STEELERS AT DOLPHINSSUNDAY, OCTOBER 24POST-GAME QUOTES
Head Coach Mike Tomlin
(Opening Statement) - "Tip of the hat to the Miami Dolphins; that is a rough and tumble outfit. We weren't very good today, but [the Miami Dolphins] had a lot to do with it to be quite honest with you. They came after us pretty good. To the credit of our men, they held on and made the necessary plays for us to get out of a hostile environment with a win. We speared some adversity there; we lost some men over the course of the day. LaMarr Woodley has a left hamstring; don't know the extent of that from a long term standpoint. Flozell Adams has an ankle, again same thing. I think it is a lower ankle, so a little optimism there, but don't know where he is. Aaron Smith looks like he has a torn tricep; of course that is not good but such is life in the National Football League. We will adapt and hopefully overcome it and move on as a football team. Leg one of our road trips [was] handled today. Again, we are appreciative of having the opportunity to get out of here with a win. We will get back and make the necessary connections. We have to be better than we were today. We can't win consistently against good people in hostile environments playing the way we played today. We have been very good in terms of taking care of the ball in terms of the turnover margin; we turned the ball over today, we didn't get enough. We have outrushed opponents. We have done a nice job running the football on people. We didn't do that extremely well today. There are a lot of things to work on, but again it is always good to work with a [win] so we are appreciative of that. Hopefully we will continue to grow as a football team. "
(On the Ben Roethlisberger fumble at the goal line) – "I was hoping it would be inconclusive where they would stay with the call on the field. When you look at the sideline angle of the play, you knew the ball was out before it crossed the plane. Then it was an issue if they had clear recovery. [We] felt good about the fact they didn't but it was fortunate for us."
(On if any Steelers claimed to have recovered the fumble) – "Ben [Roethlisberger] felt like he was in the mix on the recovery. But the rule is – from a review standpoint - the defensive has to have clear recovery. No doubt that was a scrum as they define it. I don't know who had the ball or who said they had the ball. Ben felt like he was in the mix."
(On deciding to kick the field goal on 4th and goal from the one rather than going for the TD) – "No we were going to kick it and go up by one and let our defense play football. We have been in that circumstance a bunch. I know we have failed some, but we are not going to change our approach, we are not going to change our belief in what our guys are capable of. We were excited about giving them an opportunity to go out there and win the game. Surprisingly a guy like Jason Worilds, a rookie, makes the significant play."
(On if they were trying to run the clock down inside the 10 yard line in addition to scoring) – "We wanted to make sure they used their timeouts and that is what we got out of the situation. Hopefully of course we wanted to score, but we wanted to in the process make them burn their timeouts so that of course the ensuing possession would be time oriented."
(On the end of the first half and letting the half run out rather than calling a timeout) – "I think were up by one, but I screwed that up. I have to give Jeff [Reed] an opportunity to [attempt the field goal]. I know it was 56, 57, or 58 [yard attempt], but I have given Jeff those opportunities before, especially with the wind at his back. I hesitated a little bit there and I didn't give it to him."
(On Emmanuel Sanders bouncing back) – "The big thing is that he bounced back. Young guys are going to make mistakes. Hopefully they are not mistakes of that nature – putting the ball on the ground – but our defense gave us life, practically those first two possessions of the game. The defense kept us in it, making them kick field goals right there. But as an individual, Emmanuel really bounced back. He moved the chains for us offensively on third down again this week. Of course our kickoff return game was excellent as the game wore on."
(On if he noticed any changes in James Harrison's play this week)– "No, but not that I expected any change."
(Of if he will let Nick Eason and Ziggy Hood compete for a job) – "It is so early. I just want to get out of town here."
(On if he saw the fact that there was no clear recovery from the onset) – "It was an issue. We knew it would potentially be an issue. I was talking to [Line Judge] Ron [Marinucci], the official over there on the sideline. He immediately ran up to talk to [Referee] Gene [Steratore] who was in the replay booth. I knew it was potentially an issue. I was hopeful [Ben Roethlisberger] was in the end zone, but it became obvious that he potentially was not from the sideline angle. So then it was an issue of a scrum with a clear recovery."
(On if he feels like his team stole a victory today) – "That is what the scoreboard says. We will take it and exit stage left."
(On Pittsburgh's defensive effort today) – "It was timely. When we needed them the most t the end they were there. When we needed them at the beginning, when we tripped over ourselves coming out of the locker room, they gave us a shot. I can't talk enough about those first two possessions. Being down [only] 6-0 was big under those circumstances."
(On if the goal line review was as confusing as a replay as he has seen) – "No, again, we were talking about the clear possession [part] of the challenge from the moment they started reviewing it. We were hopeful that wasn't going to be an issue. We were hopeful that they would rule it a touchdown. After it became obvious that they wouldn't, the bulk of our conversation was about the clear recovery or the scrum. It is a pretty clear rule and thankful for us it was a scrum."
(On if there were a bunch of hands/players fighting for the recovery of the ball) – "It was a bunch of hands. I don't know the technical definition of a scrum is, but I will take it; bunch of people fighting for the ball, possession us."
(On Davone Bess' effort today) – "He has a nice effort [on the touchdown catch] but Hines Ward had a similar effort. You are talking about quality wide outs. That is the number one third down man in football coming into this game. So nothing he does under those circumstances is surprising. They gave him an extension for a reason; he is a good football player."
(On if Rashard Mendenhall was banged up today) – "No, again, we talked about having an opportunity to unload Rashard if possible. We came into the game schedule to face Mewelde [Moore] in the third series of the first half, we did that. He provided us with a spark; we moved the ball a little bit. We continued to roll people as the game went on. We weren't running the ball effectively, it didn't matter who the back was. We have to get better there."
(On what the Dolphins were doing that was causing the Steelers problems) – "They were kicking butt."
LB James Harrison
(On the first two possessions and how the defense handles the situation) – "It was a situation where we had to put on and hold up and not give up the six points. Coach LeBeau called some great defenses. I don't think they did anything raw out there and we were able to hold them to the two field goals."
(On the last possession of the game and closing the game out) – "Yeah, it feels good to go out there and hold up and get the ball back to the offense, so they can go in there and do the best plays of the game and that's just sit there and nail on the ball."
(On whether he was trying to send a message today) – "I wasn't trying to send a message. There was no extra motivation for this or any other game. I was just out there playing the game the way that I've been taught to play it since I was ten years old."
(On if he had any comment on the play by Ben Roethlisberger from his angle) – "Nope."
(On the Dolphins offense) – "I think at times they did a good job. A lot of the time we were only rushing three or four. We weren't sending too many blitzes at em or anything. We did a lot of coverage. Dropping six or seven in coverage."
LB James Farrior
(On how the first two possessions how crucial was the defense) – "That was definitely the key to the game. We stopped those those guys score one touchdown we lose the game so whenever our team gets turnovers we definitely feel on defense we have to hold them to three when we in that that type of therapy.
(On the individual effort on the 26 yard touchdown by Davone Bess) – "It was a great effort. It was a great effort on his part we missed a couple tackles he made a couple guys miss uh it was a hell of a play by him. Got to give him credit for it."
(What was going through your mind on the last play with the fumble) – "Man. I was just hoping that we had the possession. I hoped that they called it a touchdown first of all but after looking at it I thought it was going to be close and you know when all that stuff happens you just got to hope that our team recovers the ball. I don't think they had a good idea of who recovered it so we got it back.
RB Reshard Mendenhall
(On keeping Miami to field goals after first two turnovers) – "When we turned the ball over we put them in bad positions but they stepped up and only held them to three when they could be getting seven so that helped us out and we only won by one point so that was a great help."
(On his individual performance) – "We will look at it on tape, as a rushing offense I don't think that we did as good as we could've of or should've so we will look back on the tape and try to improve that"
(On thoughts of the end of game fumble call) – "Just that we get the ball back, it was a touchdown or we get the ball back because just like they said they couldn't tell who recovered the ball so they couldn't just give it to somebody their wasn't enough evidence so we were able to get the ball one more time and put points on the board an put us in position to win."
(On whether or not it the play should have ended if it was a touchdown) –"It tough you know its really tough and I think they did the best they could do and just spotting it back at the half yard line."
K Jeff Reed
(On the game-winning field goal) – "The situation was bizarre. I thought it was a touchdown and I was running out to kick an extra point. Then it turned out to be a field goal to win the game. It was a short one, but it's the toughest 18-yard field goal that I've kicked."
(On the pressure of kicking game-deciding field goals) – "It's a great feeling when you make them. I started off the season great, but then I struggled at home. I still didn't feel in the groove against Cleveland last week. Today was big. It's nice playing on the road on a nice field. It was raining and windy, but the conditions were pretty good. When you have your footing its makes a big difference as a kicker."
Dolphins Head Coach Tony Sparano
(On the officials' explanation for the fumble call in the fourth quarter) – "The only explanation I got was what I got on the field. He just told me that even though our guy came up in the end zone and handed him the ball, he didn't know who came up with it. It was a scrum, in other words, and he couldn't see evidence of who recovered the ball."
(On if the whistle blew on that particular play) – [head shake]
(On what he thinks of the officials stating that they were not able to determine if the Dolphins recovered the fumble) – "I'm not going to get into that. I'm not going to get into what I think. What I think is that at the end of the day…I mean, it was a big play in the game, but it shouldn't have come down to that. So, we had plenty of opportunities to win the football game and we didn't."
(On the early turnovers not being converted into touchdowns) – "Yeah, when I thought it was six points coming out of that, and not ten or somewhere in that area, I felt like even though we turned them over a few times down in there, that wasn't good enough in that situation. It's a good football team and you have to capitalize down in there. Obviously, they're a very good defense. It was two good groups out there today. It was a pretty even game yardage wise. We just didn't execute well enough in the red area, gave up big plays – big third down plays."
(On the run defense) – "Guys did a good job stopping the run, but one of the things we felt strongly about all week was that we couldn't let Ben [Roesthlisberger, QB] get out of there and hurt us a couple of times. He hurt us early in the game on a 'cross-country' deal there and then hurt us again later in the game. Those are things that he does well. He gets going out there. You can't let that happen and we did."
(On how he refocused the team after the fumble review) – "The good news is that we had enough time, so we saved the time and I just kept telling them about the time. We had two and a half minutes. There's never a two-minute drill that we run with two and a half minutes. We felt like the two-minute warning was a time out for us, so I just kept preaching to them about the sack. Really, in the last couple series, they didn't really stop us. I mean, we ended up taking the ball down the field, it was a matter of not getting touchdowns – we were getting field goals out of some of those. I felt like at that point we needed a field goal. I felt strongly that we'd be able to move the ball and that we had enough time. I was just trying to play on the positive. I think they were pretty focused; we just couldn't make a play there."
(On their passing game plan) – "I think the plan was to be as balanced as we could be in this ball game. We knew it would be hard in there and it would be tough yards. Neither team really ran the ball very well today. This group here, I think we rushed the ball for 65 yards or whatever it was – it wasn't enough from our end. But we felt like if we could be patient with some of those things, that there were some opportunities for us as the game went on. We gave Chad [Henne, QB] a bunch of 'either/or' plays in this game, which he did a good job with, but as the game started to go on some of those ended up being passes instead of runs."
(On the number of field goals in the game) – "Yeah, in this league, you need touchdowns, you don't need field goals. I mean, field goals are great to have; a week ago we were happy we had one. But in this situation, obviously, we needed touchdowns. So we get down there with that many opportunities, you have to convert it to touchdowns; that's the bottom line. We weren't able to do that today. There are a lot of reasons why this thing didn't go our way. Now, that being said, that group in there played their tails off against a good football team today."
(On the frustration over the fumble call in the end zone) – "You're frustrated, you're hoping that the outcome ends up being yours, but I had to take a chance there. I felt strongly that it was the right situation and that ball was out, which it was, in that situation, but it ended up being placed on the half-yard line. It's frustrating the way the whole sequence went because I felt that we were going to wind up with the ball."
(On if there was any doubt in his mind that Miami had recovered the fumble) – "I felt like we recovered it and I just have to go by what I'm hearing."
(On being close to beating the Pittsburgh Steelers) – "It's just another one of these deals – in other words, we were close against the [New York] Jets too, another good football team. We just didn't win. For my team right now, we've got to continue to get over the hump. Now we've beaten some good football teams along the way here. We've just got to get over the hump and win some of these football games. If we play the way we played today, clean up a few of the things we need to clean up here, we'll win all of our football games. I really believe that. We played really hard in there today and they gave themselves the chance to win the football game regardless of any other things."
(On if the officials took the last time out from the Dolphins on their technical win of the fumble challenge) – "No, no, they didn't take the take the time out…but they were going to wind the clock immediately. Of course, Mike [Tomlin, Head Coach] wouldn't stop the clock so I needed to stop it and I used the final time out. At that point I told them that I wanted to call the time out. They were going to set the ball and wind it [the clock] immediately. In that situation, we needed the two and a half minutes to kick a field goal."
(On if the rainy weather conditions had an impact on the two-minute drill) – "From our end, our two minute always starts with a first down. We wanted to get a first down and try to get ourselves going a little bit. It isn't to try to get a chunk, especially with two and a half minutes left. We felt like we'd be able to get the ball down the field and have plenty of time left on the clock. It's just we got into a hole – I believe the first play was a run – then we got into a hole on the second play. We didn't get any yards. That brought up that third down play which we didn't execute well."
(On if the second play was rushed to try to get it in before the two-minute warning) – "No. It wasn't rushed. It was actually a 'kill' play, so he had a chance to go throw another pass, and he made the right decision which didn't gain any yards on the play, so I think that was a run as well."
(On the kickoff returns) – "Yeah, that hurt us. Again, the kickoff team, in general, a couple—two, three times, we let them out of there. I thought for the most part, special teams-wise, we made enough plays, but giving them the ball…giving that team the ball on a short field, which we did two or three times, is not good enough. I think that obviously hurt us today."
(On if he wishes that a shot had been taken in the red zone with consecutive possessions in the first quarter) – "No, not to 'Monday Morning Quarterback' any of that; I mean, it's easy to say that now, but we felt like we had good plays lined up, but we didn't execute the plays well enough. When we look at the tape I'm sure that we're going to see exactly what we thought out there in those situations. I like what we did, particularly early in the game. I think you could get down there with that defense and you can rush it, try to rush a progression, and you'll find number 43 [S Troy Polamalu] running around there with the ball in his hands at some point."
LB Ike Alama-Francis
(On the last play) – "I got it. It was mine, no doubt. It was really unfortunate, we all worked so hard. Chris Clemons made a great play to get the ball out and I just don't understand the ruling. I mean, it has to either be a fumble or a touchdown, but they decided to make the call that they made and that's what it is."
(On if he was sure he got the ball) – "Yes, I was the first one on the ball, had possession of the ball, and thought it was ours. I thought Chris Clemons got his head on the ball before it crossed the line. I held the ball and I wasn't going to let that thing go, because I knew I had possession. I even handed it to the ref."
Dolphins K Dan Carpenter
(On looking forward to next week's game) – "We have to clean up some things; we shot ourselves in the foot. On three kickoffs we allowed them to get to the 50 yard line, we can't put our defense into that situation. We have to clean up and gotta get back to work, there's nothing we can do about it now.
(On kicks going for touchbacks) – "I gotta be more consistent and help our team out, especially when we got the wind, like I said we can't put our defense at the 50 yard line, which comes down on me too. On the first return they had I kicked it to the middle of the field and I can't put our coverage team into that type of situation "
S Yeremiah Bell
(On what he takes from the loss) –"I don't know. We played hard. We felt like we played good enough to win. We felt like we did some things to hurt ourselves but at the same time we kept ourselves in the game. You know, we felt like we played a pretty good game but we got things to work on."
(On never allowing the refs to decide a game) – "It is what it is. We did some things in the game to put ourselves in some negative situations. At the end of the day you'd hate for that to come down to a call like that. So you have to live with it."
(On his 1st quarter sack that caused a fumble) – "We had a blitz on. I was going outside and Cam (Wake) was going inside. I knew with me blitzing with Cam that I would have a pretty good chance to get there because they keyed on him (Wake). But he got in there and kind of tied Ben (Roethlisberger) up and, you know, I had a blocker on me. I kind of spinned off of him. When I spinned off I saw Ben trying to run out of there so I just wrapped him up and clubbed and the ball came out."
(On if he knew immediately that he had caused the fumble) – "I knew right away. That's one thing about Ben, you know. You know he'll give the football up. I just wanted to make sure that Cam had him wrapped up so I just wanted to make sure that I got a good hit on his arm and try to make the ball come out."
T Vernon Carey
(On the tough loss today) – "They came out to play well, we gotta capitalize, and we have to be able to get into the end zone."
(On pass blocking) – "Yes. We did pretty well. I think I messed up once or twice. But we had a miscommunication on that sack."
(On Steelers' defense) – "They have a great defense, a lot of good players, a lot of veteran guys, they played the position well."
(On facing Cincinnati next week) – "We have to go up there and play them and they have a good defense and a great offense."
QB Chad Henne
(On not being able to convert either of the two first quarter turnovers into touchdowns) – "Yeah I mean it's very frustrating especially the whole time of the game when we're in the red zone we needed touchdowns more than field goals. We didn't execute and sometimes they cover some of those plays out there. You got to give credit to them. We definitely need to find a way to get in the end zone and get touchdowns."
(On whether he ever thought not converting those turnovers into touchdowns would come back to haunt them) – "No because I mean I thought we fought; we did the right things. We protected the ball going the right places. We kept fighting and for us to come back and say that hurt us, I think it's more on us."
(On what changed during the course of the game that opened up things for the passing game) – "I think some of the times we were in third and long and it was tough and they were dropping everybody and trying to zone us off. They did a good job with our game plan. Then they started opening up, we ran the ball a little bit, opened up some holes and created the passing game."
(On using more max protect plays with fewer receivers running routes) – "Yeah I mean they were buzzing the flats not letting me throw outside the numbers. It was more trying to avoid the pocket, get outside the pocket, try to make a play."
(On if it's tough knowing what could have been with the goal line call) – "Yeah I mean it's tough to swallow but we can't let that call affect us. We needed to score more points in the red zone, more touchdowns and we can handle that ourselves."
(On what can be taken away from the game after playing a tough football team like Pittsburgh toe-to-toe) – "Yeah they are a tough football team and I think we are too. We are what our record say we are; we're 3-3. We just got to keep on improving fixing mistakes and go to Cincinnati next week and gave a good game."
(On the final possession) – "Yeah it's tough; the first play we ran the football because they were stocked in coverage and try to get a run out of that and they made a good play on that. The second play they dropped everyone again and zoned us off in our, in our pass play and again we had to check the ball down. They, they had a good game plan for us and it's tough to see it go down like that."
(On whether the locker room is down or if the team is looking forward to next week) – "Yeah I mean we just got to keep out heads up. We can't, we don't have time to wait and sit around. We're 3-3; we want to get places higher than that and just got to face our mistakes and keep on improving."
(On his reaction while the referee was explaining the call) – "To be honest I couldn't understand anything he was saying because they were cheering. It was going back and forth and it's tough to judge what they're saying out there. The refs made the call and we just got to play it by that."
(On whether he's even seen a play like that before) – "Not at all, no."
(On whether he saw Ikaika Alama-Francis with the ball after the play) – "I, I don't know who had the football. All I know is the ball was out and it was a fumble. However the call went we had to adjust."
S Reshad Jones
(On recovering the fumble during the game's opening kick-off) "I just did my assignment. I was running down the field in my lane and I just seen one of our guys hit the ball out and I was squeezing like I'm always doing. I went to the ball. That's what I do. I find the ball. I seen the ball, it was out, and I jumped on it."
(On making that type of play so early in the game and if his approach was any different)"That's the mind set on every play. Every play."
Dolphins T Jake Long
(On the two field goals at the beginning of the game) – "Those first few drives the defense gets it and the special teams get it back for us. Field goals aren't good enough, especially when you play a team like that. We gotta work and capitalize on a team like that.
(On getting the running game going) – "We got a few drives good, we started hitting on all cylinders, and we started too slow, especially when we get the ball on the 20 yard line."
(On the offensive line for the rest of the game) – "We have to work on capitalizing; I mean that's the main thing. We have to correct our mistakes, when we get the ball in the short field we have to do things better "
(On the Steelers defense) – "We knew it would be a battle, not many teams run against them and we wanted to come out and run the ball, at times we did some good things. We have to watch film and get better, we did some good things and we have to get better at others."
LB Koa Misi
(On recovering the fumble after the 1st quarter sack of Roethlisberger) –"I don't remember what happened. I just saw the ball. (Long pause). We had a game going on. Cameron (Wake) came free and then Yeremiah Bell came in and knocked it out. So I just jumped on it. I probably should of picked it up and ran it in (laughing)."
LB Cameron Wake
(On the sack at the end of the game)"Every now and then, your number gets called. That particular play I was involved where my number was called and you got to do everything you can to make sure you do your job and my job was to get to the quarterback and I tried to do it the best I could."
(On the last defensive play)"They could not determine the possession of the ball, after he fumbled it. I'm not a ref so it doesn't matter if I could determine it or not. You know what, I am going to say it like how my grandma used to say it to me. If you weren't there, or you were doing what you were supposed to do, it wouldn't of happened anyway. So if we would of stopped them on the 50 yard line, like we were supposed to, it wouldn't have been a call. If you were home when you were supposed to, you wouldn't of got in trouble."