STEELERS VS PATRIOTS
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 14
AT HEINZ FIELD
Coach Mike Tomlin: Good evening. You got to give credit to New England. They beat us soundly tonight in all phases of the game, quite honestly. Our guys fought to try to make it close there in the end, but it was a good game played by those guys. They made more consistent plays, more significant plays. We got to get better. We weren’t as good tonight to compete with these guys, and we acknowledge that. We need to look at it in great detail tomorrow and make the necessary corrections and hopefully learn from this experience, and be better for it when given the opportunity if we can fight and put ourselves in the position to play in this kind of game again. It was a big game tonight. Of course we didn’t come through. You got to acknowledge that those guys did and tip your hat to them, and hopefully we’ll learn from this. From an injury standpoint
Was the first half a period of adjustment to playing without Hines?
Yeah, but that’s always going to be the case when a guy like Hines goes down. That’s no excuse for our performance. We are capable of better than we displayed.
Re: Defense looking flat:
No, they [Their Offense] were very efficient. They made quick decisions, made accurate throws and good catches. We weren’t able to get consistent pressure. We weren’t close enough to some of the underneath throws to tackle and make insignificant gains. They ran after a few of them. They got some out in the flat. It’s just not good enough football when playing against a team as well as they played tonight.
Re: Offensive success in the fourth quarter:
Offenses that are behind are capable of moving the ball. So I’m not going to read too much into that. They beat us soundly tonight.
Re: Offensive line play:
We all lost tonight. We all did, including myself.
“It’s plain and simple. We just got our butt whooped. That’s what it all boils down to. Nobody is making excuses. Tonight we got our butt whooped.”
How did that happen?
“It happened. Just like life, things happen. It’s all in how we respond. But tonight we didn’t play like we wanted to play. They came in here and they handed it to us.”
It seemed pretty emotional. Tom Brady had that spike after he scored and they kind of kept coming.
“We can’t worry about what they do. We can only control what we do. Tonight wasn’t good enough at all.”
Does this take a hit for you guys? Don’t you want to be the best in the conference?
“You’re right. We did take a hit. No excuses. We have to come back tomorrow and do what we need to do, feed off of this and make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
“I was happy to see them starting to come to me. It was definitely a couple of steps forward. I’m looking forward to next Sunday.”
Ike [Taylor] said you got your butt whipped. Is there any other way to describe it?
“No. They beat us. They were a better team. They executed better and were more physical. They did what they wanted to do basically. You know that coming in – [that] they are going to play well, they are going to play smart. They are going to be patient. When you play a defense like ours, you take a four yard pass or a five yard pass and try to turn it into more. That’s kind of their game. Tom [Brady] executed extremely well. [He] made very good throws and was smart with the ball. We just have to get better. It’s just one game. But it’s a game we can learn a lot from.”
How does that happen? How is he able to execute as well as they did?
“You’d have to ask him. He did the job. We didn’t make the plays that we needed to make, but he didn’t really give us many opportunities. It’s not the first time you’ve seen Tom Brady operate at that high level. You don’t get called the best, or always in the argument for the best quarterback in the NFL if this is the first time that you’ve done that. But you know how it is when somebody does something against us. The sky is falling and we anoint that guy Baby Jesus. But Tom went out and did what Tom is supposed to do. And we didn’t come to play. We didn’t make the plays.”
It doesn’t worry you at all?
“I can’t be worried. You can’t start dredging up things from the past. This is one night and this is one night we need to get better from. It sucks to lose any time. If we’d have lost 3-2, or losing like this. Obviously, for our defense, it hurts more because we’re not used to playing this way. We’re not used to giving up yardage the way we did or giving up the scores in that manner. But you have to come back and continue to play. Yeah, we’re [angry]. We’re upset. But we just have to come back to work tomorrow the same that we did when we were winning.”
How does a team play like that against a defense like yours?
“You play well. You execute. If you watch, he’s patient. They are a very patient team. People get into trouble against us when they get impatient. They try to get out of character and try to do things that they are not used to doing – things that play into our hands. If you watch they way they operated the game, they weren’t running the ball a lot on first down. They were taking the 4-yard pass, taking the 6-yard pass. They basically played ahead of the chains the whole night. [And] we can’t dial up the type of things we like to. They spread us out and just took what we gave them. It was a very intelligent game plan, but very hard to execute. It’s very hard to tell a quarterback, ‘We want you to throw five-yard passes the whole way until you get your chance.’”
Was it a game changer when you had those opportunities in the red zone early and couldn’t cash in?
“Obviously. Seven points is better than three. We have to capitalize when we get down there. We left some plays out there, but I was bad.”
This was uncharacteristic for your offense. Any theories?
“I don’t know. You have to give them credit. I don’t think they did anything to confuse us or anything like that. I think they just flat out beat us. It was a good old fashioned butt whooping. And you never like it when it’s at home.”
Do you think injuries are starting to have an impact?
“That would be making an excuse. And I’m not going to do that. Obviously, it hurts when you don’t have guys out there. You’re used to practicing with certain guys and then all of sudden you move guys around. But I do have to give a lot of credit to guys who came in and played their positions – Emmanuel Sanders,
You mentioned coming in that you appreciate watching Brady. Was that him at about his best today?
“He looked pretty good to me. It just seemed like he was Tom Brady.”
COACH BILL BELICHICK
What was the key to the offensive performance?
I thought we just had a good, consistent offensive performance. We ran the ball competitively, made them worry about it. We did a good job with the passing game, made some yards after the catch. Of course the red area is huge like it always is, getting the ball in the end zone. We give the players the credit. They played well, they played hard, they blocked them, they got open, they threw it, they caught it.
Re: Pressure on the Steelers’ offense
We just give the credit to the players. The guys were blocking them, but they were able to get past those blocks. Roethlisberger is a hard guy to tackle. We had our hands on him a lot, trying to get him down. He’s tough, but we were able to get a hold of him there and tie him down a couple of times.
Re: Performance of the offensive line
They did a great job. Our whole offensive line did a good job. Those guys, they bring a lot of inside pressure with Timmons and Farrior and Hampton and
Re: Tom Brady’s performance
I thought Tom did a good job. I thought our offense did a nice job. We had a good balance over the ball. The tight ends, the backs, the receivers all ran the ball competitively. We scored in the red areas. The offensive line blocked. They blocked hard. Everybody had their own part in it, and certainly Tom did a nice job.
Re: Defensive effort
For the most part, we played pretty competitively on defense until the last couple two minute drives. We really didn’t do a great job on those, but we were able to make a couple red area stops, one field goal, and one missed field goal. So that was good and we played better on third down so that gave us an opportunity to get off the field. That combined with our offense moving the ball and having a couple of long drives, it was a very complementary game. The offense, the defense, and the kicking game. We had field position, we took advantage of it. Offense got good field position, we took advantage of it. It was a good team effort all the way around. The defense helped out the offense, the offense helped out the defense.
RE: Best Performance of the year thus far
I think we did a lot of good things out there, and we were able to move the ball. I think there were some frustrating times too. We were up 10 to nothing and we wanted to put more points on the board, and we weren’t able to. It’s a little bit frustrating with the penalties and other stuff. At the same time we did some good things, and were able to move the ball. It’s just when we would stop ourselves, we would have some trouble. Overall, it was a good game and a great win for us.
RE: Brady’s animation on the sidelines towards his team
I was exhausted. There’s only one way to play the game, and it’s an emotional game. I think part of being a quarterback is making sure that everyone’s into it and there’s a level of concentration and focus that you need on the road. The crowd gets noisy and there are plenty of plays that we didn’t make, that we probably should have made, especially in the first half. Getting the ball down on the four-yard line and they call us for a chop-block, then not making plays on the next drive, and just not executing great. I thought all the guys played really hard and stayed focus. It was an exciting win for all of us. We haven’t been this happy in a long time.
Did the players get your message when you were lighting up?
I really have respect for this team. The Steelers are a classy organization. It’s always a battle when we play. When you’re playing them, you have to play well. They take advantage of every bad play you make. They’re the best at “Sack-the-Quarterback” football. Troy (Polamula) is one of the best in the game. Ike Taylor is a great player. We knew we had to come out and counter it. Everybody was up for the challenge.
RE: This game showing what they’re all about, what is that?
Well we’re pretty good when we play and execute the right way, do the right thing, and when everyone’s doing their job. We got off to a fast start tonight, played from ahead the whole game, and that’s a big difference. Anything can happen each week, and we’re 7-2 with a lot of football left. We’ve got another great opponent coming into our stadium this week, so like I said it’s an emotional win, everyone, especially me has to get some rest and be ready to come back Wednesday.
RE: This past week of practice compared to the week before the Cleveland Browns’ game
It was a better week, but (Colt) McCoy comes to execute on gameday, and I’ve had good weeks of practice where I thought we’d come out and win and bad weeks where I thought we’d come out and lose, so you have to learn from practice. If it’s good, you have to keep it that way, and if it’s bad then you know you have to improve it. We had a good week of practice this week. Our guys made some great plays, and I think that’s the exciting part.
Re: Preparing to play the Steelers
We got off with a good start this week in practice, and it showed today. We prepared well this week. I think everybody’s focus was on the Steelers. So starting in practice, we showed up every day and tonight. They’re a pretty good football team.
Re: Importance of rebounding from last week’s loss to Cleveland
Each week is different, especially coming off an embarrassing loss. As a defensive unit, we just wanted this game to hurry up and get here. At the same time, we had to take care of what we had to take care of in practice. I think everybody did a good job of coming to work and putting the Cleveland game behind us and focusing on the Steelers. We did well. We prepared well. Guys came ready to work. We were eager to get to this game and get this game started to get rid of the bad taste of last week. It worked well for us today. We came out and played aggressive and physical. If you want to beat the Steelers, you have to be able to play physical. If you don’t, they’ll run you out of the building. One point of emphasis this week was coming out and playing aggressive and standing up to these guys.
Re: Importance of the game
That was a great win. It was a great team win. All the line played well, the wide receivers were out there running. The defense played great. Overall, a great team win and I’m so glad we got the “w” to go home with.
Re: Playing high school football in the Pittsburgh area
I played here at Woodland Hills my senior year, up here in Pittsburgh. We never made it to Heinz Field. We lost, I think, two games before the championship (at Heinz Field). I did come to Pitt games and Steelers games here. It’s a great atmosphere. The fans are crazy, I knew they’d be up for the game. The fans are awesome. It’s a wild atmosphere. (Woodland Hills High School coach) George Novak was here.
Re: Playing well after loss to Cleveland
It definitely feels good. We practiced hard all week as a team. I just had to go out there to do my job, and everyone else did their job, and we just played as a team. That’s what we did, and we got the “w” and it feels a lot better.
Did you have something to prove tonight?
It’s just opportunities. When you get the opportunity, you have to step up. Obviously last week didn’t go the way we wanted it to. We practice hard every week no matter what, and this week we’re going to have to practice just as hard as we did last week, or even harder. We have a good team coming into our home and we have to go hard all next week.
Re: Tom Brady’s vocal leadership
This is an easy game to get fired up for. We didn’t need any extra motivation, especially after last week. We had a whole week to think about how we played, and I think we played a lot better than we did (last week). We didn’t want a repeat.
What was Tom Brady’s message on the sideline?
I don’t know. He was yelling about something. He was just trying to make sure that everyone was focused and into the game and that everyone knew that the game wasn’t over yet.
How do you react when your quarterback is that fired up and animated on the sideline?
I don’t know. It’s good, I guess. Look, we’re professionals, we don’t need Tom to yell at us, but when he thinks it’s necessary, he’s going to yell at us. We take it for what it’s worth.
Re: Brady’s animation after touchdowns
Yeah, that’s always great. Football’s a game of emotions, so we want to see him excited when things are going well.