Is that really who they are and what they're all about?
Was that the offense the Steelers have been anticipating? Was that the defense the Steelers can become?
No one said for certain one way or the other after Monday night's come-from-behind, 30-23 triumph over the Houston Texans. But the Steelers nonetheless had some interesting things to say on those subjects after falling behind the Texans ,13-0, storming back to take a 30-16 lead and then recovering on onside kick and in the process preserving their seven-point victory.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger:
"I thought we did a lot of good things. Offensively, I think we need to do better, and that starts with me. I'll evaluate trying to get better. I think each man on offense will evaluate what they need to do. I would tell you that everybody on offense would tell you we can all do better."
Running back Le'Veon Bell:
"We don't want to be satisfied with the way we played. It was good, but there are definitely things that we can do better. We didn't get our goal this week in not turning the ball over, and we did settle down with the penalties, but we can't turn the ball over. We missed assignments, had a sack in the red zone, so there are some things we can do better."
Defensive end Cam Heyward:
"I hope that first quarter's not who we are, but those other three quarters we were able to get off the field early, put our offense on some short fields. Hopefully we can continue to do that."
Strong safety Troy Polamalu:
"Time will tell. We haven't been consistent to this point of this year. The games we lost we don't stop the run, we give up big plays. In games that we win we force turnovers, we stop the run."
NEXT MAN UP**
The Steelers lost starting right offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert to a concussion after falling behind 13-0 in the second quarter. Gilbert was replaced by Mike Adams, who opened last season as the starting left offensive tackle but was benched after four games.
The offense got better, not worse, with the Adams for Gilbert switch.
"That was huge," center Maurkice Pouncey said of Adams' effort in relief of Gilbert. "I told Mike already, that's major. That showed us a lot. That just goes to show that if any guy goes down he can step in there and do the job right away."
THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT
With Steve McLendon (shoulder) unavailable, defensive end Cam Thomas played nose tackle, which in turn meant that rookie Stephon Tuitt saw significant time at defensive end and rookie Daniel McCullers saw the first snaps of his NFL career on the nose.
At one juncture the defensive line consisted of, from left to right, Tuitt, McCullers and veteran Brett Keisel.
"Those kids worked their tails off (last) week," Keisel said. "Both Dan and Stephon really worked hard. With Steve going down we told them, 'There's no time to waste, you gotta be ready to go, we need you to play good ball.'
"Both of them are capable guys. Both of them have ability and they can be special. It's just taking that preparation and making sure they carry it into the game."
THEY SAID IT
"We're starting to head in the right direction. Hopefully we can keep moving in that direction." – outside linebacker James Harrison.
"It's a great feeling to get that first touchdown and get it out of the way but I want plenty more." – wide receiver Martavis Bryant.
"Any time defensively we're able to come in and make huge plays and help the team win it's a great feeling, and on Monday night on top of that." – outside linebacker Arthur Moats.
"I'm not even going to talk about stacking wins. What we need to do is go 1-0 next week." – free safety Mike Mitchell.
"It's a step. If we continue to take those steps we'll be fine." – outside linebacker Jason Worilds.