“We had an opportunity. Trust me, that wasn’t something that just came up as a whim. That’s something that we game-planned for and we decided in that particular instance what we’re going to do.
“That was a whole staff [decision]. We all talked about how you’re going to call the game and what you’re going to do in that situation. Hey, it is what it is.”
Pees isn’t one for Patriots nostalgia, but he did say he sees similar traits in linebacker Ray Lewis and Brady.
“Both are tremendously competitive,” Pees said. “I said that about Brady last week: Forget that boyish little look that he’s got. This guy will throw his helmet at you in practice.
“When I had [linebacker Mike] Vrabel and those guys, they used to antagonize him. We didn’t feel like we won until he threw his helmet down and cussed out the offensive line. Then we knew we were doing our job over there.”
After an up-and-down season — giving up 72 points in back-to-back games before the Week 8 bye, and 88 points during a three-game losing streak late in the year — Pees’s defense has defeated Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, and Brady to reach the Super Bowl.
“If you look back statistically at some of the things that we did against the Giants and some of those [other teams], I think we did play pretty well,” said Pees, who didn’t have linebacker Terrell Suggs, cornerback Lardarius Webb, and Lewis for most of the season. “It was really kind of before the [bye] I don’t think we were playing well at all.
“Part of that, I’ll take responsibility for it. We tried to keep a lot of continuity from years past and all of a sudden you lose a bunch of players, you may not be able to do the things that you did in years past.
“And so we finally kind of figured that out, saying, ‘You know what? We’re not quite the same as we were and maybe we need to tweak some things here,’ and we did. And even changed the staff around a little bit in how we did things. So that really helped us.”
Safety Bernard Pollard said that Pees’s job isn’t easy considering the personalities and range of experience with the Ravens defense. But Pees has found the right touch.
“Coach Pees is that experienced, seasoned coach,” Pollard said. “He understands, he’s been here before in Super Bowls, but I think Coach Pees is just a different dude. He keeps us in check. We all respect him. We fight for him, and we embrace everything he brings to our defense.”