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Coach Mike Tomlin on loss to Texans

Posted Oct 2, 2011

Coach Mike Tomlin:  I will start with an initial rundown of some in-game injuries. James Harrison sustained an injury to his right eye. We’ll test him to see where it goes. He had a little double-vision, once that cleared he was able to return to the game. Rashard Mendenhall has a right hamstring. Ben Roethlisberger has a left foot. He is getting it x-rayed right now; we will know more later. Aaron Smith has a mid-foot sprain. Jason Worilds had a left quad. In regards to the game I thought we had our opportunities. We didn’t make enough plays and quite frankly they did. It was a story of two halves, but either way you look at it we didn’t make enough of our opportunities. We had them in some third down situations in the first half defensively and they converted quite a bit of them, they controlled the clock. They possessed the ball in the first half; when we were able to get off the field some in the second half we weren’t able to score enough to come back into the football game. They made a critical play on special teams there at the end of the half to keep points off the board. We tip our cap to those guys; they made the necessary plays to win the game. We’ve got some work to do. It’s not anything mystical. We will remain together. We will stay singularly focused on our work. We understand our issues are fundamental and they really are. We’ve got to do the basic football things a little better than what we are doing right now in order to be successful against some of the people we are playing. We have to tackle better, we have to block better. We will start that process tomorrow.

Re: How you handle going into the locker room only down 10-0 after a tough first half.
Halftime is always the same for me. I take the emotions out of it and talk about necessary adjustments and what we have to do to improve in the second half. That’s what we did. I didn’t sense any panic in our football team. Just didn’t do a good enough job to remain close. We got a little something going at the end of the half and that was negated by their field goal block unit.

Offensive line – do you think you need some help there?
It depends on the health of the men. We’ll rally and see who we have coming back, look at the men that played in this game and make those decisions at the appropriate time which is of course moving into next week, not as we sit here right now. Those would be emotional ones. We are not in that business.

You ran the ball better in the third quarter than in the first half. Did you make any halftime adjustments?
Minor halftime adjustments in terms of where we thought we could move the football. The issue in the first half in terms of us running the football is because we did not possess the ball. The Houston Texans had the ball 21 minutes or so in the first half of football. When they got the ball that length of time you are not going to have the opportunity to establish anything offensively, be it run or the pass.

In terms of team’s having success running the ball, is that fundamentals or are they winning one-on-one battles?
We have to whip block better, we have to tackle better. We don’t hide from that. They did a nice job blocking us today. (Arian) Foster and company did a nice job running it. But we’re capable of better than what we showed today.

How about their defensive line, it looked like they had control most of the game.
They did a nice job particularly at the end when we had to get one dimensional and try to play catch-up. We felt like we found a rhythm once we got into the third quarter and stuff and started getting them off the field. Again the function of the first half or our inability to do anything offensively in the first half is about their ability to possess the ball and convert third downs.  Like I stated earlier we didn’t convert third downs in the first half offensively but we didn’t have many opportunities because they possessed the ball.  

Did they do anything specific in the second half to take (Mike) Wallace out of the game?
No, we were trying to move the football and throw to open people. I am sure they did some things coverage wise but it’s not anything Mike doesn’t normally see on Sundays. I think everybody knows that Mike is fast and capable of getting behind them. It’s not like they reinvented the wheel from a structure standpoint. We were just spreading the ball around. I think we got a little rhythm there with 84 (Antonio Brown) and got him some critical plays. We were just trying to throw the ball to open people. We think that everybody is a viable guy and capable of being why we move the football.

Do you know what Mike (Wallace) said to their sidelines to get the penalty?
I do not know. Sometimes in situations such as that you don’t get a lot of information in terms of why penalties were called. I trust that he made an error there. We’ll address those things.

Does it matter what he said?
It does not, but you would like that information as a coach.

Did you underestimate Houston overall?
No, they are a 2-1 football team. We respect everyone in the National Football League. We know that everybody is a professional football team and capable of playing A-ball.

How good do you think they are?
They are good enough to beat us today.

Do you feel a sense of urgency in the locker room?
I don’t think a sense of urgency or lack of a sense of urgency is the issue. I think fundamental football is, better blocking, better tackling.