STEELERS AT BILLSSUNDAY, NOVEMBER 28RALPH WILSON STADIUMPOST-GAME QUOTES
STEELERS QUOTESHEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN
General Game Comments:
"Good road victory for us, and by that I mean things didn't always go our way. We didn't play as well as we'd like to play, from an execution standpoint. It looked bleak at times, but we didn't have a bleak approach to our work on the sidelines. I thought that our guys were pretty composed, they continued to fight, and it's good to see it payoff for them in the form of a victory."
"This is a tough place to play, a hostile environment, a good football team on the rise – they've played really good over the last five games and won the last two – so we feel fortunate to come away with a win tonight. We're appreciative of the victory and the work that it took to get it."
On Sepulveda punt and Suisham in OT:
"Dan has been really good all year. We haven't helped him at all times in terms of downing balls inside the twenty. But he's been really good for us – of course none bigger than that one. But our specialists collectively today did good for us. How 'bout Shaun [Suisham] banging field goals for us. He's now a Steeler – Casey Hampton and others know his name now."
On Second Half:[Buffalo] had possession of the ball in the second half. They were moving it, they were converting third downs. Of course we controlled it in the first half – penalties had something to do with the second half. I'll look at it when we get back, but right now, I just feel good about the willingness to continue to fight and stay together in the midst of adversity."
On bouncing back in OT:"Give us a blade of grass, we'll defend it or attack. It's good to have a little fortune sometimes. It didn't feel like we had a bunch of fortune today, but sometimes the ball bounces like that. You've got to show your meddle, and I thought our group did."
On James Harrison Penalty:
"I don't even want to talk about it."
On hurting themselves with penalties:
"It was tough sledding – some of the adversity was self-induced, no doubt, but that's football."
On Troy Polamalu:"Man, he made significant plays and timely plays. That's what we've come to expect from him. For a guy that didn't practice much during the week, he's always ready to deliver for his teammates. And his teammates appreciate it and understand it."
On Chris Kemoeatu penalties:"Kyle Williams is a disruptive guy, a quick guy, a good football player. I don't want to take anything away from him, he played really well today. Some of the stuff with the holds, I'd have to take a look at the tape in order to have an opinion regarding it."
STEELERS PLAYERSJAMES HARRISON
On if he is frustrated with the flags on his hits:
I've been frustrated since they started making the calls. I guess that's just going to be part of the game now.
On what he saw on the play he was flagged on:
I think it was a hit just like last week where they called the flag. I hit, wrapped, made sure I didn't land with my body weight on him and they seemed to think differently. We'll see what happens as the week progresses.
On if the penalties change the way he plays:
It's not going to change the way I play, I'm a little frustrated and disappointed because getting the flag hurts the team, but there's nothing dirty about my play. There's nothing wrong about the play. I just felt like it's getting to a point where the refs feel like if they don't make the call they may be in trouble. So if it is or it isn't a bad play if it's questionable.
On if Mike Tomlin was frustrated with him after the flag:
No, he just told me to keep playing.
On getting the win:
It's a big win, Buffalo played a great game. They were really competitive; we were just able to play a little better. We got a few breaks here and there, and we came out on top.
On the change from first to second half in Buffalo's play:
They just came out and executed better than they did in the first half. Like I said, they get paid just like we do. We didn't do as good of a job as we did in the first half but we did good enough to come through as a whole unit.
On if he was surprised to get the penalty:
Very, I didn't expect to get a flag. I guess the referees are getting to the point to where they're afraid not to make a call if it's borderline. That's textbook, it doesn't get any better than that. Hit, wrap and I made sure to put my hands out so I didn't land on him, put my body weight on him or anything but they still made the call.
On if he is expecting a fine:
I'm not expecting a fine, it's the same exact thing as last week if you go back and look at the play from the Raiders (game). It was the same exact hit, I hit (Fitzpatrick) the same way as I did the quarterback from Oakland and I got the same flag but I didn't get a fine. I guess looking at it through the competition committee they felt like it wasn't fineable. I'm expecting the same thing on this.
On his thoughts on the Harrison penalty:
It was tough; I told him he's just got to stop hitting the quarterback so hard, to take it easy on them.
On Shaun Suisham:
He definitely earned the team's respect today, I told the Special Teams Coach right before the kick, he's already got my vote. He had made three in the game earlier before that last one. I said if he makes this game winner he's really going to win the whole team over. He did a great job today, nobody really knew what to expect and he came out blazing.
On Suisham's story:
Two weeks ago he was on the street, he didn't have a job. That's definitely a heck of a story.
On getting the win and holding off Buffalo:
It's a sixty minute ball game, sometimes a little bit extra. It's never over until it's over. That's the thing we've got to realize, we knew Buffalo was a good second half team and we knew they weren't going to give up. They could have folded the tent at halftime but they didn't. We knew they were going to come out fighting and we just stuck with it. There was a lot of ebb and flow in the game, it was up and down but we pulled it out.
On his reaction to Steve Johnson's drop in overtime:
Game over, what everybody else was thinking. The Buffalo fans, the Buffalo sideline, our sideline. I think everybody thought it was a catch. I don't even know if all the Buffalo guys really saw him drop it they were so excited.
On the Steelers showing signs of resiliency to battle back for the win:
We always try to say we're not going to let the refs control the game, even though we had a lot of penalties going against us. We still have to overcome and to do it on the road speaks volume about our team. This team has a lot of character. For us to show the resiliency and for us to weather the storm and come back the way we did, we can learn from that and grow from that.
On if the Baltimore game this week has the team anxious to play again:
Yeah there's no question. You don't want to miss this one. This is going to be a heavyweight fight, champs for our division. It always is, every year regardless if one teams struggling the other team is have success, this is the one you circle. Playing them on primetime it's going to be an all out war come Sunday night.
On if he feels good about how this game played out:
You feel good, because we got out of here with the win, considering the circumstances with overcoming all the penalties that we had to. We're starting to make strides in the right direction. We're not playing good football, our best football, but I think what we had to overcome and go through today we can learn from it. I like the direction this team is headed especially in the month of December.
On his thoughts on James Harrison's penalty:
You know how I feel. He's not going to change his way of playing. He's going to continue to play and let them decide on what's legal, what's not legal. Its football, you're still going out and playing and it's hard in a split second to make a decision on how you're going to hit somebody. We'll see, he's going to continue to play hard and we still have James Harrison's back.
On Rashard Mendenhall's big day:
Yeah, it was big. The offensive line opened some holes, some wide outs, tight ends, we blocked down field for him. When we get him going usually we're on the winning side of things. It's great just to keep getting back into the mix of things, to be able to run and pass; I think we're starting to be balanced.
On if he liked the tough battle against the Bills to prepare for Baltimore:
No, we want it easy. Regardless of the week before we know what Baltimore week brings. It's going to be a physical ball game and everybody's got to get ready and we've got to get ready.
On if he' ever played in a game that was this close:
No, this is my first time playing a tight game like this. We allowed (them) to hit us with some big home runs. They hit us with the screen and came out at halftime; hit us with the screen to score. We have to cut out the mistakes. We have to do a better job tackling. We should've had that guy down and we shouldn't have allowed all those yards.
On Ben Roethlisberger's third down run:
Yeah, Ben's run was pretty good. A lot of people don't expect Ben to run but he saw an opportunity to and got the first down and got the chains moving.
On getting the win:
We're happy to have this W, next week down to Baltimore.
On getting this win before playing Baltimore:
It's just really big, no matter who we were playing the following week. It's just good to come in and get a W. We've been watching Buffalo these past few weeks. They've been in some close games and they were in a close game today, so we knew they were a good team.
On if he knew they were better than their record:
Oh definitely, the last five games, they've won the last two games and the rest of them were pretty close. We knew what type of team they were.
On what he was thinking when Steve Johnson was open in the end zone in overtime:
I'm glad he dropped that ball.
On what adjustments can be made when as they approach the Baltimore game:
We need to do a better job tackling and cutting out the penalties. When you eliminate those you're going to go out there and win games. The last two weeks we've been kind of killing ourselves with penalties here and there and keeping teams alive. Once we cut that out we'll be pretty good.
On the play of the defense:
I think the biggest thing was that guys made plays. You think about Will Gay making a ton of plays, Troy (Polamalu) making a big interception and Ike (Taylor) getting a knockdown in the red zone. Guys stepped up and made the plays they had to make.
On the long Buffalo touchdown and if that changed the momentum:
It was a good play by them. I'm a middle of the field safety and I was cut blocked by a lineman. It was set up very well, executed very well and they did a good job. That was definitely a turning point in the game. We were doing pretty well at that point and to give up a huge play like that really hurts you. (Fred) Jackson played good the whole game. (Buffalo) stayed the course, played well on defense were able to hold and turned it into a game.
On the coverage they were running on the drop in overtime:
You'll have to ask coach. I can say this, nobody had him man to man. It wasn't a guy who blew a coverage man to man. It was actually a very good route. I'll tell you what I was supposed to be doing; I was the guy on the deep post. If he would have run a deep post route he was mine. He ran a smart play, ran away from me to the seven and dropped the ball, it was a big play.
On if this tough win prepares them for Baltimore next week:
I think winning a game like this is what you have to do to make the playoffs sometimes. It's not always going to be pretty, you're not going to dominate every team. Teams are going to fight. It's the NFL. In order to get to the playoffs, in order to stack enough wins to get to the tournament you have to come out on top and we were able to.
On what he was thinking on the drop in overtime:
You don't think, if he would have caught it I would have turned around and ran to the locker room. Luckily for us he didn't. You talk about a guy (Steve Johnson) who has been extremely hot, making a ton of plays for them.
On his game today:
It was a lot of fun. It's amazing what can happen in a month. Start of the month lost my mother-in-law, I had been out of football this year. Two weeks ago I wasn't playing football and now I'm part of the Pittsburgh Steelers and was fortunate enough to make a kick to win the game.
On the weather conditions today:
I've got some guys on the team and they alert me to wind, that's their thing. That's how they help me out. That's kind of a joke. You know, that's something that you have to deal with in most games, really. Here it certainly does move around.
On what went through his mind when he was out of football:
First off. you have a long honey-do-list, a lot of work at home. I have no other way to say this other than we have a great God. For what's happened to our family, for what we went through at the start of the month and to be here now is certainly incredible. I really didn't envision myself being here with the Pittsburgh Steelers but I'm so very thankful to be here.
On Coach Tomlin saying that a lot of the players don't know his name, and if they do now:
You'll have to ask them that. It's a process when you come in late in the year. It's a process for me just as it is them to get to know one another. Fortunately from my end of things, the field goal unit is very good. So as far as working, it was a very easy transition for me, and now it's really my job to develop a relationship with the guys. And there's no other way to do it other than with time.
On if he expected a timeout before his kick in overtime:
Just like during regulation, you go out and certainly have to expect to kick the ball. That's how it could start playing in your head I think. Maybe if you think they're going to call it and they don't. Fortunately I just approached it as if I was going to kick the ball. I think if something happens, you know, if you make it or miss it, it's probably just luck based on them calling it.
On if he worries about taking over for the popular and long-time Steelers K Jeff Reed:
How could I? I mean, I'm not going to be any better for this football team if I am worried about it. Certainly when I came in here in 2005 to training camp, Jeff was great to me. I've always remembered that and certainly appreciate it. When you're with an organization as long as he has been, he's obviously done a lot of very good things for the Pittsburgh Steelers. You just take the opportunities when you can get them.
On if the game plan was focused on the running game on offense:
We just played this game however it unfolded. The offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and we had some space running so we didn't turn away from it.
On if he's ever been in a game where he thought they lost but then came back to win:
Yeah, you know anything can happen. When you see something like that, that's a break and we were able to capitalize on that.
On if he feels stronger as the game goes when he's getting a lot of carries:
Yeah you do. You get comfortable and going into the fourth quarter and overtime you know how important the game is so everything else doesn't matter and you're just trying to come through.
On if he thought Steve Johnson caught the pass in overtime to win it:
Yeah, it definitely looked like he caught it. With him dropping it that gave us new life and we knew it was almost destiny to win this game.
On what happened on the fumble:
Trying to fight for extra yards and when I was trying to get down he got it out of me before I could get down.
On the offense converting third downs:
We did a pretty good job especially in the first half which gave us a chance to continue drives, to call more runs and to take time off the clock. When you're converting on third down you're hard to beat.
On Coach Tomlin telling him he's looking like a feature back following today's win:
You know Coach T. He's always trying to push you and say things. Today was a hard fought game and we got a W, so we both feel good about that.
On preparing for Baltimore next week:
We haven't thought that far ahead. We know we've got that coming up in Baltimore, we know it's going to be a tough game. Right now we're going to look over this tape and try to make improvements before we get a game plan for Baltimore.
On how big of a part of the game plan he was today:
The offensive line was controlling the line of scrimmage all day so we had success with the run and we stayed with it.
On how important today's win was:
It's a big win against a tough team like Buffalo. Their last five games have been competitive. They won their last two and they're a hot team right now and they gave us everything they had.
On Shaun Suisham's performance:
That was definitely clutch, a lot of pressure, 4-4 you'll take that everyday and it shows why he's here.
On if he gets excited when he knows he's going to be a big part of the game plan:
Yeah, as a feature back you want it on your shoulders and you want to be able to carry the team and between me and the offensive line we were able to do that.
On if the Bills defense made adjustments in the second half:
Not that I can specifically comment on, that's probably a question for them. It felt like we kind of had our way, but then the second half we just couldn't quite get that third down, or couldn't quite make the play. It was just one thing here one thing there. Penalties, we kill ourselves with penalties; it's a shame.
On how frustrating the penalties were:
Very, especially when you convert a big third down. We can't make those mistakes as an offense and we know that. It's something we need to get cleaned up, and cleaned up quick.
On what happened on the play where he got hurt:
My foot was in the ground and someone was driving me backwards, and my foot couldn't get out of the ground, so my knee just got bent sideways.
On the 18-yard run that converted a third and long:
I just stepped up and the fear of [Bills DE Marcus] Stroud chasing me; just running, trying to get the first down. I guess just doing anything you can to win.
On if he was surprised or frustrated that they were only leading 13-0 at halftime:
Frustrated, because you feel like you're doing so well, you're moving the ball, you're doing the things you want to do, yet you can only put up those points, 13. Those are things we need to get corrected.
On the performance of kicker Shaun Suisham:
Big field goal. Two of them. He hit one later in the game, a long one to get us up three, and then that one at the end. Big hit. You know confidence in him to come out and hit it and the whole unit, from [Long Snapper] Greg Warren snapping, [Punter] Dan Sepulveda holding, and Suisham to get it up and in.
On if he thought they had lost on the play Bills WR Steve Johnson dropped a would-be touchdown in overtime:
Yeah. I mean, you see the ball dropping into his hands and you think it is. Honestly, going into overtime I was thinking the way that the game was going, I figured the team that got the ball first was going to win. That's the way it seemed to be going. Our defense did a great job of holding. They were backed up early and then when he dropped it I said, 'well hopefully that's new life for us.'
On the play of RB Rashard Mendenhall on the final drive:
[It was] Big for Rashard, especially after the fumble. No one feels worse than he does about it. I just told him 'keep your head up, keep running, we've got confidence [in you], we're going to come back to you, and we're going to need you later in this game.' And sure enough we did. He had some really good runs, obviously, and you bring [RB] Isaac [Redman] in… Isaac is that wrecking ball that gets those first downs when you need it. So you've got to give them a lot of credit. Also the line; they did a great job all day. There were some times that they were really sweating, breathing, and hurting, but they pulled through and did a good job when we needed them the most.
On if his injury will keep him out of the game next week against Baltimore:
We're going to enjoy this one for now. We'll start thinking about Baltimore, maybe tomorrow.
Head Coach Chan Gailey
On if he's said anything to WR Steve Johnson after today's game:Sure, I talked to him. He hurts. He's a competitor. He's got a chance to be a very, very good player in this league. In this business, there's two types of people – the humble and the humbled – and if you're not in the first group, you'll be in the second group at some point in time. I just told him, that's the way it goes sometimes. You can go from the penthouse to the outhouse in a hurry, but how you handle it is the key. He's a good man. He's a competitor. I think he'll come back. That doesn't mean he won't drop another pass [because] he probably will some where – they all do. Every one of them does, but he's made a lot of big plays and I think he'll continue to make a lot of big plays. I hurt for him. I hurt for our football team, but we'll keep coaching him and working with him and he's going to continue to be a big part of what we do.
On what he said to the team after the game:Well, there's no question about how we played [and] the effort and character of our football team. I've said that 100 times, but for us to get to where we want to be as a football team, we have to win those kind of games. We have to go win those games. That's one of those, if you're going to be the kind of championship team we're expecting to be, I've got to do a better job of getting them to where we go win that game. We're getting in a position to beat better teams. We've been close to beating teams, but we've got to go do it. You can't talk about it anymore.
On if there was a sense of the Steelers letting off the gas peddle during the second half when QB Ben Roethlisberger punted on a fourth and short:
No, I didn't. If it's downed at the two [yard line] it's a great play. It ended up going in the end zone and we score in four plays, I think, after that. So, no, I didn't think that. We got the same play in for a similar situation to be honest with you.
On what he saw in the touchdown pass to RB Fred Jackson:Well, we've had that in different ways. Donald [Jones] scored on a similar screen, not the same screen, but a similar screen last week and we threw it to him. A couple of weeks ago we threw it to Roscoe [Parrish] and now we throw it to Fred [Jackson]. It's a play our line runs very well. We asked David [Nelson], as he was coming in motion across, to go try to get the guy that was covering Fred. The guard comes out, I think it was Andy Levitre, did a great job of coming and picking off the guy that was over David. Then, we had a clean shot up the middle. It looked like to me [that] Stevie [Johnson] and Lee [Evans] were really hustling to try to stay on their guy so Fred could score.
On the defensive effort to get pressure on the Steelers all day long:I mean, we got five sacks on a guy that doesn't give up very many sacks anymore. We really pressured him a lot more than that. We made him throw the ball away a few times, but he got away a few times and made some big plays. That's the difference in winning and losing sometimes. I know it was a huge difference on some third downs where they at least kept the ball and kept the drive alive and stayed on the field. But the defensive effort, especially the second half, was just tremendous. It was a tremendous effort.
On the status of DE Dwan Edwards:Not good. We'll lose him for a while.
On if he saw the play the DE Dwan Edwards got injured on:I did not see the play.
BILLS PLAYERSFred Jackson
On the game being very physical:
I would say so. It's Pittsburgh, they're a physical team. We wanted to come out and be just as physical. When you have two teams that are going at each other like that, it's going to be chippy and that's what you expect from it. I think we held our own.
On Pittsburgh having a strong run defense:
You know that you're going to have to make someone miss or break a tackle to get positive yardage. It's a great defense, the number one run defense in the league. You know that going in, that you're going to have to break some tackles to get some yards. It was something that I was looking forward to, a good challenge for us. Unfortunately, we didn't come out with the win.
On losing the game by such a close margin:
It's tough at this particular moment in time. I know we'll come back to work tomorrow. Obviously we did some good things on film today but we'll be able to see what we did wrong today too. I feel like we lost that game. Not to take anything from them, we lost that game, they didn't win it.
On what he said to WR Steve Johnson after his dropped pass in the end zone:
I want him on my team. Not everybody's perfect. Sometimes you're going to have plays like that but the best thing to do is just to move on. That's what I told him but obviously that's going to be a tough play for him to swallow. But the most important thing we can do is to tell him that we want him on our team and we have his back.
On if his touchdown pass gave the offense momentum:
I'd say so. We caught them in a blitz, it was a great play call at the right time. You make a play like that happen, it's definitely going to make them back off a little bit and it loosened it up for us and we were able to make some plays after that.
On the team's mindset after not playing well in the first half:
We just kept plugging. In the two series that we did have, we felt like we were just stopping ourselves. We feel like we can play with anybody. That's a great defense but at the same time, we felt like our drives were stalling because of what we were doing, not because of what they were doing to us. That was the mindset we had, every time we go out there we felt like we could move the ball.
On the drop in overtime:
It was a great call, it was something we knew we could beat them on, we ran it in the last game and I'm pretty sure they thought I was going to run the over. I came to the back of the end zone, had the game in my hands and then dropped it, that's it.
On the NFL being a humbling league:
Tell me about it, you've seen it. We're playing against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Buffalo Bills came to play football and it just so happened today that I had 75 drops in the game. Humbled.
On what his teammates said in the locker room:
The basics, they say the basics, keep your head up. Keep your head up; we'll still ride with you, that's it.
On a drop near the end of regulation:
Right when I turned my head to locate the ball it was there, it was a drop again, period.
On his emotions during overtime and now:
How would you feel? You go through that whole game knowing you've got a big team like the Pittsburgh Steelers, and you've got this kid coming up in the NFL making plays and all of a sudden when the biggest play needs to be made, you don't make it. You feel bad, I'm devastated right now. Not because of me but because of (the team's) work. Those guys put in work, the defense stopped them, and the offense was moving the ball. They were working; it came down to that one play and you drop the ball.
On the team bouncing back from the loss:
Yeah we'll bounce back; we can bounce back of course. That's just the game. We have to bounce back, the season's not over yet. We are going to have to bounce back and we will.
On personally getting over the loss:
I never get over it, ever. (The team) will, the Buffalo Bills will get over it. I won't get over it, you're a receiver you don't drop the ball. You go through 15 drops in the game, I won't get over it.
On if he was looking at the spot where he dropped the ball at the end of the game:
I was looking at the game; I was just talking to myself. I was looking at the game, there's a screen up there and I was looking at it. I knew what was going on.
On today's game:
We fought so hard out there and yet again it is another one of those overtime heartbreakers. There is not much to say right now other than the guys in that locker room and myself included are really hurting over this one.
On the overtime pass to WR Steve Johnson:
Stevie is a guy that we want and we think is our playmaker. When we are in key situations I am going to throw the ball to Stevie. This doesn't change anything now that we had one play that was incomplete. It was a good play call, he ran a great route, killed the corner on his route and we just didn't finish it. It doesn't change anything it terms of the player I think he is or the confidence I have in him.
On the interception at the one yard line in the fourth quarter:
It was a bang bang play, it was tough. (SS) Troy (Polamalu) made a great play to get over there and get his hands on the ball. I thought he did a good job all day especially at the end of the game. Troy really showed up and made some big plays for them.
On deep pass to WR Lee Evans:
It was a great play call being aggressive with it taking a shot down the field to a guy I love throwing the ball to. We just didn't connect.
On second half adjustments to the offense:
We didn't change anything it was just the first half that was hard because we went first down on the first play and basically three and out and then the next series three and out. Pittsburgh had some long drives where we just didn't have the ball so it is hard to get stuff going when you don't have the ball especially when you don't convert those third downs early. Everybody knew just like the last few weeks that we were still in this game. There was no panic we knew we were going to come out and get the ball and put it in the end zone. We didn't really adjust as much at half time because we liked what we had going into the game. We thought we would probably have to pass more than run versus these guys because they are so good at run defense and that was the game plan for today.
On the game plan against Pittsburgh's defense:
Anything you try to do versus these guys especially try to run the ball is difficult. They are not the best defense in the league for no reason. They are the best run defense in the league, they give up less than three yards a rush. We tried to throw a little bit to open up the run. We had some nice runs in the second half with RB Fred (Jackson) and I think the pass opened it up a little bit.
On today's loss:
It's just a loss. There are lessons to be learned for every loss just as there are for every win. Chan (Gailey) hinted on it in the locker room if we want to be the team we think we are and we want to get to where we think we can be, this is a game we have to win. We are not there yet obviously and this showed today that we are not there yet. There is a ton of fight as you guys know in that locker room and no one in there is giving up.
On the Fred Jackson touchdown run:
Great setup. Quick screen to Fred and he got the linemen in front of him. I think Andy (Levitre), Geoff (Hangartner) and (Kraig) Urbik, I think all those guys threw good blocks on that play. Fred is just special with the ball in his hands and it was nice to see him get down the field and score.
On Pittsburgh Steelers' SS, Troy Polamalu:
He is all over the place. I think he is one of the best defenders in the league for a reason. He just flies around and he has a great football sense in terms of reading plays, relying on his instincts and reacting to what he sees.
On the overtime drives:
The whole game I guess we were in a lot of the spread formations, dink and dunk type stuff. They are a team it is hard to hold the ball versus them because their pass rush is so great and the guys they have coming are very good. We thought we had a couple opportunities late there to get our guys down the field to make plays. We had good protection up front on both plays and for one reason or another they just did not happen. I think Chan (Gailey) did a great job in terms of timing of those plays and when we called them.
On losing the game by such a close margin:
Like many times before, we just didn't get it done. For a young team, there's a maturing process and this will definitely pay dividends down the road. But for the veterans, it leaves a sour taste in our mouths, especially when we've been there so many times. But you can take something from every game, learn from it and you get better.
On WR Steve Johnson learning that his mistake didn't cost the team the game:
That's the great thing about football, it's a team sport. There's three phases: offense, defense and special teams, so no one play is going to win or lose a game for you. We had a lot of opportunities on defense at the end of that game to get the ball out, to jump on it, to get our offense the ball back. There are several scenarios that could've happened. That one play didn't cost us the game. He's a competitor and he's a pro so he's going to have that in the back of his mind, but he'll bounce back. He's proven that. He's had a great year; he's going to continue to work hard.
On being able to compete with a strong team like Pittsburgh:
We have a good team. We can make good plays when we play to our potential. That's what's great about Coach Gailey. He's such a great offensive mind. Look what they did to their defense. We're banged-up on our offensive line and they held their own. It really gave us an opportunity to win that football game. It's not just something that we're saying, we talk about it amongst ourselves, we feel that we can play with any team in this league when we don't beat ourselves and we play to our potential.
On feeling like McKelvin had a chance to win the game on the kickoff:
No doubt. That's what I was saying on the sideline. I was sitting on the bench on the sideline and Fred (Jackson) came over to me to tell me they didn't have to be on offense. I told him I already knew that. The lane has been open all game. It was perfect timing, the lane was open and I took my chance. I should have went the distance. What can you say?
On it being frustrating:
It's frustrating but we can move on and move past it. As you can see we are doing a lot of good things out there. We are competing with everybody but we just have to finish those games. All the games we've been real close in we've had a chance to win. Those are the times when if you want to be a great team you just have to take it into your own hands and knock those guys off. We just have to go out here and try to get a win.
On the kickoff return:
It was a call and I got a lane. Once I see a lane I'm going to burst through it and I was in the open field. I got past that first wave and it was just me, (Arthur) Moats and the safety guy. Moats knew I was behind him. I was going towards him to try to cut up field and I ended up tripping over his feet. That's just bad luck of the draw.
On feeling snake bitten:
Things happen for a reason. You just have to go out there and execute on those plays. Just make catches, don't fumble, don't throw interceptions or just make a big play on defense. Overall as a team, we have to protect the ball and go out there and just play. We can't let them slide off it because everybody saw it they slid off it. They weren't supposed to win this game. I know they did. We just have to go out there and finish them off. That's what we are going to do from now on.
On what happened on the fumble:
I went to cut and last year we used to do these running drills and when you cut you make sure you have the ball close to your body. It got away from me and they stuck a hand in there and it came out. You live and you learn from those mistakes and just move forward.
On the play of Pittsburgh QB Ben Roethlisberger and his ability to scramble:
That's his game. He scrambles around and the guys work for him to get open. Almost like what you did when you played in the backyard as a kid. He scrambled around and eluded the rush as guys work to get open and he throws it. Their offense is deep balls and let Ben (Roethlisberger) make something happen for them and that's what he did.
On the feeling of being snake bitten after the drop in the end zone by WR Steve Johnson:
Stevie (Johnson) makes that catch 9 out of 10 times. It was just one of those things. We felt like we had the win and then the ball dropped. We also thought Leodis (McKelvin) had an opportunity to take the kickoff return back. It doesn't really matter because we didn't make those plays and we didn't get the job done. All we can do is go back to work. I'll tell you one thing: we are getting better as a football team and our confidence will continue to stay high.
On taking solace in being a really hard team to beat:
We knew that coming in. Our confidence was high. No matter what people say about us outside of the locker room, we know what we do. We know the type of work we put in. We know our preparation. But we came up short. We work so hard and we come up short. That's our third overtime game that we lost by three points but we have to continue. We have to learn how to win these games. We have to make the plays when they count. I felt like we had a really, really big opportunity to win the football game and we go home with an L. The only thing we can do is continue to come back and watch the film tomorrow. This one is going to hurt. Instead of winning three in a row we are back to a losing streak. So, we have to go out and get a win next week.
On picking up WR Steve Johnson after the drop in the end zone:
I wanted to make sure that even before he had time to think about it he knew we were going right back to him. I know how he is and he's harder on himself than anybody else is. He's more upset about this than anybody else. As soon as it happened he was going to be thinking about it. I just wanted to get over there as fast as I could and get him up and back in the huddle so we could play the next play.
On there being a lot of dropped passes in the game:
There were. We had a big emphasis on coming out and throwing the ball. We've been moving the ball around and we've been successful with it. Plays weren't made. There were some plays left out there. At the same time we also made some plays that put us in position to win the game. At the same time there were some drops we had out there that were very uncharacteristic. We have to correct those and get ready for next week.
On coming back from 13-0:
It definitely helped our confidence. Before the game even started we knew in any situation we can come back and win the game. We came in here at halftime and said we've been in worse situations and guys felt like we were in the same situation as last week. A little better team this week but at the same time we felt like we were shooting ourselves in the foot in the first half. We felt like we couldn't play any worse so we wanted to make a point to come out in the second half and dominate the third quarter and see what happens in the fourth quarter. That's what we did. I think there was definitely some confidence coming into the second half this week.
On the mistakes the team made during the game:
One (player from the Steelers) came up to me and told me that he thought we had them beat. Like I told him, I said you guys are the type of ball club that we're trying to become. Not to say that we're trying to be like anybody else in this league, player or team-wise, what I mean is that when we're in those big moments and those big games where we have to make the big play to win the ball game- offense, defense, special teams. All three phases had opportunities in the overtime period and that's what makes it tough to take. But at the same time, we didn't allow the mistakes the dictate our play. We continued to play through them and try to overcome them. They just ended up getting enough yardage to get into field goal position. It's a tough position to be in but, like I said, if you put us in the same situation next week, I'll still believe in the guys out there on field because these guys care and these guys respect the game and play it the way it's supposed to be played.
On what he said to WR Steve Johnson after the game:
When I came in the locker room, somebody else was already talking to him. I went over there and told him that there was nothing he could do about that play. Leave it on the field. If I didn't see him being emotional and being hard on himself, then I would question his passion for the game. That guy was over there crying his eyes out because he knows how precious those moments are. It's not on Stevie, it's not on the offense. There's three phases out there that had opportunities to clinch that ball game and we have to make those plays. If we want to be one of the elite teams in this league, we have to make the big plays in the big moments. Steve has been making big plays for us all year. He'll continue to make good plays. That play doesn't make me believe any less in him. He's been beasting out on the field all year. One play will not define Steve. One play will not define our season. Like I told him, all the greats have had those moments. All of them.
On if Johnson will be able to bounce back from his dropped pass:
No question. That play will not drag Steve down. Steve is a true pro, takes it one game at a time and one play at a time. We have a 24-hour rule. If we win, we enjoy that win for 24 hours. If we lose, we let it soak in, digest it and learn from it. But after 24 hours, you have to move on to the next game, regardless of the outcome of the previous game.
On having to beat a team like the Steelers to be a good team:
Exactly. We had plenty of opportunities. It didn't come down to one play. There were so many plays when we go back and look at them you're going to feel like you got punched in the gut. Re-watching plays, you'll be like 'that could have been the game changer right there.' You have to tip your hat to Pittsburgh because they are used to big games and they came out and played well. In order for us to get there now we know what we have to do to get it done.
On thinking the game was over on the kickoff in overtime:
I thought it was. There were so many what ifs. If you could just have those things back. But you just have to take it and learn from it and grow. That's what we'll continue to do.
On thinking the game was over after the kickoff in overtime:
I looked like he [Leodis McKelvin] was going. I thought the game was over right there.
On stopping the Steelers in overtime:
We had them pinned back and as long as we could keep them back there and make them punt, the offense would have great field position. Then we should be in good shape to win.
On wanting to beat the Steelers:
The thing is if we want to be a good team these are the games we have to win. It's tough to lose in the manner we did; Overtime again and just not being able to make that big stop on defense like we needed to. We had chances to win but if we want to be a good team we have to pull these types of games out. This is a tough lose for us.
On what the defense did in the second half:
We just got a better feel for how they were trying to attack us. They were doing some different things blocking scheme wise and our D-line was able to do a great job of taking advantage of that. The D-line made a ton of plays today. Once we were able to adapt to what they were doing to us we felt like we would be okay.
On trying to take down Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger:
He's six-foot five-inches and 250 pounds. That's a big man. He's tough to bring down. Luckily, our D-line got to him a lot, but he's a great quarterback and he's tough to bring down. He's a good athlete. The thing about him is he's able to extend the play so much. Then he has that long scramble. It's third and forever and he gets the first down. He's a big time player, a Super Bowl winning quarterback, and big time player.
On what the team takes out of this overtime loss:
It just goes to show you that we're close but we're not there. If we want to be a big time team we need to beat the Steelers in these types of situations. So we have a lot of work to do.
On the changes the team made in the second half:
We started tackling better and that was it. We tackled awful in the first couple of series. We tightened up, started tackling better and then we didn't wrap the guy up, didn't tackle well towards the end of the game.
On Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger's ability to move around and make plays:
He is, that's his deal. He's elusive, but he's big and strong where you have to get a center shot on him or it's going to be hard to get him down with one guy. That's what he's done his whole career, he can move around and make things happen.
On being able to bring down Roethlisberger in the second half:
We did, but not enough.
On a play where Roethlisberger ran for a first down:
We had a three-man rush on him and we came around, he got outside of us and he just ran down the sideline for the first down. I don't know what else to say, that's what he does. That's what he's been able to do. He makes things happen with his feet, he can do it to run or to pass. He did a good job.
On if he's taking any positives from the game:
I'm not taking anything positive out of it. We were there, we should've won the game. No, I'm sorry, no positives. Nothing.
On what today's game says about the team:
I think we have a lot of high character guys that it's important to them. Like I said, there's no quit. I don't think we're a pushover. We're going to go fight and make some things happen. But not enough today.
On losing the game after having a lot of opportunities late in the game:
It's tough. We know that to be a good football team, you have to make plays in the fourth quarter to win. It's kind of the story of the season. I think what we have here is an incredible amount of talent-guys that can win and are striving for that. Right now, we had a lot of opportunities to win that game and we let it go. It's happened before but that's the toughest part about it.
On being open on the pass play to WR Steve Johnson in the end zone:
It was. It was a play that we ran, we had the look, we just didn't execute it well. That's just one of the many things that didn't work well for us. I had a fumble down in the red zone. It was just a tough, tough football game to lose when you had it in your hands and you can't come out on top.
On what he said to Johnson after he dropped a pass in the end zone:
I talked to Steve a little bit. He was obviously emotional. It's a tough place to be in but we let him know that we're still here, we still support him. He's made a ton of plays for this football team so you can't discount any of that. Hopefully this will be a time for him to reflect, grow up a little bit and come back a little better.
On the adjustments the team made in the second half:
Coming into the game, we knew it was going to be tough to run the football on them. So we had to try and get them in different formations so we could do that. We had some success throwing the ball which loosened them up and then they were just trying to blitz us. Once we hit that long play to Fred (Jackson), they started blitzing a bit and softened up so it gave us some lanes underneath and I think the offensive line did a good job of pushing them off the ball.