Inside the Steelers locker room

Head Coach Mike Tomlin
Opening Statement: Great fight. We were able to finish one and get a hard-fought victory. Contributions in all three phases, but also lacked execution at times in all phases. We're not perfect, but good enough to win today and that's what's important. We'll go through our normal processes, in terms of evaluation of our play, but a lot of contributions from a lot of people. Ben Roethlisberger's foot is being evaluated. I don't have a lot of information in that regard. He's getting an MRI as we speak and next time we come together, I'm sure I'll have an update for you. Even prior to that, I'll release something through our PR department in order to update you with his status. I thought Landry Jones came in and did a great job. Largely, I thought it was a good, collective team effort on a lot of fronts.

Re: On Antonio Brown:
He's a guy who always wants to be the reason why we're successful. He's a competitor, and more importantly than that, he's a hard and detailed worker. That does football justice, when a guy works the way he works gets an opportunity to deliver for you in the manner in which he was able to do today.

Re: On losing one key guy after another:
We're not concerned about that. You can waste a lot of time focusing on the guys who aren't available to you. We're just focused on the guys who are and how we can put together the right mix to be successful, how we can utilize their skills, how we can work to minimize their weaknesses individually and collectively. Injuries are as much a part of the game of football as blocking and tackling. It's unfortunate, we don't like it, but we embrace the challenge that comes with it. We're not looking for excuses. That's just how we have to be. We're not the only team that deals with it. They had a lot of guys who got hurt in game today. I'm sure they feel the same way we do.

Re: On the 57-yarder to Brown and if he just wanted to get the ball in his hands:
No. We're just playing and playing to win. We knew they got in some one-on-one matchups, they were a five-man pressure team, and they were a man-free coverage team. If you're throwing to catch the ball, there were going to be opportunities for run after the catch if the guy in coverage doesn't make the tackle. It's just general football things there, allowing the guy to do what he does, which is catch and run.

Re: On the secondary's splash plays:
I thought we were physical. I thought that we hustled, and I think you're opportunistic when those things happen. Can't say enough about the physicality. Not only on defense but our special teams unit as well. Just a good effort in all phases of the game, from that standpoint.

Did you use Roosevelt Nix more today in the running game? And was that specifically designed of something they do?
We used him more today maybe than we had last week, but some of these things are circumstantial. He's a viable option for us. He's done a good job on offense and in special teams, but I wouldn't read too much into it.

Re: On if there was a called pop-up kick on Nix's forced fumble:
Yes.

Re: On if he was concerned Markus Wheaton would be flagged for colliding with a defensive back on the 57-yarder and if it was similar to the previous offensive pass interference penalty:
I wasn't concerned. It was not, no. It was not similar.

Re: On DeAngelo Williams:
He was DeAngelo, that's why we acquired him back in the spring. That was our level of expectation and his as well. He's delivered for us time and time again. Today wasn't the first time. He started the season off for us in a similar way. He's just getting better within what we do. The most encouraging thing about his performance was his ability to be productive in the passing game. That's something he's been focused on and working extremely hard on. We got to see signs of that today, maybe we hadn't seen in the past. In the aspect of running, that's DeAngelo.

Re: On Landry Jones performing in the clutch:
That's what we expect. Again, much like DeAngelo, it's not the first time we have called on him this year. He's shown play-making abilities in those moments in the past. It's reasonable to expect him to deliver again, not that we don't appreciate it. We do.

**

WR Antonio Brown*
*Did the franchise records supersede the win?

I'm extremely blessed. The most important thing is that we're a team at the end of the day.

What have you learned about yourself and how have you grown as a leader?
We've got a good team that leads by example. Based on the game and missing a couple of guys on the team, I think I'm looked to in a situation like that, and I try to be a leader, and Ben Roethlisberger does a good job of reminding me of that.

Was Landry Jones a little calmer when he came in this time compared to last time?
I think so. He came in with a positive attitude. I could tell that he was confident, and he did a good job.

Re: Jones being able to close his eyes and throw to you:
I don't know about all of that, but he's got a lot of trust in me and it feels great to have him come in and finish the game and help us win today.

How concerning is it if Ben is missing a few weeks here?
Ben is a franchise quarterback and I'm looking forward to seeing how he is feeling and checking in on him after this. Hopefully he'll be doing okay.

How rewarding was it to have this kind of impact?
Of course there is always adversity. We look at this as a fresh start to a new season. It's the third quarter of the season. It was a great win today. We're excited about that. 

Re: Oakland's defensive coverage:
I think that was when they were rushing the passer with their front four and stopping the run with eight guys in the box and playing one-on-one on the perimeter. We knew if we were going to win this game today, we had to win big on the perimeter.

Were you down after the fumbled punt return?
No. I should have made it. I didn't get a chance to return a punt, so when I got the opportunity I was excited. I should have made a better judgment on the ball when I was calling for a fair catch. I heard the gunner say he let the guy go, so I just have to be smarter and more cognizant. During the course of the game, there is always adversity. You just have to move on to the next thing.

Do you still want to be a punt returner?
Absolutely. I'm always willing to. It's an exciting play of the game.

Did you feel like you were in the zone today?
Absolutely, had a good flow, positive energy every series, and we were getting the looks that we practiced for, so it was a positive day.

How do you feel when you get one-on-one?
May the best man win, because you know it will show. You cannot take it personally when you do not win a match.
Early on could you sense that Ben was going to keep feeding you?
We had a good rhythm. It was exactly what we practiced for, a lot of one-on-one. I know that Ben was going to give us an opportunity to win. It was a fun day.

Did you feel like you left anything out there?
Every game you always feel like you left something out there but I helped, and we got the win. We will be ready for next week.

The play that set up the game winning field goal:
The under route call, they did a great job pushing up and using Markus Wheaton as a pick for me. Landry put a great ball out in front of me, and I was able to catch it with my hands, and I was off to the races.

Were you just trying to get a first down there?
I was trying to be cognizant of the clock and make sure we got into field goal range. I was just trying to make a play.

With no Le'Veon Bell or Ben Roethlisberger do you feel like this is your offense now?
It is never about the individual. It's a team game. The guys up front did a great job. DeAngelo ran the ball well, Heath Miller was blocking and catching passes and all the receivers did a good job.

DE Cameron Heyward
At the end of the day, is the final score the only thing that matters?
No. We played like crap on defense.. The offense put up way too many points for us. And our special teams did more. To get to where we want to get to, you need to play a lot better on defense. I'm critical of myself. I'm critical of our defense. We have to get better.

What were they able to do?
I have to look at the film, but they ran it, they threw it. You name it, they did it. We have to get a lot better, quick.

Is it frustrating that this is maybe the second or third game where you've given up a lead late in the game?
Yes. Our offense – thank God we had our offense and our special teams. When you give up a late lead – 14 points – that's unacceptable [and] inexcusable. And if we're going to hoot and holler about it, then we're going to get beat in the same way.

Did the air go out a little bit with Ben [Roethlisberger] going out of the game?
I don't think so. Our offense kept rolling, but [with] out defense, we have to get better. We have to get a lot better and we have to finish games.

**

K Chris Boswell*
*Re: Oakland refusing the 5-yard penalty before the final field goal:

There's not really that much of a sharp angle. Coming from college, where the hashes are wider, that makes it harder. With the hashes right on the post, you just hit the same straight ball.

There were a bunch of emotional swings throughout the day:
Definitely. I had a couple of miss-hits with that field goal and right after that with my kickoff. Things happen. But you just have to recover from it.

Kickers are usually pretty confident guys, but you were maybe a little more nervous than usual for that game-winning kick?
No. I definitely wanted to get back out there and kick again, and show that it was just a mistake and it's not going to happen all the time. [I wanted] just to get everybody back on my side after that miss.

What was the mistake? Did you just pull it?
Yeah, it was just timing and rhythm. I started too early, so everything was off after that.

G Ramon Foster
Do you feel like DeAngelo [Williams] is like a second starting running back?
He is. He's come in and I don't think he's gotten enough credit [with] the way he's conditioned himself and his mindset about playing this game. He's come in and done a good job. I've said it before – he's one of the few guys that we've seen come in with free agency that fits perfectly in with us. That's the way we work. He's that guy. It's a lot of things that he's brought in where he just fit in. I don't think a lot of guys can transition to be a part of this team that easy like that.

That game had so many things, I just don't know where to begin:
[It was] back and forth, man. But, we put up the points. Our defense played good, and we just happened to finish well. Our playmakers showed up in a big way and that's what we needed.

What was it like when Ben [Roethlisberger] left the game?
It wasn't anything where we felt like we were about to lose, or anything like that. Like I said, Landry [Jones] has been in that situation where he's produced. I'm glad he's gotten that experience and it's paid off for us.

FB Roosevelt Nix
Can you go over the special teams play? Was that the perfect situation where you put the helmet right where you were supposed to?
It kind of just happened. When you're in the game, you don't really think about perfect situations. You just have to adapt and make things happen. I was fortunate enough to make something like that happen for my teammates.

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.
Advertising