It would have given us life and it would have kept the crowd out of it and it would have given us a little momentum which we needed. When you get behind the eight ball here it's hard to come back.

(if this is the most disappointed he's been as a starting quarterback)
I'm pretty bummed. I've been through a lot in my career. You don't get here often. With the players we have on this team we have the ability to go a long way, and I think it all depends on myself and how I played. I'm just going to have to reevaluate and see what I can do to get better.

Ed McCaffrey (Wide Receiver)

(on the windy conditions affecting the passing game)
We're not going to make excuses because of the weather. They played in the same conditions.

(on whether this was the most frustrated the offense has been)
Whenever you get in the playoffs and don't move the ball very well and don't score a lot of points, it's frustrating. It's happened before. Unfortunately, it happened to us today.

(on the strength of the Ravens defense)
When you play a defense like their defense, which has a lot of talent, a lot of speed and is one of the best in the NFL, you really need to take advantage of every opportunity. We took advantage of some, but there were many that we didn't. You really can't afford to miss out on opportunities against that kind of defense.

click to enlarge Romo - PAM HOUSTON

They're a great defense. I don't take anything away from them. But I still think that we hurt ourselves a lot.

Honestly, the game played into their hands. Once they got up by a few points, they have a great defense. We had trouble moving the ball and it's tough to come back against them like that.

Collectively as a team we had trouble really finding a rhythm today, and we didn't pick a good defense to that against.

(on how disappointing the loss was)
You play to win and we didn't win today. It hurts. Hopefully everyone will remember how this feels and not let it happen again.

Mike Anderson (Running Back)

(on frustration)
When you play a game like this where you can't get in the flow of your rhythm, what you do week in and week out, it gets frustrating.

click to enlarge As close as the Broncos got: 3rd and 1, 12 yards from a goal they never reached. - PAM HOUSTON
  • Pam Houston
  • As close as the Broncos got: 3rd and 1, 12 yards from a goal they never reached.

(on how the defense looked different on the field as opposed to on tape)
On tape you see a group of guys that really play hard, move to the football, hustle. When you play them like we did today you see that they don't stop. They try to take that fight out of you right from the get go. They try to take that fight out of you and just take your will power to where you don't want to play any more. They just keep on attacking, keep on attacking.

(on whether that happened today)
Yes. No. Not as far as taking the will out of us, but they tried. They definitely try. They try to intimidate you too.

(on the physical nature of the game)
It was a war. It was a physical battle, it was a physical game. They play as a group. That was the key. They play as a group. They play physical and they play with a lot of hustle as a group, no one guy slacking off. Everybody's carrying their own weight.

(on the nature of the Ravens defense)
When you put a collection of guys together like they have on their defense, a lot of veteran guys that have been playing quite a while in this league, you put those guys together and they start clicking. They can click together, then that's the outcome. They've got some guys that have been playing a while and they're just clicking, they're clicking together as a unit.

(on his personal frustration)
It was really frustrating because I wasn't able to come up with that big play to give us a boost or get us going, get everybody pumped up.

(on the inability to get the offense going)
I remember in the first half we were down on the 12 yard line, I think it was 3rd and one, and we didn't convert that and we had to settle for a field goal. That right there takes a little air out. Those kind of plays in this type game and atmosphere, you've got to make the play. Two of them I recall that we didn't convert. You've got to do that.

click to enlarge Wait 'til next year. Terrell Davis could only watch from the sidelines as the Broncos offense came up short. - PAM HOUSTON
  • Pam Houston
  • Wait 'til next year. Terrell Davis could only watch from the sidelines as the Broncos offense came up short.

(on whether they considered playing a no-huddle offense)
We just came out to play Denver football.

(one more question on how frustrating the game was)
It's real frustrating, but at the same time, when you look back at this year, the things that happened to this team, some of the key players on the team, team leaders we had to go without for several games, we pulled together as a team and fought through it and came out with a successful season, as far as the regular season is concerned. We made it to the first round of the playoffs, so we just gave them something to look forward to next year.

Bill Romanowski (Linebacker)

(on the Denver defense)
We needed to go out defensively and force some fumbles, get an interception, sack, you name it. We weren't able to that, and their defense was able to do that. A day like today, where our offense is struggling, that's where we need to pick it up and find a way to help them, and we didn't get it done.

(on whether it's sunk in yet that the season is over)
Oh, it's over. It sunk in real quick. For me I try to let it go as soon as I can. Let it go and start focusing on next season, get my body ready and get ready for next year.

(on the irony of Shannon Sharpe scoring a touchdown against the Broncos)
That was a fluke thing. It could have been anybody, but it just happened to be him Shannon did some good things today. It was a team thing. Shannon didn't beat us. The Ravens did, collectively. Offense, defense, special teams: they outperformed us.

(on how he takes losing so early in the post season)
It's time to be a dad. Time to spend quality time with my wife and kids. The seasons are long and draining and I put a lot of focus and energy into playing football. A lot of times my kids and my wife have to take a back seat. Now it's time to focus my energies on them.

(on the disappointment of losing in the playoffs)
There's only going to be one team that's happy at the end of the season. We're one that isn't.

(on his perspective of the Ravens defense)
They make plays. They fly around. Defense is about flying around making plays. That's what they do a very good job at.

(more thoughts about his family and the offseason)
Often times during the season, family takes a back seat. My focus and energies are the football. It takes an awful lot out of me from getting my body worked on to watching film to training to everything. I'm pretty much unavailable throughout the season. Now it's time to get available. It's time to go to school with my son and spend time in the classroom, spend a lot of time with my wife, take her on a couple vacations. And also start getting ready for next season.

(on Shannon's touchdown catch)
He hooked up. I was walling him. He just hooked up on a little option. They threw the ball to [Jamal] Lewis and Terrell [Buckley] broke it up. Shannon just happened to be in the right place at the right time. It popped right into his hands and he was able to make a big play for them.

It could have been anybody. But it wasn't. It was him. Shannon did some good things today to help their team win.


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