STEELERS VS. RAIDERS
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 20
Coach Mike Tomlin: It’s great to get back out and compete again. I like the way the men responded in terms of delivering a winning performance. We got contributions from a lot of people in all three phases. I thought our leadership was spectacular today. The quarterback, Ben, was what we needed him to be. And I thought
Re: High number of penalties:
I’ll tell you that the game got away from us, both teams. It was unfortunate, but I’m not going to let that dominate our thought. We made plays today. We need to look at some of the things that happened from a penalty standpoint in the game. But I thought the game got away from everyone involved, both teams, and it was a shame.
Re: Clarity on why the team was penalized for unnecessary roughness:
I’m not going to question the officiating. I understand the climate that we’re in from that standpoint. I’m just not going to do it; our guys aren’t going to do it. We’re going to play football, and we’re going to try to play it as fairly as we can, as cleanly as we can. And that’s what we did today, and that’s what we’re always going to try to do. We didn’t do it very successfully today in some instances.
Did you try to clarify who should be ejected when you ran onto the field?
Re: Richard Seymour being ejected:
I haven’t seen a quarterback get punched since I’ve been in this league after a play like that. It was unfortunate. I got big-time respect for Richard Seymour as a football player. That guy’s got an 11-year resume that’s pretty impressive as a professional. It [The Game] got away from us all today. I’m not going to let that play cloud my opinion on Richard Seymour. I think he’s an awesome football player and professional. It just got away from us, all parties involved today.
Re: Defense feeding off of first offensive touchdown:
I thought our defense came out of the locker room ready to play. I didn’t think they needed to feed off anything.
We haven’t been bashful about how we pitted those two men against each other all year, two dogs one bone is the phrase we’ve been using in terms of those two guys being hatted. We had an opportunity to put a hat on both of them today. They’ve grown because of the competition. They’ve driven one another. They are talented young men. They’re not finished products, but it’s not too big for them. I like where they are. They have a ways to go. We’re going to continue to use whatever motivational ploy necessary to keep those guys on the call. We’ll see what happens next week.
Has Sanders moved up on the depth chart?
No, he’s where he is.
It was based solely on performance. Trai was below the line. We felt like Ramon gave us a better shot today. We like his tenacity. We’ll assess his work and proceed from there. We’re not going to be bashful about what it is we need to do here. We need quality play; we need winning performances from everyone.
Will Sanders and Brown dress at the same time again?
We’ll see how this thing unfolds. I don’t have to do that [decide] until 90 minutes before kickoff next week.
How were you guys able to bounce back so well after a short amount of time?
It’s funny, because if you ask me I felt like we didn’t have a good offensive performance. I felt that we were ok. I told the guys that at the very end. It’s a good job of bouncing back and playing well, but we left a lot out there. It wasn’t our best performance by any means. I don’t know how many yards were negated because of penalties, but it had to be a lot. That’s just not us, we killed ourselves today. We were good enough in all phases to still win.
Re: On what happened with Richard Seymour.
It’s not something to dwell on the negative of the game. It is what it is, I was not expecting that from him. We’ll move on.
Did you say anything to him?
I just said let’s get ready for the extra-point.
I hear you have a lot of respect for him, were you surprised by it?
Yeah, it blew my mind. We knew coming in that it was going to be a pretty physical game. There was a lot of pushing and shoving and extracurricular stuff. I was a physical natured game. I just remember trying to get between guys, let’s move on, we scored, let’s go.
Re: Coach Tomlin saying that they had good veteran leadership from James Farrior and Ben Roethlisberger today.
I think all phases of the game today were pretty good. If you look at the stat line, I don’t even know what it was but
Re: On all the late hits that are being called on the quarterbacks.
That’s a slippery-slope. I guess if the refs call it, you live with it.
Have you ever played with a wide receiver as fast as Mike Wallace?
I couldn’t really see the touchdown catch, but
Re: On Emanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.
They are playing a lot better, Emanuel had an early drop along the sideline on a third down. He tried to dive instead of run through it. I think he has enough speed that he could have caught up to it. I told him that he was better than that, and don’t think that I’m not going to go back to you. The next third down I came back to him and he caught it for a first down. Antonio came in and caught the one over the middle. He ran a route that he probably shouldn’t have and made it a hard throw and a hard catch, he could have had an easier catch. I think those guys are feeding off of the veteran leadership of Hines and
Re: defensive touchdown that was called back due to roughing the passer penalty.
“It’s one of those things you have to push through. There were a lot of calls out there today. Whether you agree with them or not, you’ve got to push through those things. I thought we did a good job of doing that.”
WR Mike Wallace
Have you ever been in a game as weird as this, with all the penalties?
“Never. It was crazy. It felt like [on] every play or every-other-play, they were calling a flag. But you can’t do anything about it. You have to just keep trying to play. Fortunately, we have good focus on this team. The guys didn’t let it get to them. We just kept playing and grinding through it and we won the ball game.”
Re: his performance today
“I did all right. I fell like I left a couple of things out there. But my teammates came up big and everybody came together. That was the main thing that got us the win.”
C Maurkice Pouncey
What fired you up more, the physicality or the fact that you had so many calls against you? Did the calls galvanize you all all?
“Not really. The calls were the calls. We can’t have penalties like that. We have to go to practice and prepare the right way and get through that. We don’t need to have things that beat us like that.”
Is it fun when it starts to get physical like that?
“Most definitely. That brings more excitement to the game. The fans love it, the coaches love it. We’re going at it. Let’s play football.”
Is it even better when you are pushing them around?
“Most definitely. Better us pushing than them pushing us.”
“We’ve been getting penalized all year for late hits [and] flags. And today was the most all year, probably since I’ve been here. It’s embarrassing. And it’s something we’re going to have to cut back on if we’re going to continue to win football games.”
How do you and James [Harrison] compare notes on this? You guys are the ones who get the hits on the quarterback and now you are the ones who get the penalties.
“There’s nothing you can do about it – just continue to go out here and play football. Because if you start letting penalties affect the way we play, we’re not going to be the aggressive team that we’ve always been.”
Do you find yourself holding back a little bit?
“I was trying to hold back today. But, once again, a penalty.”
It’s tough because a better team might take advantage of this.
“Definitely. A better team, and it depends who you have at quarterback. A big-name quarterback [will] definitely take advantage of it. They are quick to throw a flag against a big-name quarterback.”
Is this the kind of bounce back you expected?
“Last week was embarrassing. New England kind of just walked up and down the field on us. So we wanted to come in here with a new attitude. We’re trying to get to the Super Bowl. That’s the goal at the end of the year. We knew what kind of team that Oakland was and we wanted to go in here and shut down the run. Once we did that, we forced them to go to the air, got some turnovers, hit their quarterback a few times and came out on top.”
Are you able to fully enjoy this defensive performance you had against Oakland with all the flags that were thrown against you and some strange calls?
“I’m not worried about the calls. We’ll see what happens with those once Wednesday gets here. The way I see it, I don’t think it was a callable flag – a good, clean hit. I don’t know, I guess he felt differently.”
With so many penalties called against you, does it bring a defense together?
“We are going to play together no matter what. And when there are a lot of penalties that are going against you, that’s going to bring you closer together and you are going to play harder.”
How much did last week’s game play into the intensity of today?
“We got handled really good last week. Compliments to New England – they played a great game and executed well. We wanted to come out and try to dominate this game and get back to the way that we play ball.”
Have you ever been involved in a game with so many penalties?
“I don’t think I have, but, I don’t know, I’m not one of the guys in the white and black striped suits. I’m just out there playing the game to the best of my abilities.”
Do you think the pass rush got better this week?
“Definitely. Coach LeBeau called a lot more blitzes, which freed us up to rush more. With more guys going, it’s fun to get more pressure on the quarterback.”
What happened to you at the end? Did you get a little dinged up?
“No, just a little sand. You know the middle of that field is nothing but a sand pit, so when I hit the ground, it just all went into my eyes.”
How does that many penalties affect the flow of the game? It seemed like it was one after another.
“You just have to move on to the next play. You can’t let the penalty bring you down because the next play is coming.”
There have been some comparisons to last year. But this is a win that maybe you didn’t get a year ago against a team like this. Does this indicate a turning point as opposed to last season?
“I would say that we’re in a better position right now than we were last season. Right about now is the time when we dropped about five in a row. We came out and we executed well and won the game. First and foremost, we wanted to come out and win. After that, it’s about style points – how well you do against the run and the pass.”
Coach Tom Cable: We had two guys not finish the game. Chris Johnson strained a groin in the first half and Trevor Scott has a torn ACL in his left knee. In terms of the game, you have to give [the Steelers] a lot of the reason why they beat us the way they did. They played very well and we didn’t. We didn’t seem to ever find any rhythm offensively. I thought defensively we were playing hard, and we didn’t let it get out of hand until offensively we had some turnovers. I think we had three. [The Steelers] scored on all three I believe. It was not a good day for us, but again, it will not be a game that defines us. We’ve got to move forward from here and get ready to go next week for Miami.
How do you move on from this loss?
We just talked about that, that we’ve got to acknowledge the fact that we just got our tails whipped and move forward and don’t hang our heads and sit around and feel sorry for ourselves. We’ve got work to do and we’ve got a good team coming to Oakland next week with Miami.
You got off to a decent start. What happened in the second quarter?
It’s hard to explain right now until you see it on film. We felt pretty good at the start of the game. We got some stops on defense, and offensively we went down and got a field goal. But, that seemed to be it. We never seemed to adjust with them and stay on track, if you will.
How much did field position affect the game?
It was big. We weren’t doing enough offensively to change that. I thought the punting game was doing a good job of trying to balance it back up. And defensively, again, we were getting some stops but we weren’t able to get a couple first downs offensively where you are able to change it.
Why did you decide to pull Campbell?
They turned up the blitz a little bit more on him and it started to get out of hand a little bit for him. He’ll be the starter next week, there is no issue there. We just felt like a change was needed. As we all saw, it didn’t make a lot of a difference.
Is Trevor Scott out for the season?
It looks to be an ACL injury. If that’s the case, it will take some time.
Re: It seems like you couldn’t get your running game going.
Again, I never felt like we were staying on track meaning getting the game in manageable downs and distance. We were 4th and long early, which is indicative of incomplete passes and not running the ball. We never seemed to get settled into anything we were doing offensively.
Re: Richard Seymour ejection
I don’t know, I wasn’t around it, but I heard that Big Ben said something. I guess Big Rich didn’t like it.
Was the play getting rough prior to the ejection?
Yeah. They hold a lot. We knew that coming in to the game. Coach stressed all week that they hold a lot. He stressed that we not get into it, but when you’re in the heat of battle, sometimes you lose your temper.
Re: Steelers performance
They came out trying to enforce their toughness on us. I don’t feel like they manhandled us, I just feel like we didn’t execute their game plan. They didn’t run the ball down our throats. Ben had a couple of scrambles that hurt us. We did what we had to do against Mendenhall. They made plays and we didn’t.
Re: Going up against Chris Kemoeatu
They hold, he holds. Both of the guards hold. All of them do. But it’s the game. Every offensive lineman holds. The field didn’t make it any better. The field was absolutely atrocious, I don’t know what they’re doing out there. But it is what it is.
Re: Loss of Richard Seymour
It’s not about whether it hurt. You have to go. Rich is our captain, but our captain was gone. That’s the point in the game where coach is really going to find out the type of team he has. You’re down, everything’s not peaches and cream. Now are you going to keep playing when you’re down a little bit? Everything’s not going your way. You’re on the road. The crowd’s against you. I like that we kept our composure, but they still put up some points.
Re: Getting into the game
You get the feel of the game, get some throws in, get pushed around a little bit. That part felt good. I was excited, I felt great out there. I definitely feel like I’m ready to play now, so that’s exciting.
When did Coach Cable indicate that you might get in today?
You just never know. Not until the third quarter. I had the feeling. They told me I was in after that. It wasn’t the best situation to be in, but I’m always up for a challenge. That’s a good team we played. It makes us realize where our intensity needs to be. That’s a playoff team we just played, a Super Bowl-caliber team. It gives us a feel of what we need to do to move forward.
Reaction after connecting on first five passes
You’re always thinking positive things. I was thinking that we scored 21 points in the fourth quarter last year, and we can do it again. We were moving the ball well. You always have to account for number 43. Sometimes you can’t see him out there. He made some good plays. Against a good football team like that, you can’t turn the ball over. That’s what hurt us today.
Re: Turnover after successful drive
That was tough. It was the point in the game where we could have made a difference. He made a good play. We were moving the ball well. It was exciting to get back in the game and get a feel for everything. I’m glad to get back in there today.
Re: Success of Steelers despite penalties
I think in all three phases we just didn’t show up to play. They just wanted it more than we did, and they got the win.
Is this team resilient enough to come back from this game?
I think we are. I think we have enough guys that know how important each game is. We know where we’re at now. Obviously this isn’t how we wanted today to go, but we still have a lot of games left. We have six games. We’ll start next week with the Miami Dolphins.
Re: Importance of putting bad games behind
You definitely have to have a short-term memory and get over this one as soon as possible, but we also have to learn from it.
Did the bye week cause the team’s momentum to stall?
No. I felt we started the game pretty well. We weren’t executing offensively. You can’t fall down to a team like the Steelers. We had to throw to get back into the game.
Re: Steelers success despite penalties
I can just look at it offensively. We got into way too many third-and-longs. You’re not going to be able to convert many, especially with their pass rush. As an offense, we didn’t execute and kept our defense on the field too long.