Coach Mike Tomlin: It felt really good to get the win. I was really excited about our defensive effort, particularly our red zone defense. It’s the reason why we won the game. Obviously, we were not perfect tonight. We worked against ourselves in many instances. We negated some big plays with penalties. That stopped drives. We lost the turnover battle significantly, particularly since we turned the ball over in the red area. That took points off the board, not only seven points but also field goals. That’s why the game unfolded in the manner in which it did. We accept responsibility for that but we will also take the win, an AFC North win in December. We understand the significance of that. We are in the clubhouse on Thursday night for the weekend, with the necessary win for the week. We like that.
I will give an update on all the injured guys. Ben has a high ankle sprain, same thing for
Did you consider taking Ben out before he came out in the second half?
The doctors said he was okay to go. He wanted to go. I will always give him an opportunity to show what he is capable of. We know what kind of competitor he is. We know his pain tolerance. We know what he’s capable of.
Did you have any intention of kicking the field goal on your fourth-and-goal?
Absolutely not. If we can’t get in the end zone from the two-yard line, four shots running, then we deserve to potentially lose.
Re: Ben’s performance in the second half:
It was a winning performance, as was everyone else’s.
We aren’t surprised by his contributions. We see it. We’ve seen it for two years on the practice field. This guy comes to work every day, and it’s just is good football justice, seeing it transpire in stadiums. We respect him in terms of his big playmaking ability but we respect him more for how he approaches his profession at work. That’s just good to see.
Re: Conversation with Ben at halftime:
The doctors said are you good to go? How do you feel? Okay, do you want to go? Absolutely, let’s do it.
Was it just like that?
Just like that.
I thought not only Steve, but everyone on defense did a nice job. We could have done a better job containing Colt McCoy. He created some things, some escape lanes. He made a few plays. We didn’t do a good job of keeping him in the pocket. Other than that, I thought everyone did a nice job on the defensive side of the football.
He had just thrown the football, so they called it a helmet-to-helmet hit.
Did you have any thoughts on giving
Did you breathe a sigh of relief when Josh Cribbs left the game?
We didn’t run away from that battle tonight. When he was in the game, we were kicking the ball off. That was our intention. It was the same thing in the punting game. We weren’t going to run away from that battle. We weren’t going to tote the luggage of past experiences. We acknowledged that he was dangerous, like we had done during the week. We had to play our game, with our people. And they are capable.
Did you take anything out of your playbook in the second half when Ben was limping?
Some of the misdirection passing and waggles, but that’s just the nature of it. You do what you are capable of, and you adjust accordingly. I thought our guys did a nice job.
Did you have Ben on a leash during the second half?
Like I just explained to him, some of the things related to movement, just common sense adjustments. Other than that, we just played to win.