Head Coach Mike Tomlin
Opening Statement:** Great team win for us, a necessary win. Good to go into the bye on a positive note, good to get an AFC North victory. A lot of contributions in all three phases, just a generally good effort. I thought we played really good situational defense when the field got short. I thought Ben Roethlisberger did a nice job on administering the offense on little to no reps of preparation. Tip of the cap to him to be able to do that, but he is a veteran and that experience showed up for us in a positive way today. I appreciate that. From a health standpoint, Landry Jones had an ankle sprain, it's going to be evaluated and I don't know the extent of that. Sean Spence had a hamstring, don't know the extent of that. We'll take a look at those guys, do what's appropriate. It'll be a great opportunity for us, as we get into the bye, to get some of these bumps and bruises taken care of. And be a team that's hopefully got an upward trajectory as we come out of it. Obviously, we have some big challenges waiting for us on the other side, but we'll enjoy it. We'll evaluate what's transpired to this point and move forward appropriately.
Re: On what went into the decision to have Ben as the backup:
He perked up at the very latter part of the week. He spent the vast majority of the week rehabilitating. He had little to no in-helmet preparation, in terms of what the game plan was. So, we gave the start to Landry, because he did. We felt comfortable with his overall readiness. We knew we would have Ben available to us, probably in a limited capacity, from a preparedness standpoint. We operated out of the no-huddle a little bit, brought the game to him. It was less game-plan specific and more football one-on-one, and we were able to operate in the fashion.
Was he at all limited physically?
I'm sure that he was, but obviously not enough to minimize his effectiveness.
Was Landry ever healthy enough to come back into the game?
I think he would have been, had we needed him to. But, obviously that circumstance is not ideal.
What would Heath Miller had done at quarterback if he had to play?
I'm not into the hypotheticals. I'll let you guys chew that up.
Re: On Mike Mitchell:
Mike is the guy who we acquired in free agency. He's grown, in terms of what we need from him. He's working hard, he's practicing with great detail and I think it's showing up on the field because of it.
A veteran like Ben, how many reps do you need to see from him during the week to be comfortable?
It's not about what we do. Obviously, there's an understanding about what we do, but that preparation really is steeped in preparing for what it is they do. And we have respect for that. Their preparation, their system of defense, they run a myriad of things at you. Because we were able to go no-huddle, it might have minimized some of that, and helped him, I think, operate.
Re: On why the defense was successful today:
The guys executed it. Plans are overrated. I've had good plans that didn't get executed, I've had poor plans that were highly executed. The big thing is we did what was necessary to play winning football. I thought they played really competitively when the ball was on the short field and that allowed us to keep the point total down.
What is it that leads you to believe there's potential for an upward trajectory coming out of the bye?
I'm just internally optimistic.
Is it based on what you've seen the last few weeks?
No. I'm just internally optimistic.
Are you okay with the Antonio Brown flip?
I am. Judge it.
The Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field in Week 10.
How much preparation did you do in case you had to replace Landry Jones?**
I had a lot of mental preparation. There wasn't a lot of physical preparation. We let Landry Jones get most of the reps. I did do some stuff throughout the week. In a situation like that, you just have to get as many mental reps as you can and count on the guys around you. I thought that was the best part. I thought the guys around me played great.
When did you know you would at least be active today? That surprised most people. How close was it to even starting?
Yeah, probably just late in the week. Coach and I checked in every day after treatment, rehab and practice. It's his call, ultimately. I can just tell him how I feel. He made a decision to go with Landry, and I thought he did a good job. Unfortunately he got hurt, but you just have to be ready.
Shock to the Cleveland Browns and a shock to the fans:
I guess. You'll have to ask them. It feels good. Like I said it's not expectant. This is the second game I have ever been a backup. I know how hard it is now. Dealing with those guys, I have had a lot of great backups in my career. I know now that it is not easy for those guys do what they do. A lot more respect for those guys.
As a quarterback and a teammate, what have you learned with Landry Jones this season?
He is a great football player and he is doing great things. He improves every single week. He is above the shoulders, as smart as a football player and quarterback that I have ever been around. I think that accredits to his hard work, dedication and determination. He is always in the meeting rooms and always almost bugging our quarterback coach, Coach Fichtner, because he is just constantly doing more and more. It shows because he stepped up when his number has been called and he has been ready to play.
Landry Jones preparing for this game:
I think it is just comfort. The more you are in it the more comfort you get with Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton, everybody. When guys get more comfortable with where he is going to be in the pocket, so it is just an all-around comfort level.
How did you feel physically when you started getting contact?
Good. I got stepped on once which hurt but other than that, I felt pretty good.
Re: One-on-one coverage:**
Yeah, they were doing some stuff. We took advantage. We saw some good matchups. I missed a few matchups. I wish I could go back, left some stuff out there. We felt that we stopped ourselves a lot. When we got stopped, it was because of us not doing something here or something there. That's the way we always feel. We need to go out there and say that no one is going to stop us. The only time we get stopped is when we stop ourselves. That is the mentality we always have to have. I thought it was a great day by the offensive line and everybody else.
Not running the ball late, was that your choice?
We just felt we had thing. We did a lot of because of the preparation, a lot of no-huddle calls, Todd Haley was calling stuff to me. We felt like that gave us the best chance, because of the lack of physical reps that I took all week. Kudos to everybody for changing up the whole system and doing what we did. We have had success throwing the ball, so why change it? Until that last drive we started running, we were doing a lot of checks, their run checks, pass checks, and pass to run, going with the best look we had.
What can you say about this team standing where it is and what it's taken to get there?
I'm glad we have a win going into the bye. It's about time. It's been a long time. I don't know that we've ever had one this late. It's a long time coming and a lot of guys are ready to get some rest. We've got a heck of a stretch run coming up after the bye. We're just trying to get as healthy as we can and be ready to go.
Were there things you couldn't do out there?
I don't think so.
Where does this game rank in surprising you?
I drank a lot of milk. It kind of surprised me and everyone else because I was in a boot. On Monday, my foot was basically black and blue. It's more than just me. It's the training staff – John Norwig and the doctors and everyone. We were tireless in our rehab and trying to get ready. It was a day-by-day process, and I was just telling coach how I felt.
How do you approach practice in the upcoming weeks with your injuries?
I'm not going to practice for a while. We have a couple days off. I would assume. We'll see how I feel tomorrow when I wake up. You never know. When the adrenaline wears off, it might start hurting. I don't feel like I did anything to hurt it any worse. I got stepped on. That hurt. Anytime you get a bruise stepped on, it hurts. I don't think I'll be limited moving forward.
Did you want to be involved today?
I always want to be involved. I just tried to be honest with Coach and tell him how I felt. I always want to play obviously. He felt Landry gave us a shot because Landry practiced all week. I think that's why he had me coming out of the pen because he felt I was ready enough to do it.QB Landry Jones
Were you stunned with the turn of events early with you getting hurt?
Yeah. It's unfortunate, but it's a part of the game. You've got a great player like Ben [Roethlisberger] coming into the game.
Did you think right away that something was seriously wrong?
I knew something was going on in my ankle. We'll see in the scans and stuff and figure out what's going on.
Could you have come back into the game if needed?
If needed, yeah, I could have gone back and finished the game. I don't know how effectively I could have really moved around. But I think I could have gone back in and played.
This was your first win as a starter.
I know. That's what Ben [Roethlisberger] was telling me on the sideline. He said, "Congratulations [on] your first win as a starter." I said, "I appreciate it, man. Thanks for coming in."
He's not a bad long relief guy.
No. [He is] maybe the most expensive backup in the NFL.
Was there any sort of discussion about you coming in?
No, there was no real discussion about me coming back in at that point.
The best photos of Linebacker Lawrence Timmons from the 2015 season.
LB Lawrence Timmons**
Re: Defensive creating turnovers with big hits:
I thought we did that together as a unit. The defensive line won the line of scrimmage and helped stop the run. Our secondary and third level of defense, we just rolled off of them. You saw the type of plays that we made. We played off of each other all day. It was a great win for us.
What was it you guys did well to get all those sacks?
Like I said, the defensive line did a good job. So, we just ran through and made great plays. They made it easy for us the whole day.
Why are you guys better at turning the ball over than you were last year?
I think it's just how we practice [by] taking it day-to-day. Coach Butler does a good job pushing us. All of our coaches – the DB, D-line, linebackers – they do a good job individually prepping us so everything is working together.
How important is it to get going heading into the bye and have a week to heal?
That's big. You don't want to go into the bye with a loss because you have to answer for it. And it's at Heinz Field in the AFC North, so we know what those wins do for us. We need these.
TE Heath Miller
Any tense moments when Ben first entered the game?
Like I said, I knew when he came in the huddle [that] he was going to do great for us. That's the amount of confidence that I have in him. And I think that's the amount of confidence that everyone else has.
When did you know that you were really in control on the game?
I don't know that you ever feel like you're really in control of a game. You just keep playing hard. For instance, in our game here last year, we started well in the first half. Some might say we were in control in the game and we weren't. So we kind of took the mentality that you have to keep playing in this game and I guess maybe we were in control when we were kneeling at the end.
G David Decastro
When Ben came in, did you put any extra pressure on yourself to keep him clean?
You definitely try to. That's definitely in your mind. Luckily, the receivers were getting open, he was making good decisions and getting rid of the ball real quick.
How big is it to get it going headed into the bye?
This was a must-win game for us. We knew we had to get it at home before the bye. It's time to rest up and get ready for this last stretch. It's huge.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown made the highlight reel with a quick catch on a crossing route for a 56-yard touchdown with a little twist at the end...
WR Antonio Brown**
Re: Ben's performance:
The guy was literally in a boot and on crutches Monday. I can't speak highly enough about him. He is a tremendous warrior. You never know what he is capable of doing. He is on the brink of greatness.
Re: Ben not practicing a lot this week:
He was able to come to the game and have a great game. You could tell he was mentally prepared. He got in there and gave us the chance to win.
Re: This is a big win:
It was extremely important. It was an AFC North opponent. If we want to be the team we desire to be and get to the playoffs, we have to win division games. It was our assignment to get our first division win at home. I think we are okay. We still have to get a lot better. I think we can learn a lot from today's tape. We have to continue to grow. We are at a positive point right now, and we have to continue to build off of it.