Skip to main content

Coach Tomlin's Post-Game vs. Bengals


Head Coach Mike Tomlin: **Got an excited group in there. Just really, really happy for them. Proud of their effort. (It) hasn't been an easy journey for us but they never are. The group grew and grew together and remained resilient throughout. Not only tonight but over the course of the 16 games that we played here in the regular season. A lot to be proud of from that perspective. But we can't waste a lot of time in celebration. We have our next challenge back here on Saturday night, so we're excited about that. We'll start the process and move forward. On the injury front, have a hyper-extension on Le'Veon Bell's knee. Structurally it appears to be fine so we'll see if he'll be available to us here in our next game. I don't know that as we sit here today. We'll gather more significant information as we proceed through the week. No journey is without its adversity. We're thankful that it's not anything major. No. 7 (Ben Roethlisberger) battled the flu tonight but he was No. 7. We expected that. I'm sure they had some guys in similar situations. I remember reading that throughout the week. (It's) just the nature of this time of year. We'll try to get those guys (back) that are under the weather and so forth (and) healthy as quick as we can because we have big work (in) another AFC North ball game in here next weekend.

Did you have any issue with Reggie Nelson's tackle on Le'Veon Bell?I did not. It's not an illegal hit. I did not.

Was the hit not illegal?It's not illegal. I did not (have an issue).

Re: The words he shared with Nelson on the field after the game:You have to ask him about that. He was talking about some he-said, she-said type of a deal. I don't know what he was talking about.

Were the words related to the hit?No. I guess a teammate told him that I said something regarding him. That's untrue. Ask him. I have a lot of respect for Reggie Nelson. He's a good player.

Should the league get involved?I'm not getting into my personal opinions regarding legal plays. It was a legal play.

Was the fake punt your call or something that they checked into?No. I take responsibility for that. I'm going to remain aggressive. I thought they had possessed the ball. I thought that our defense had played a lot. They won the time of possession. I was not interested in having the defense take the field again if we got what we were looking for. I took a calculated risk. (It was a) good play by them. They checked out of whatever rush that they were in and covered it but that's on me. Our guys did a nice job as they've done a nice job all year. They know that I'm going to be aggressive. They know that I'm going to play to win. They know we are not going to live in our fears. (I'm) thankful to the guys on offense and defense that they backed up that decision.

Is your defense playing championship football?I don't know that any of us are playing championship football. We are not champions. We won an AFC North title tonight. If we're playing division championship football, yes. But we're going to continue to write that story as we move forward. We're not looking for accolades (or) anything of that nature. We're just trying to do what's required to win on each opportunity (and) that's on offense, defense and special teams. We're not living as units within the unit.

Re: Josh Harris and Dri Archer stepping in and playing:Those young guys I thought they really did a nice job. It's a shame that Josh's big run got called back. We know that these guys work hard and we respect them. We believe that any man, if given an opportunity, can be a reason why we're successful and those guys really stepped up big (with) Josh running and Dri made a couple big catches. I just appreciate their efforts, but not only of those men, the efforts of all the men.

Re: Antwon Blake, Brice McCain and Will Allen playing well with starters out:We've taken our lumps and they've remained singularly focused and they've stayed together. We haven't allowed the adversity to divide us and we've gotten stronger because of it. They're playing with better confidence and they're making plays. It's just the natural maturation process when you don't let outside forces interrupt it and you stay singularly focused on growth and development and the opportunities at hand. I give them credit for doing that. I think their play and our play has been on the upswing because of it.

Do you think the defensive backs are playing better because of increased pressure up front?I think they're playing better because they're playing better.

How fitting was it for Antonio Brown sealing the game with his touchdown reception with the season that he has had?I mean who else was going to make it, you know (laughing). He needs no endorsement from me. He is who he is. I don't think any of us are surprised when he delivers for us time and time again. He works like that. I know that we say that often and you probably get tired of hearing us say it but it's true. He works harder than he plays. It's not haphazard that he rises up in moments. I hope that's a blueprint for our younger guys and I think it is (on) how to work, how to approach it (and) how to remain singularly focused. And ultimately how to deliver for your teammates.

Re: Facing Baltimore for the third time this season:It's typical AFC North ball. We take a lot of pride in being from the North. I look forward to it. It's going to be typical Steelers/Ravens. Steelers/Ravens in January, it's been a while since we had that. I know we're going to be excited. We're probably going to have to educate some of our guys to what that means. And I'm sure they're going to have to do the same thing (and) educate some of their guys to what that means because it's been a while.

Were there any other injuries other than Bell?Bumps and bruises and so forth. Nothing of any significance I don't think.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.