STEELERS VS. PANTHERSDECEMBER 23, 2010HEINZ FIELDPOST-GAME QUOTES**
Coach Mike Tomlin:Boy it's great to be in the clubhouse for the weekend with the necessary win, and then we can watch the others sort themselves out. We are far from perfect but we were good enough to win tonight. We'll just continue to look at the areas where we fall short and hopefully improve and push forward to next week. And that's not going to be easy, going to Cleveland. And we'll be prepared for that. From an effort standpoint tonight, we got the necessary plays from virtually all three phases and it was good to get a win and move forward.
Did Ben Roethlisberger break his nose again?
What about the other injuries?
There was a bunch of in game kind of stuff that is probably going to be minor. I guess the two significant ones are Jason Worilds and Mewelde Moore. Both experienced knee injuries of some kind. Both are getting scans right now. I will have more information once we get that.
Did you expect to get such large chunks of yards?
It depended on how they chose to play us. We knew that potentially they would stack the line of scrimmage in order to stop the run. They used some five-down defensive line personnel groups, and when you see that you have to take what they give to you. Guys got open and Ben distributed the football.
Are you going to give it to Mike Wallace that he is more than a one-trick pony?
No. He made the necessary plays for us tonight. This guy has a desire to have a complete game. We kid about it. He's a young man in development. I like where he is right now, but he is capable of more. I think he's got the same approach to it and he's going to continue to work. I like a guy that is producing plays to help us win, but at the same time I understand that there is more out there for him. He's a young guy; he's a talented guy. He's got a desire to be a great player and he works at it every day. On Sundays you sometimes see the fruits of that labor, and hopefully it continues.
Is James Farrior sometimes overlooked because of other defensive players?
We have a lot of Alpha-males in our locker room. He's the unquestioned leader of our football team. I think that's all you can say about James Farrior. He does it all for us, inside the white lines and outside the white lines. He's a professional, he's a competitor, he's a leader and they follow.
PLAYERSQUARTERBACK BEN ROETHLISBERGER
Re: Mike Wallace
Well he's doing a lot of different things and I told him tonight he did something that I have been waiting for him to do, and that was on the deep ball, come back to it . Make that play on our sideline, on their sideline. That's something a lot of speed guys can't always do. If it's short, they kind of let it go. He did a great job; I've been on him a lot about doing that. He stopped; he came back and made a play. That's what I was probably most happy to see from him tonight.
Re: The route he ran out
It was a hot read, they brought a blitz. Mike ran up through there and he takes off, he's so fast.
Re: Assessing the defense
They did some different things, some different coverages. Some single-high stuff that we tried to get offside. They did, what appeared to be a cover-two tonight, and that helped us get down the middle at times, and get some good match-ups. Heath matched up on some linebackers and things like that.
Re: Why keep starters in play deep into fourth quarter?
That's probably a question for him, but not that I know of, I felt like we didn't finish, and we needed to. That's why it's a good thing to keep those guys all in because we've got to find ways to finish ball games. We got a lot of young guys that aren't familiar with how necessary is it to do that. So we just got to keep working at it, and find ways to do that.
Re: Left some plays on the field
I left a lot out there. We got the win which is great, feels good, especially at this time of the year. But, I still left a couple throws out there and a couple things here and there that I've got to improve on.
Re: The offense progressing
I felt like we did some really good things tonight. We're always striving to get better, and do some better things. Every day and every game we get a little bit better and that's important right now.
Re: People's disappointments with a 27-3 win
I guess we have high standards for ourselves. We set the bar real high and we want to reach it.
Re: Nose injury
Helmet came down and got real bloody again.
Is your nose broken again?
We don't know. I don't think so. It's still a little crooked, and it was more of the bridge this time. The doctor was here that did my surgery, looked at it and said there wasn't a need for an X-Ray right now. So we'll let it go.
Re: Last pass to Wallace and him achieving 100 yards
I knew that he was close. It was a run play. Isaac Redman was pretty tired from a couple runs before. Mewelde (Moore) was out at the time and we didn't have another back in, and I could by the look on Isaac's face that if I could get a chance to throw it to Mike (Wallace), to give Isaac a break, I'll do it. And kill another bird with that same stone to get him 100. He actually ran the wrong route, but he made it work.
Re: Importance of number two seed
Well, it gets you a bye and more time to rest. We still have a big game coming up. We have to take care of business.
If number two seed is clinched, do you want to rest against Cleveland?
It is coach's call. I'm fine with it either way. If he wants me to be in there, and us to be in there, I'm good with that. If he wants to back off and get rest, I'm fine with that as well.
Re: Heath Miller's impact
Well he did some good things tonight. He caught quite a few balls, and I think it makes guy's defenses focus on him more.
C Maurkice Pouncey
How do you feel the offense performed through four quarters, specifically up to the red zone?
"We did all right. We didn't play as [well] as we should have. There's no excuses; we should have had a better running game going. We have to get back in the lab on Monday and go to work."
What about the consistency with the running game needs to come along, do you think?
"We did some good plays out there, but we didn't have the running game that we wanted to. We'll get that right on Monday, go to work [and] see what we messed up on. I know it's probably simple things like peeling guys off on the back side – little, simple things. We'll fix them."
LB LaMarr Woodley
Is it too early to reflect back on where you are?
"We still have one more game. This was an important game for us [with] losing last week. We want to clinch the second seed and our division. We have to take care of Cleveland. Last year, when we played Cleveland down there, they took care of business on us. We have to make sure that doesn't happen this year."
There was some talk about the age of this defense with two games in five days. They didn't look that old to me.
"Didn't look that old to me either. We're looking good out there. They scored three points, which is great for us. We just have to do a better job of tackling."
DT Casey Hampton
What does a game like this prove to the coaches?
"I think we were just a better team. It wasn't anything about proving anything to the coaches. I think we're just a better team than them."
You are one win away from getting that No. 2 seed. How important is the bye and the other things that come with it?
"It's huge for us. We definitely need it. If you get a bye, it gets you closer to the Super Bowl. You only have to win two games instead of three. Anything can happen in the playoffs so you want to play as least games as possible trying to get there."
LB James Farrior
"That was better. That was a better effort today. I think overall we did a good job being that it was a short week. We didn't really have a lot of time to prepare, but I think guys just really did a good job of taking care of the little things [and] making sure we didn't go out and have a bad effort today."
Ryan Clark talked about this was a two-win team going against a Dick LeBeau offense with a rookie quarterback. It wasn't really a matchup, was it?
"We felt like this was a game we could control. We wanted to try to put it in the young quarterback's hands and try to make him beat us. We knew they were going to try to run the ball as that is probably the best part of their team is their running game. So, I think we did a good job overall of stopping it throughout the day. We still have some work to do. We have another game left to try to close out and win the division. We have to get ready for Cleveland."
RB Rashard Mendenhall
What is the difference in the red zone? Is it the little plays that make the difference, getting a few extra yards when you need them?
"I think so. With the red zone, the field is shrunk and we have to execute better to get in the end zone. We'll figure it out and work it out. But as long as we're winning, we'll be cool."
DE Brett Keisel
Three days off, Christmas, and a win.
"Merry, merry Christmas, Steeler Nation. It's a great weekend for us."
How much will it help to have these three days off this weekend to get people healthy before your next game.
"It's big to have some time off. That's what we're fighting for is to get that bye too. We've got one more game to do that, but the ball is in our hands."
Re: upcoming Cleveland game
"We went up there last year and laid an egg. So, we're not trying to do that again. They've got a good running attack too. We'll have to be on our screws."
PANTHERS QUOTESCOACH JOHN FOX
Re: Jimmy Clausen's play:
I'll look at the tape. It's hard for me to evaluate. We've obviously had our struggles in that position throughout the season and we obviously have some work to do in that area.
Re: Having to abandon the running game:
I think we did that and it just got a little bit worse. As it went on we went back to the running game just to try and get through it and at least get a field goal.
Re: Having a break before the last game of the season:
Yeah, that's good news. I told them to enjoy their holiday and have a great Christmas. They will have tomorrow, Saturday and Sunday off and come back to work on Monday and get ready for the season final against the Atlanta Falcons.
Re: Decision not to try for long field goals due to weather conditions:
I think both teams kind of viewed it that way. We were at 33 or 32 [yards away] and we felt his range was 30 under the conditions tonight.
Re: Being able to move the ball on the first two offensive drives:
It looked promising. [The Steelers defense] made some adjustments basically with the running game and tried to make us throw. And when we did, it didn't go as well. Unfortunately we weren't able to come away with any points. We didn't get quite far enough to get in the range for field goals.
It looked like the Steelers were testing the young corners.
I don't think we played as well as we could in that area as far as fits. There was a lack of experience with some new guys in there. I think it had a little bit to do with that. That's not an excuse. We just gave up too many big plays in the first half, in particular on third down.
Re: Elusiveness of Ben Roethlisberger
He's a tough sack. He plays off of their big offensive line, so whatever he gets he gets. You have to balance up and try to get to him.
Re: Recent improvement in his play
I'm just trying to make plays. I'm trying to help the defense out the best way I can.
Re: Getting a couple days off
I'm glad to get a couple days to spend time with the family, and to try to re-think about this season. I'll just try to recuperate, and try to come back and win this last game in Atlanta.
Re: Charles Johnson
He's been a great guy. He's one of those guys who is extremely selfless, and he's going to come to work every day. His work ethic shows, game in and game out. No matter what the tale of the tape is, he's one of those guys who's always doing his job.
Does the play of Johnson provide something to build on?
Ultimately, that's what you want to look for. A guy that's selfless. No matter the circumstances, he's going to come to work every day and take a professional attitude.
What happened on the unnecessary roughness penalty in the third quarter?It was just one of those deals, with emotions running high, and things aren't going the way that you wanted them to go. It just came to a head. You just had to release some frustration. Ultimately, it didn't cost us. But it did cost us 15 yards. It's my fault.
Was that the frustration of the whole season coming through?
Yeah. A lot of guys have frustrations, and I guess I was the first one to pop. All you can do is try to be optimistic for the next season, but you can't let things like that happen. You have to be a professional about your job.
Re: Stalled drives early in the game
We didn't execute. We came out executing, but in the end we didn't execute as well, and it showed.
Re: Steelers defense
With Polamalu or without him, they bring pressure. They're fast all over the field. They played a good game.
Re: Lack of holes after the first drive
It's not that they weren't there, it was a lot of things. A lot of moving pieces, and a lot of things that work together. We just have to get better.
Re: Adjustments by Steelers after the first drive
I think we came out pretty tough. Hats off to their defense, they played great.
Re: Assessing the play of Jimmy Clausen
I don't think anybody played too well today. As a team we didn't play well. It's never one guy. It's never one guy when we win, and it's never one guy when we lose. I don't think anybody played the way they wanted to today.