After further review: 'Get in there and make a play for us, baby'

After further review …

On a day when "next man up" kept becoming "next men up," the Steelers persevered.

Perhaps the only ones who weren't surprised none of the players they didn't have at the outset or lost during the course of Sunday's 23-19 survival of the Packers turned out to be deal-breakers were the players doing the persevering against Green Bay.

"We know it sucks when guys go down, but like I've said since the beginning everybody in here practices every week, everybody's in the same meetings," outside linebacker T.J. Watt maintained. "Everybody knows what the standard is, it's all about stepping up in those moments.

"We don't have time to sit around and sulk while we have a football game going on. We just need to take it in stride, and I feel like we did a good job of that."

A remarkable job, considering the Steelers didn't have free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and inside linebacker Cole Holcomb at the outset and then lost inside linebacker Kwon Alexander and safety Keanu Neal as the game progressed.

"We were leaking in a lot of places, but 'next man up,''' defensive back Patrick Peterson reasoned.

"We have trust in you so get in there and make a play for us, baby."

Among those tasked in such a fashion was safety Trenton Thompson, who signed with the Steelers on Aug. 2 and was activated from the practice squad in advance of the kickoff against Green Bay.

Thompson, undrafted out of San Diego State in 2022, had appeared in one NFL game previously (last season with the New York Football Giants).

The seven defensive snaps Robinson played in the six-defensive backs "Dime" against the Packers, the final seven snaps of the game with everything still at stake, were the first of his NFL career.

But he was ready.

"Very ready," Robinson emphasized. "Since I've been here I've kinda been in the mix, thrown into the fire, you learn that from 'Mike T.' (head coach Mike Tomlin) a lot. They don't care about your situation. If you get in there, you better do your job. Just doing my best to stay ready and prepared throughout the week in case anything like that happens, someone gets injured or something like that. First (quarter), second, third, OT; it doesn't matter, I'm cool with it.

"That's why you gotta prep throughout the week, so if that happens you don't wet the bed, let's put it like that."

Safety Elijah Riley was also on the field at game's end, and played multiple roles from snap to snap in the "Dime."

"Did what I could where I was put," Riley offered. "At that point it's just about executing the job."

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 10 game against the Green Bay Packers at Acrisure Stadium

Riley had extensive experience with the Jets in 2021, but he'd played just 10 defensive snaps for the Steelers this season (all on Sept. 18 against Cleveland).

He played 21 against the Packers, and he insisted he was ready because of "my guys.

"Everybody is very helpful, especially out there on the field," Riley continued. "We get each other situated, help get each other lined up.

"And then, during the week in the prep, I like to pay attention to what everybody's got to do. I want a big-picture view of the defense so that when I get out there, I get thrown into any position, I'm able to execute it."

Elandon Roberts became the third option as the lone inside linebacker in the "Dime," but he didn't mind.

"It wasn't like, 'Oh, Coach, I'm in 'Dime,'' and start flinching," Roberts maintained.

"I don't flinch."

Mark Robinson would up playing 41 defensive snaps in the wake of Alexander's injury.

Robinson had played four of those this season previously.

"He didn't flinch," Roberts insisted.

None of them did in a defensive effort that was far from perfect but at the same time good enough.

Flinching isn't an option, apparently, no matter how many "next men up" are summoned.