Inside the Steelers locker room after the game

**

Head Coach Mike Tomlin** Opening Statement: Really, a tough football game, hard-fought on both sides. We just came up short and really, the reasons are very tangible. We were more penalized than we normally are and we turned the ball over more than we normally do. You do that against good people, against undefeated people, that's going to minimize your chances of winning. It did for us today. We fought, but we didn't overcome the combination of both of those. Appreciate the efforts. We'll do like we always do, we're not going to assess the position we're in too much. We just know that our next opportunity is the one we need to be focused on. We are what we are right now. Right now, we're 4-4. We embrace that and we'll get back to work tomorrow. A little hurt today, but we should hurt. We put a lot into that and come up short. That's life. From an injury standpoint, Le'Veon Bell obviously has a knee injury that's being evaluated. The others are bumps and bruises associated with play. Mike Mitchell went into the concussion protocol. I don't have any definitive information on his status. All the other guys, we'll see.

Why let 38 seconds run off before the two-minute warning?
To me, having the timeout was more significant than the 38 seconds. They're a great situational football team, specifically in the two-minute. We wanted to have the ability to work the middle of the field.

A lot of personal fouls both ways. Did it get away from both teams a little bit, because of how competitive it was?No. That's two teams fighting. Hopefully, we learn from it and it is cleaner the next time. I'm not going to overanalyze it, as I sit here today. We had two teams out there fighting to be at their best.

Re: On Ben Roethlisberger's interceptions:
I'll analyze it tomorrow. We played today and I'll acknowledge that we have to do a better job of taking care of the football to have a chance to beat good people.

Were you surprised you couldn't get more splash plays from you receivers?
Again, we fought today. They made plays and I want to give them credit. I'd be remiss if I didn't do that. They made the necessary plays to win, so you acknowledge that.

How would you assess Ben's performance?
I won't. We didn't get it done today. When you're at the point Ben is in his career, winning and losing is all that matters. He sees that very clearly, as do I, but we didn't do enough to win today.

The first drive was very strong. Why didn't the team didn't sustain that?
I wish I had the answer to that. I'd bottle it and sell it.

**

QB Ben Roethlisberger** Re: Frustration:
It's frustrating. It's frustrating when you lose and it's frustrating when you lose guys.

Can you take us through the first interception?
They covered well. Trying to let the clock run, I should've run it myself.

Could you have realistically run it yourself?
Probably.

Do you chalk that up to bad decision or just a great play by them?
Both. I'll always point the finger at myself and say that it was my fault.

How are you feeling with it being your first game back?
Health wise, okay. I'm obviously disappointed in the way that I played. I let this team down and I let the fans down. This one is on me and I'm taking the blame and letting everyone know that I have to play better.

What worked on that first drive that you guys weren't able to replicate later on in the game?
You've got to give them their credit. They are a good defense. They just did a little bit of everything and it was good, but we just couldn't get into a rhythm from then. The penalties, missing the ball here and there, turning it over, whatever it was, we just couldn't quite get that rhythm going again.

Do you feel like any of this could maybe be because of the injury at all?
No, I don't think so. I just think that I didn't make good throws.

You've always been a guy that is dependent on your mobility. I'm sure that it was lacking to some degree and did that have an effect on your decision making?
No, I felt like I made some things happen, I didn't think about it out there, I didn't feel it out there. There was never a time or a play where I said don't try to do this because of my knee or a brace. I will never make excuses. I just played poorly.

Do you think that there was rust involved there?
No, we went down the field with that drive in the beginning. It was just bad football on my part and I apologize.

What was the thought process on the fake spike there at the end?
I'm not going to tell you that.

How tough of a spot does this put you guys in with four losses?
The season is halfway over. We're going to let this burn at us and then turn the page. We've got a whole half of football left.

**

The Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field for an AFC North Divisional matchup in Week 8.

How do you feel about your defense?**
Awesome. I felt that they played well. That's what is frustrating about it. They did more than enough to help us and let us win that game and it was awesome to see, but we didn't take advantage of that offensively. Like I said, I will take that blame.

Re: Offense:
The injury bug has got us a bit. It's unfortunate. That is the game of football. We will not make excuses. We will get back there in the South Side and get ready to get better.

Did the final throw just get away a little?
Yeah, got a little pressure, stepped up, didn't want to take the sack, tried to throw it high and it just went too high.

CB William Gay
You didn't get the win, but a lot of key things happened on defense. Can you take anything away from that? Any positives?
I just take the loss. We lost. We're at 4-4. So we have to come in next week and try to get better and try to get in the win column.

When you hold these guys to six points through three quarters, don't you have to think that you've got a good shot at putting it away?
We needed to hold them to whatever to win the game. That's our mindset as a team. We just try to win the game. We don't care how it is, or how it comes out. We want to win the game, and we didn't today.

RB DeAngelo Williams
How difficult is it to see a teammate go down?
It's very difficult. He's not just a teammate, he's family. We've had a ton of conversations and we hang out and stuff like that. It was tough to see him lying on the ground hurt. My heart is out to him. I'm going to check on him after these interviews.

Where do you go from here? I know you came in and were not expecting to be a big part of this offense. Now with him down, it is an opportunity for you to step up and make some plays.
We've been here before, in terms of big stage. I'm not exactly sure what you are talking about there because for eight or nine years I've been a starter in this league. I started the first two games earlier in the season. So we've been here before. I've answered these questions before and I'm going to answer them like I did then. I know why they brought me here. I'm going to play my role. If that's what the need me to do, I'm going to do that. My main goal and my main focus is when 26 is not in there and I'm in there, it doesn't take any pressure off the defense.

How difficult was today? You were in the game and made some mistakes.
We didn't make enough plays. That's what it boils down to. They made their plays; we didn't. They won the turnover battle, and I think they may have even won the time of possession. With a high powered offense like that and our defense playing well – as well as they were playing – we have to capitalize on the opportunites. And unfortunately, we didn't. That's why the game ended the way it ended.

**

DE Cameron Heyward** How frustrating is it that you stopped them and stopped them – you got that one big pick – then they got that one last chance. You can't have even one let down, I guess?
Yeah, we just have to finish. We talk about being a team on the rise, but if we don't finish for four quarters, instead of three-and-a-half, we're going to get the same result. Every team is good in this league and when you have your foot on the throat, you have to finish the game. This can be a big learning lesson or it can be our Achilles heel the rest of the season. We have to grow from this. Look at the Baltimore game. If we get another stop in the fourth quarter, we win the game. I don't think it's a trend, but we have to learn from this. It can't be something that lingers and sticks around.

TE Health Miller
When you have Big Ben coming back after a month-plus? What are your thoughts on how he did coming back?
I thought he did a good job. I think collectively as a whole we didn't play well enough to win the game. You have to give those guys on the other side credit. They made the plays to win and deserved the victory.

Were they takingp a lot of the over-the-top stuff away?
Yeah, their defense did a good job I think. They were definitely concerned with keeping the top on and not allowing a lot of big plays to our outside receivers. They did a good job of that for the majority of the game.

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