STEELERS-RAVENS INACTIVESSunday, October 3At Heinz Field
STEELERS QUOTESCoach Mike Tomlin:Good afternoon. I will start with a tip of the hat to the Baltimore Ravens. Boy that was a tough-fought football game and they did enough to win. They came into our place and took it so you have to compliment them for that. For us we see it as a very black-and-white issue. We didn't make enough plays to win the football game. We didn't play smart enough. I thought the two turnover opportunities that we had in the third quarter were significant opportunities in the game that we didn't capitalize on in terms of putting points on the board. We knew that points were going to be scarce in this matchup and they were again today. Largely, we didn't get any points out of those turnovers and that put us behind the eight-ball, and ultimately we were highly penalized. The penalties hurt us, no question in the football game. But you compliment them. They did enough to win, we didn't. Such is life in the NFL. We'll take a look at this and hopefully we'll learn from it. It's our first opportunity to respond to defeat, and I expect those guys to do that, respond meaning action with thought. We'll do that as we proceed forward, and take advantage of this bye week and move on with the rest of our football season.
Why did you run the football on third-down late in the fourth quarter?
We wanted to run time off the clock. They were out of timeouts. We felt good about what we had done to that point in the game defensively. If I can put my defense on the field around mid-field and somebody has to have a touchdown to beat us, I'll take my chances with that. I just wanted to run as much time off the clock as I could. That's why we ran the ball on third down. That's why we ran the play clock down to one second before we called timeout and before we kicked the punt.
Were the false start penalties at the end the result of mental mistakes?
That's Steelers beating Steelers, but through the entire game, too many penalties. We didn't play clean enough to earn a victory. And that's just black and white.
Did Reed misjudge the distance on the field goals?
I didn't talk to him about it. I just saw that they didn't go in.
How would you sum up being 3-and-1 after four games without Ben Roethlisberger?
Were there any injuries?
No, when Brett Keisel went down it was cramps during the latter portions of the game. The rest is just bumps and bruises that come along with playing. I think we got out of it pretty clean, which is a good thing.
RE: The final touchdown pass by Baltimore:
I think the most significant part of the play was the fact that they picked up our pressure. I think Todd Heap maybe came across from the strong side and picked up our pressure. And that gave Flacco the opportunity to slide to his right and deliver a ball. I think that's the significant element of the play. We recognized that when you bring a lot of people, at times you put guys on islands, if you will. The significant part of the play was Heap coming across the formation.
RE: Baltimore's last drive:
They just did a nice job. You got to compliment them. They were able to move the chains, get in striking distance and stop the clock.
What's the practice schedule look like for the bye week?
I gave it to the guys last week. We're going to come in and watch this game tape on Monday. We got a Tuesday through Thursday work mentality.
Can you talk about Ben Roethlisberger coming back?
We'll see him tomorrow.
Can you comment further on that?
He'll be back tomorrow.
Does losing like this hurt more than others?
I hate them all. I do. But that's this journey we are on, not only us but everyone. I love the competition. I am hacked-off right now, but you always are. You love opportunities such as this. It's what we all signed up for in the NFL. It was a tough, hard-fought football game versus a good opponent. You just like it if you're a competitor. I know we do. We don't like the outcome, but we had a lot to do with that. I'm sure we will acknowledge that. I hope we will. It will be our first opportunity to do so, and I trust we will deal with it appropriately.
S Ryan Clark
"Sometimes, when you are riding high, you don't look at your mistakes – look at the things you do wrong – as tough as you should. We definitely need to dissect this film tomorrow. But we're going to get better."
Joe Flacco is one of those guys that really doesn't seem to get too rattled.
"He's a good quarterback. He's been starting [for] three years now. He's playing in a lot of playoff games. He's played in a lot of situations and done an awesome job. We have a lot of respect for that guy right there. He can make all the throws and he showed that at the end of the game. Coach Tomlin and Coach LeBeau said if you give this guy time – if you give him opportunities to hit guys – he's going to hit them. He's not one of those quarterbacks that's going to miss. And he didn't. We left a guy open and he found him for a touchdown."
It was atypical for your team with the number of penalties you took.
"Some games go like that. I don't know if we were too excited or what was going on, but we made some mistakes. You can't beat yourself. Not taking anything away from them [by] saying that they didn't play well, but penalties are what you do to yourself. Those are things that we can control that they don't force us into - kind of unforced errors."
WR Mike Wallace
As you look at it after four games, you are 3-1. Is that okay, or are you disappointed?
"We're off to a good start, but we're disappointed. But, like I've said before, we don't have a drop off for anybody. We feel like we have standard that is set and everybody has to abide by it. [It is] not just because one guy is out, [that] we lost the game. It's never going to be like that. Our focus is we lost. We should win."
You were a few yards off from making a couple of big plays.
"We took some shots, we just didn't convert on them today. We have to go back in the lab and see what happened on those plays to try to come up with a way to make them the next time."
CB Bryant McFadden
Comment re: game-winning touchdown pass
"It was a tough play and situation. I just have to try to do what I need to do to be close to that. It's a tough situation to be in."
It looks like you are taking that play hard.
"No doubt. You always want to do what you are supposed to do. Sometimes situations may make it a little difficult, but that's not the character of a competitor. You still want to be where you need to be regardless. And that's how I look at it. It's a tough situation, a tough play. But sometimes things like that happen. It's the nature of the game. You are playing against a good offense. Hat's off to them – they made great execution [in] executing that play."
What goes through your head when he makes that second move and gets a step on you?
"It's tough. It's kind of hard to explain. But playing football and playing in the secondary, things of that nature happen. You just have to bounce back. It's tough on me. Regardless of the situation – a double-move [or a] triple-move, I always want to be where I need to be."
LB Lawrence Timmons
Is there anything positive about this loss today?
"We like to win. We don't look at it as a positive thing because we always like to finish. But you can't win them all. We just have to learn from our mistakes here and, hopefully, let them make us stronger."
WR Hines Ward
Will it be a lift getting Ben Roethlisberger back coming off a tough loss?
"Of course. We're getting our starting quarterback, our franchise guy, back. I know he wishes he was out there competing. We get a chance to get him back next week. We have a bye week and then we get ready for Cleveland."
It's tough to think about this after a loss, but at 3-1 after 4 games – without your starting quarterback and without the guy you were going to start – how do you assess that?
"It just shows the depth that we have on this team [and] they type of players that we have on this team. We don't let adversity sink in with us. We just go out and play ball. We just fell short today. We could have easily been 4-0. It just talks to the quality of players that we have on our team, the togetherness that we have. We came together. Yeah, we're 3-1, but we could easily be 4-0 right now. It hurts a little bit."
QB Charlie Batch
On the interception at the end, did you try to throw that one because you were running out of time instead of trying to take some yardage on the ground [with running the ball yourself?
"I was just trying to make a play down the field."
You were close a few times with Mike Wallace down the field.
"We were trying to take our shots down the field. We felt that we had a good matchup there. And when you are in those situations, you just try to get them to play honest by letting them know that we're going to take our shots deep. We didn't connect on them."
You had that long drive where you connected on some third down conversions and got a touchdown. Did you think at that point that you had the game?
"Well in that situation, I think there was probably about seven minutes left on the clock. For us, we felt that with two minutes to go when [the defense] held them on that situation, we needed to at least make a first down [and] give ourselves some breathing room. We didn't do that. We backed up [with] a punting situation with a penalty and we put our defense in a bad situation. We feel that if we were at least able to make a first down, the game is over because they would never get back on the field."
Did you want to throw the ball in that situation?
"They had no timeouts, no."
With the illegal procedure penalties, what happened?
"We beat ourselves in that situation. That's something that you can't have down there. In hindsight, I would like to have those back and not, maybe do a hard count. Just get the play [run] and run some time off clock and not lose time in the process."
Both times, you went with a hard count?
Do you allow yourself at all to think about what a 3-1 start means, or is this just too tough of a loss to think about that?
"I can't even really worry about what's going to happen in the next couple of days or hours. For me, we let one go. It's an empty feeling anytime that you lose, regardless if you are 3-1. We feel that we shouldn't be feeling down right now. I honestly feel that way."
Is the bye welcome? Or would you rather just get back out there?
"It's always good on the upswing. But anytime that you have the bye, it's always good."
Comments re: Ravens defense
"They did a good job. We weren't converting on third down. They did a good job of mixing up some pressure. We have to be able to make those third downs in those situations to at least allow us opportunities to continue our drives. I wasn't able to help convert those."
RAVENS QUOTESCoach John Harbaugh:The only way to describe it is a team victory. You come in here and win this game, it's important for us, it's important for a lot of reasons. But, it's mostly special because of who we're playing. That football team is a tremendous football team and this is a tough place to play and that's our arch rival, and we found a way to beat them at their place. So, that's what makes it so special.
Is this game a defining moment for Joe Flacco?
I think there are going to be a lot of defining moments for Joe, but this is going to be one of them. And this is going to be one that all the Ravens fans out there are going to remember for a long time. And how about the guys that stepped up? Some plays were made. T.J. made some plays, Todd made a play, Anquan made a play or two, I can't remember now. But the offensive line were the ones that established the possibility of those things happening. You can break down coverage eventually if you have a chance in terms of protection. I think the credit goes to our offensive line. As the game wore on, they got to feel we were square, we were in position, it was good fundamental football and they got those guys blocked. That's the best pass rush group in the league right now, and our guys got them blocked.
What does it mean to get your first victory in Pittsburgh as the Ravens' coach?
It doesn't mean that much. It means a lot because we got it together. That's what makes it meaningful, we got it together. It's a really good football team and a great environment. It's a great football environment.
Will T.J. be satisfied after this game?
No, T.J. will not be satisfied. We don't want anybody satisfied. We want guys that are hungry, guys that want the ball. You want guys that say, "Throw it to me when it matters most, give it to me when it matters most." I'll tell you, there's a bunch of guys on the sideline in my ear throughout the course of the game saying, "Give the ball to me." And that's what we want. Those are the kind of guys we have on our team.
RE: Switching the running back
We've got some depth. I think Ray did a heck of a job. Le'Ron ran well. But that's a physical football team. Those guys know how to tackle. They bring it, and our guys run hard so we had some collisions out there.
RE: Ray Race sitting out due to injury
I think we had a situation where we had a little bit of a knee injury. Ray was okay, but on this surface we felt like we had two other guys that could play, maybe three with Jalen Parmele. We had some guys we could give the ball to, but then obviously Willis got dinged, so Ray had to go our there and play and he did a nice job.
The offense came back at the end after losing the ball with minutes left. Does that show their resilience?
I think resilience is a great word, persistence is a great word, and composure is another word to use in this environment. Go down there and [the Steelers] get it on the 2 yard-line, that's our opportunity to win the game. Defense steps up; they end up on the 3. Not sure if that hole is in the end zone or not, but it worked out for the best because we got it in good position with our special teams. I thought our special teams played well. But, let's not forget the defense. I think we gave up one drive and they made some really nice plays on third down. I give Charlie Batch a lot of credit, and they've got playmakers. They did a nice job on that drive converting on third down. But we were backed up twice with turnovers and they got nothing. I don't think they had much offense for most of the game. Our defense pretty much controlled the run. There were a lot of good things in the game. That open end is a tough place to kick for anyone.
Do you think the open end of Heinz Field is the toughest place to kick?
It's the toughest place I've seen with that open end. It doesn't get any easier as the year goes on. It's only going to get tougher down there.
RE: Cam Cameron getting the game ball
I don't think there's a better play-caller. We can all sit there and be frustrated and disagree with calls when they don't work, I mean that's kind of how it is in football. But Cam doesn't let that get to him. He doesn't let it bother him. It rolls right off his back. He's going to call the play he thinks is going to give us the best chance to be successful. He's very aggressive as a play-caller. And to me, that's what you want.
Did Cam set a steady pace for the offense during the game?
It was really important that we got snaps. We needed more plays. I don't think we've felt like we've gotten enough plays. Part of that are turnovers, part of that is getting first downs. But we wanted to get as many plays as we could against this defense…as many positive good plays as we could throughout the course of the game. I think Cam and the offense did a good job of that.
RAVENS PLAYERSRay Rice
Re: Rivalry between the Ravens and Steelers
This is one of the most physical teams we're going to play, and the rivalry is just – I've never been in one of these games where they just outright beat us. There are no blowouts in these games. These games always go down to the wire. This is a step for us – especially to get a win in Pittsburgh. As long as I've been in the league, we've never won in Pittsburgh.
Re: Expectations for the offense
We want to be a dominant offense. If we want to line up with four minutes and run the clock out, we got that. At the same time, we have receivers that can boil and a quarterback that's going to get it to them.
Re: Importance of beating a division team
It's big. To be three-and-one, especially in the AFC North, which I consider to be the most physical division, it's big. Now we have to take care of the division in order to be good for later on in the season. It just means a lot.
Re: Final drive as seen from the sidelineIt was crazy. We have great receivers. Joe kept his poise. He came through under pressure. We had faith in him. Cam (Cameron) had faith in him, he was calling pass plays, and the receivers were making great catches.
Re: Play calling to counter Steelers' blitzOh yeah, good anticipation there. We knew they were going to bring it, just because of what they were doing. They brought it a lot in the second half. We made the adjustments when it counted.
Re: Providing run support against MendenhallIt was my first day back out there hitting people, so I had to get used to it. When I first hit him, I got a little banged up, but it was just getting used to the game.
Re: Defending against Mike Wallace
We knew coming into the game that he was going to be a deep threat, so we had to take that away. He's a fast guy, and he runs great routes. My whole week was focusing on #17, making sure #17 didn't beat me deep. He didn't have a game on me. We came out and played great team ball. The defensive rush rushed Batch, and made him underthrow it, overthrow it – they helped me out a lot.
Re: Ed Reed on the sidelines
He can't wait to get back on the field. That's how it is when you love the game. He tries to be in the game, on the sidelines.
Re: Ravens passing attackWe're capable of making plays. We have three guys in that room who have made a lot of plays in this league, who have caught over 100 balls, have been in Pro Bowls – so, you use them. You find a way to use them. When Anquan (Boldin) is playing the way he's playing, and they want to roll over to him, you have T.J. (Houshmandzadeh) or myself. If they roll over to us, we have Todd (Heap) or Anquan. We just want to make sure that each and every game, what we put on film makes the next upcoming defense have to think seriously about trying to take away the pass or trying to take away the run. That's what we want, and we were able to do that today.
Re: Joe Flacco's development as a quarterback and development of the passing gameI think Joe is confident in everybody. You saw it today, towards the end of the game. He hit Houshmandzadeh for two big plays – the corner route on first down, and then the touchdown. That just shows you the confidence Joe has in every guy, because he can scan the field and see that if one of us is covered, he can go to someone else. It's hard for defenses to really sit down and gameplan for us. Then you throw Todd (Heep) in the mix. Todd killed them over the middle a couple of times. All four of us – if we're clicking on all cylinders, it's hard to cover us. Very hard. Joe Flacco
Re: Last play – is staying calm key?
Yeah. We put two great drives together at the end of the game. We were fortunate enough to get the ball back because of our defense, but I feel like we just got in a little groove. We started off with a nice easy completion, and just got it going from there. The guys did a great job.
Re: Emotion after scoring the touchdown
There's not too many better ways to win a game when you're coming to Pittsburgh. I mean you blow somebody out and that's fun and all, but when the game is that close through it all and you go and win it on the last drive, once you win it, there's no other better ways to win a game. It was awesome, I couldn't be more proud of our guys. They hung in there tough all day against a good pass-rush, and our offensive line battled their butt off and did a good job. Our receivers stayed strong, and it was just a good game for all of us.
Put us through the mood after the touchdown.
I was out and up, we ran it and I caught the ball, I want to say the play before or a couple plays before, I'm not sure which one. I didn't really run out and up. When I'm running and looking at it I see him right on bite on the move, so I turn and I was suppose to go up the sideline, but I felt him going outside me so I crossed his space, simple.
RE: More dangerous passing attack
I think we're still like that. I think we're evolving. When you've done something for so long, it's hard to change when you've had a little success. I think we're still a running team. It's been a rough two games for me, to be honest with you because I would say last week and this week I hadn't played as much or didn't get as many opportunities as I thought I would. I would be lying to you if I said things weren't going through my head, but you just got to hang in there. We're going to evolve, whether we got to run or throw to win, we have to do what's best for the team.
How does it feel to win here?
Great. I haven't won here since my rookie year. It's real tough to win out here and it's great to come out with a win.
Re: Thoughts on performance
I love playing these guys. I was able to make some plays. They kept running my way so I was able to make those plays.