It was another "Victory Monday" for the Steelers but once again you would never know by the activity at the team's practice facility.
"We don't take days off," said linebacker Jarvis Jones. "It's crunch time. We are trying to make the playoffs. It's going to take everyone to accomplish what we are trying to accomplish. These guys know we don't take any days off. We are in here every day faithfully trying to work and get better."
Coach Mike Tomlin gave the team the last two Mondays off, a late season reward for a victory to help keep them fresh. But veterans and young players alike have turned out as if it were just another day of work.
"It matters," said center Maurkice Pouncey. "You can't just sit at home knowing what this season means to everybody and knowing what it can be. There is no time to sit around and think about it at home. Get in here and work.
"There is no victory Monday. Just enjoy it a little bit."
Players were in the weight room, locker room, film room, not taking a break with so much on the line this time of year.
"I know everyone feels what we are trying to get done here," said cornerback Antwon Blake. "We have two tough games coming up. We need to stack these wins. I definitely see the sense of urgency in everyone."
Among those first to arrive on Monday was cornerback William Gay, who had his third interception return for a touchdown this season against the Falcons on Sunday, a Steelers single season record. But he wasn't talking about his accomplishment, instead about the team.
"Coach (Dick) LeBeau just talks about trying to get turnovers," said Gay. "As a defense we just want to get the ball back to the offense as much as possible. It comes with an interception, sack-fumble, or knocking the ball out of the running back or receivers hands. We are just trying to scratch and claw for that.
"At the end of the day I am just glad we are 9-5. It puts us at nine wins. The last two years we were 8-8 and that puts us over the hump of trying to get into these playoffs."
Gay said the team has taken on a playoff mindset the last few weeks, knowing how crucial it is to get a win every week and that why players are at the facility on an off day.
"I just want to keep the routine going," said Gay. "It's a big week coming up. We put ourselves in a playoff mindset starting last week. When you are in a playoff mindset, there are no days off. Every day counts."