STEELERS-TITANS POST-GAME QUOTESSEPTEMBER 19, 2010LP STADIUM
*HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN *
Big win for us. You come in a hostile environment versus good people, it's going to require a lot. We were far from perfect today, but the guys really hung together and really gave an outstanding effort and we made enough plays in enough areas to get out of her quite frankly. I like what the team is doing in terms of working together, in terms of fighting the adversity, in terms of uplifting one another, but we still got some improving to do. We are still beating ourselves a little bit. It's good to learn those lessons and work to improve when you're 2-0 which is what we are. We have got a big preparation week ahead of us. We're going down to another hostile environment. Such is life in the National Football League. We embrace these challenges. That's what they are challenges. So we're excited. It's an excited locker room in there and they deserve to be and with that we will push forward.
(on the defense holding down Chris Johnson and creating seven turnovers)
I am happy to get out of the stadium with a win. That kind of effort was going to be required today and we knew it. We don't run away from it, we openly talk about it and they deliver.
(on any concern about Steelers' lack of offence)
It does but we won so it was enough.
(on Dennis Dixon's injury)
We are going to, of course, run further tests. I don't know who is going to play quarterback next week. I know it won't be me. I'm not good enough.
(on the opening kickoff)
We were trying to create splash plays. We have been in here before and they are tough to move the ball on. They are tough to run on, they create great pressure because you have got to use silent counts and so forth when you get behind the chains. We were just trying to change field position or give ourselves field position. We had several things dialed up and ready to go that we felt like could help us change field position. That's how we chose to start the game. It was important that we protected the exchange point and blocked their two and three over there on that side. We felt like if we did that we had a chance for it to be something. Those guys did a nice job over there giving them an opportunity to exchange that ball and the rest is history.
(on Trai Essex injury)
It's an ankle injury, probably minor. Of course he was able to go back but shoot, it was musical chairs. Man, I don't know who we had in there for a spell there. Hats off to our lineman and really everyone. It's one of those games you know.
(on the area Dixon injured)
It's a knee injury of some kind. We will see where it is. He potentially could have come back in handed the ball off to finish the game and so forth if that provides you any type of information.
(on being conservation with Charlie Batch being the last healthy quarterback)
Tennessee Titans defense had a lot to do with that.
(on the heat being a factor in the game)
It was a factor but it was a factor for both teams so we don't worry about that. It was hot on their sideline too. It's going to be hot on both sidelines next week in Tampa.
(on the displeasure of the Steelers offense)
No. I want wins.
(on the ability to turnover Vince Young)
We felt like we could potentially get pressure on him but it started first with trying to neutralize his back. As you can see he is capable of making you look bad in the blink of an eye. We were fortunate there with the holding penalty. It started there. There were several things that we thought we might have a chance to be successful at executing but it was going to be a mute point unless we contained that runner.
(on doing anything special against Chris Johnson)
No we had to come off blocks. One on one he is going to win most of those battles, we had to get multiple hats to the ball. We had to come off blocks. It made it, of course difficult, because most of the conditions and that's why I take my hat off to the guys because that's what we got. We got guys running to the football.
(on what that as of a physical of a football game as you have seen)
Probably until next week . That's our story and we're sticking to it.
(on the emotions of going 2-0 in tough wins)
Regardless of our demise being reported, we expect to win. We're pleased that we are 2-0 but we are not astounded by it. We're capable. We're a little bit annoyed to be quite honest about our premature reporting of our death.
STEELERS PLAYERSDE AARON SMITH
(on defensive effort)
We played pretty well. We're obviously going to get back to the film and correct it and see what mistakes we have to fix. We're happy with a win. Whatever it takes just to get a win.
(on shutting down Titans RB Chris Johnson)
You have to keep him under wraps. He's the type of guy, you know he's going to get some yards but you just can't let him break the big one out and really hurt you. He's a big playmaker.
DT CHRIS HOKE
(on shutting down Titans RB Chris Johnson)
Our goal was to shut down the run. We know he's an excellent runner. He's so fast and he's so good on his cutback. We wanted to make sure that we kept our gaps and held our gaps and stayed square to the line of scrimmage so there were no cutback lanes. And there weren't any today.
(on the holding penalty called against lineman on him to negate long TD run)
The center held me. It was obvious. Right away, I saw the ref threw the flag so I knew it was coming back.
(on media's low expectations for Steelers in early-season games)
A lot of times, you guys don't see what all goes on with our team. We know we've got a lot of great players out here. We've got a chip on our shoulder this year because of how things went down last year with our five-gaming losing streak. So, we have something to prove. So sometimes when people write that we're not going to be very good or maybe they'll go 2-2 or 1-3 when Ben (Roethlisberger)'s out, that's a lot of the stuff that pisses us off. We think we've got a good football team and we feel that the quarterbacks that are filling in for Ben are capable to do the job. For people to go out and say, 'Hopefully they'll be 2-2,' we think that's a knock on us a little bit.
LB JAMES HARRISON
(on slowing down the Titans offense)
Our plan coming in was to try to keep Chris Johnson contained and if we got beat, it was going to be by the quarterback position. We just wanted to keep him contained to where he could not scat out and run around us.
(on holding Chris Johnson under 100 yards)
It really wasn't to keep him under 100 yards. If they were to give him the 30 or 40 times I'm sure in some shape or form he would have got 100. We did a good job of keeping him contained and sort of steered them away from what they would normally do.
LB JAMES FARRIOR
(on defensive performance)
It was pretty good. I have never been in a game with quite so many turnovers, but it was a good job by our defense. We were hawking after the ball all day and they were careless with it, so we took advantage of it. We got a lot of turnovers and I think that helped us in the long run.
(on the seven turnovers)
That was a lot and I think we needed all of them because it came down to the end. They fought back, got a quick touchdown and the onside kick, so we had to go out there and finish it off.
(on holding Chris Johnson under 100 yards)
It was pretty good. He said (Johnson) he wanted an 80-yard run, I told him I would let him get it but we got to get the win. I gave it to him, but it ain't my fault that they was holding, so I kept my word.
(on being motivated by statements of playing without Ben Roethlisberger)
We knew everybody was going to count us out, having Ben out. They think we can't win without Ben, but that just gives us a little more motivation. Mike Tomlin been pissed off the last couple weeks, so he has been taking it out on us and we have been taking it out on other teams.
S TROY POLAMALU
(on defensive intensity and personal skirmishes on the field)
Well, when you have a rivalry of old and two physical teams, you have a very physical defense, corners are physical, wide receivers and offense; things like that are going to happen.
(on preparing for Chris Johnson and the Titans offense during the week)
Against somebody like that you really have to be disciplined. And, even when you're in your gap, you still have to make a tackle. He is such a great running back, one gap short, you know, you saw what could have happened.
QB CHARLIE BATCH
(on his play during the game)
I was trying to do anything that I can to help this team win. That was going in there and executing the game plan and making sure that I can go out there and help put points on the board.
(on watching some of the linemen go down)
At the beginning of the fourth quarter that is when I really noticed. I was looking down and all of a sudden you see Trai (Essex) cramping up and Chris (Kemoeatu) cramping up and even Flozell (Adams). There was a lot of time when guys were running out. It was just a matter really at that point to give guys a rest to the point that they feel they can come back into the game.
(on if he'd like to start next week)
I always want to throw my hat in the ring. It is just a matter of if the opportunity presents itself, I will be ready. You never know when your number is going to be called upon.
(on the offense needing to get better)
We are leaving a lot of offense on the field. One thing you want to do as an offense is put seven points on the board. We had opportunities today and we beat ourselves. We weren't able to put seven points on the board. We had to rely on the field goal and ultimately that gave them a chance at the end of the game to at least tie the football game. If we were able to put seven points on the board offensively, we wouldn't put the defense in that situation at the end of the game.
(on the bunch formations and if it was to focus on the run)
When you go in there, you got to be able to run the football. You can't be one dimensional. When you're playing on the road, you know it is a tough time. It was a tough opportunity out there playing against that defense. We knew we had to establish that running game. We wanted to get Rashard (Mendenhall) going. We were going to keep dialing it up until hopefully we broke one. We didn't break the one that we would like to, but we know coming into the game that we were going to try to run the football.
(on lots of backups playing in the game)
You don't. This is something that coach always says, if you're dressed and you're in "the hat" and you're capable. You never know what is going to happen. I think pretty much today was an example of that. I am pretty sure that everybody who had a hat on, played.
QB DENNIS DIXON
(on how he got hurt)
On my last series out there. It was one of my runs that I had. I planted wrong and it didn't feel right after that. Better safe than sorry.
(on using so many players in the game)
Whatever it takes to get the W. It takes everybody to get things done as far as special teams, defense and offense. We are working together.
(on his play before he got hurt)
It started off rocky as far as communication and stuff like that. But things started to slow down after that.
C MAURKICE POUNCEY
(on continual changes of offensive line in game due to injury and dehydration)
We have a lot of guys who are versatile that can play any position. It shows the flexibility of the offensive line and what guys are willing to do for the team.
(on defensive performance)
The defense played real good. I ain't gonna lie to you. They made some plays out there. But, we've got practice on Monday and we'll go out there and go to work.
(on physicality of game)
That was a dogfight. We kind of knew going into it, but when you're actually out there, you actually feel it. Those guys played great and hats off to them, but we won.
KR ANTONIO BROWN
(on scoring a TD on kickoff return to open the game)
We had a few things going into the game and that was just one of the few that everybody was excited about coming from practice. I think it was just a great start to kick off the game. I was just excited that we pulled that out of the bag for the first one. To see it go and put an exclamation point on the play, it was pretty exciting.
It was a great handoff and a good seal left to get everybody slanted. When I got backside, it was only me and the kicker left. He was the last man and I wasn't going to let him get me down. I just had to kick in that extra gear to finish the play.
(on the TD return being the first play of his NFL career).
I'm thankful and just blessed. I want to continue to be a part of something special and continue to win as a Steeler.
S RYAN CLARK
(on defensive performance and shutting down Titans RB Chris Johnson)
I think we had a good scouting report on them. The coaches really implemented the plan well. We kind of knew what they were going to do in each formation and realized that if Chris Johnson didn't really get off and break a big run, they're not scoring a lot of points on teams. So we tried to keep him bottled up as well as possible, and I think it worked to our advantage because Vince (Young) had to throw a little more.
*HEAD COACH JEFF FISHER *
This game got off track the opening kickoff and kind of went from there. A positive I think was our defensive effort, and we've got work to do. We played a very physical football team that found a way to win today and we didn't despite their limitations at the (quarterback) position.
And obviously, I made a decision to get a spark and go with Kerry (Collins). Vince (Young) is still our starter. He will start next week against the Giants. There is no quarterback controversy. I just needed to make that decision. I know it was the best decision for the team.
(on what Vince Young was not doing well)
I am not going to get into details. I just needed to make the change, O.K. He will have a great week and play fine, play well against the Giants.
(on what Pittsburgh's defense was doing to cause problems)
They were just doing some different things. They were dropping a lineman out. They caught (us) off guard. Troy (Polamalu) made a good play in the end zone. You know, they tackled well. They took the edges away. We really never got the run game started with the exception of (the) long run.
(on what happened on opening kickoff)
They ran a reverse. We recognized it. It was communicated, but the guy still crossed over where they were told. So, it was one of those things that happens at the beginning of the ballgame. I thought we were able to overcome it. We should have overcome it. But seven turnovers, come on. To commit seven turnovers and still have a remote chance at the end.
(on what helped lead to seven turnovers)
The ball came out of the pocket. They knocked the ball out on C.J. (Johnson). I guess it was ruled correctly. I'll have to look at it. If the elbow is down, the runner is down. But you know, we had routes that were run wrong. On the interception where Nate (Washington) didn't break the route off, it was just a combination of things. But, you can win when you turn the ball over like that.
(on Pittsburgh's defense taking C.J. Johnson out of game)
They just edged, edged, ran and pursued. You know, if the holding penalty is not called, they probably don't take him out of the game. (It) was kind of the way we figured we had to win was just keep handing it to him, handing it to him knowing some of it would be ugly. But if we kept getting the opportunities we have a chance to break one.
(on if he disputed the holding call)
I didn't see it. I heard it was somewhat suspect.
(on if making the change at quarterback would affect Vince Young's confidence)
You know, I wasn't concerned honestly about his feelings (Vince Young's) at that point. I was trying to win the football game. And he's our starting quarterback and he will start this week, O.K. So, you know it is not an easy thing to do to anybody. But, he is going to come back start this week and play well.
(on Vince Young moving forward mentally)
I think he has learned tremendously over the last couple of years and he will come back and have a great week and play well.
(on making the quarterback change)
I made the decision to make the change; I'm not going to go into specifics. I just thought we needed a spark. We just needed a little change there.
(on Steelers defense giving Vince Young early trouble)
They were disguising; they were moving things around a little bit. We talked about this earlier in the week. That defense has done some…has created some very difficult opportunities for a number of quarterbacks in this league, year after year after year; even the most veteran of quarterbacks. This was his first opportunity against it, he'll get more opportunities against this defense, I'm sure.
(on the 85-yard touchdown by Chris Johnson being called back)
Well, it's not something that you get over very easily. We had a false start, we had them pinned up, he made a great run, great effort and for all intensive purposes I thought the play was over, it was done. It wasn't, so…we didn't get back into the end zone until less than two minutes left.
(on Titans defense keeping the Steelers out of the end zone)
Coach (Mike Tomlin) did a nice job with his team, handing the ball off and capitalizing on the turnovers and kicking field goals and winning that game. With Dennis (Dixon) going down and Charlie (Batch) probably not having a lot opportunity to practice, he found a way to win that game. This is the second week in a row that there defense has put them in a position to win games.
(on biggest disappointment)
The loss, the loss. I thought that we were better than that, and we will learn from it and hang together and bounce back.
(on delay of game after timeout)
There were some issues with the play that was called, formation alignment. And you can't call consecutive timeouts in the same dead-ball period, it's a delay of game.
(on Marc Mariani fumble)
The ball was knocked lose by a good, physical football team.
(on scrum in front of bench to start the game)
Those kinds of things happen, you don't want to see them, but there was some pushing and shoving and some uncertainty on whether the ball was lateral or what have you, and the officials did a good job of getting it sorted out.
LB WILL WITHERSPOON
(on difficulty of gathering the team together after the opening kickoff return by the Steelers)
You know, I don't think that was hard at all. I think we looked at it today as, 'All right, they pulled something out their bag on us and they capitalized on it.' So we looked at it and said, 'Hey lets get our game. It's over now, that play is over now. Let's move forward from this point.'
*(on any frustration with defense playing well and still not getting a win) *
Yeah, you're a little frustrated about it but I think we have to look at the whole picture. Yeah we had turnovers, not a great thing. Defense played well. I mean to have that many turnovers and still only come up with 19 points, that's huge. I think that says a lot right there but really, what we have to look at now is getting consistent. We've got to go back, look at things, take a look at the tape and make sure we say, 'Hey guys, here's what we did wrong and here's what we did right.' As a defense, we didn't play perfect so we've got to make sure we get it all together and move forward.
(on keeping team focused during QB controversy)
You just play. I mean you really just wait for the next guy to come in. It's no different if a guy goes down there, he's still got to come in and play. He's still got to step up his game. We've all got faith in whoever is on the field. You can't just look, just because Vince got pulled out and Kerry went in, no big deal. We've got to go with the next guy on the field and trust that he's going to get the job done. And that's the way we look at it.
(on defense being gassed after multiple turnovers)
I don't think we were gassed at all. I think the way we had to look at it was, 'All right, let's make sure that they don't score and get further out of this game ahead than we want them to be.' Defensively, we looked at it and said, 'Hey, if we hold them to three's, we've still got a shot.' And we did. You look at that last onside kick that we recovered. We score there, get another two point; hey we're looking at another game.
QB KERRY COLLINS
(on coming in with team trailing late)
Sure it's a tough spot. They're a good defense and obviously getting down the way we did wasn't the plan. But that's part of being a backup. You have to be ready whatever the situation calls for. It was unfortunate that we put ourselves in that position, but that's the reality of what was going on.
(on Titans seven turnovers)
They (Steelers) are a good defense. They create turnovers, but at the end of the day we've got to be better than that. I mean seven turnovers are way too many. We are all accountable for that. Against a team like this, with a defense that's hard to move the ball against, I mean you turn the ball over and give their offense short field position, it makes it tough. Our defense played great. We put them in a lot of tough situations and they kept us in it.
(on the last unsuccessful drive of the game )
We kept fighting. That was the one thing. We had an opportunity to make it interesting and guys kept playing, and you've got to in that situation. But it's unfortunate that we had put ourselves in that situation.
WR NATE WASHINGTON
(on the Titans performance as a team, in spite of the seven turnovers)
We could have played a lot better today. There's no going around that. I'm pretty sure everyone has seen that. At the same time, this is one we are definitely going to have to put behind us. A lot of mistakes were made today on all cylinders, and we just have to come back, stick together, let this be under our belt and let this one be a learning lesson. I guess after the performance that we did have last week, this is the wake-up call that we need. And I'm glad that it was early.
Right now, there is no excuse behind seven turnovers and not putting any points on the board for us. Not taking anything away from their defense. Their defense played awesome today. But at the same time, we could have played a lot better.
QB VINCE YOUNG
(on Jeff Fisher making the decision to put Collins in at quarterback))
He's the head coach. He is the head coach.
(on being disappointed after being bench in the fourth quarter)
Oh yeah. I'm definitely disappointed for being benched, but at the same time, he is the head coach.
(on the frustrating day)
Not really. Definite respect to Pittsburgh. They did a great job. Defintely put this one on me. I did make some mistakes and turned the ball over. They did some things that I haven't seen before. Overall, I really feel like we will see them guys again.
(on having the opportunity to lobby his case before being taken out of the game)
No. He is the head coach. He makes his decisions.
(on the deflating opening play of the game)
That was big. A reverse, there is no wider respect than that. That was a great job by their special teams coach. Our special teams has been doing a great job, but they weren't ready for that one either. So respect to them. Hats off to them for that right there.
(on the Pittsburgh defense being confusing)
No, I wouldn't say confusing. I just had my eyes one time, in the wrong spot. The first interception, (Troy) Polamalu made a play. He was driving on our basic guy, Bo Scaife and then he dropped back underneath the post. That's Polamalu. He makes plays like that. I give respect. On the second one, that was another, looked like he blitzed and then he dropped underneath it. That was the second interception. Like I said before, respect to Pittsburgh's defense, but we will definitely see those guys again. We will definitely see those guys again.
(on the holding penalty on Chris Johnson's long run changing the game)
I feel like that would have been different. As well as the first interception that was in the red zone. I felt like we were going to score that drive and it would have been a big difference. It didn't happen. Their defense did a great job of stopping us and they played great. Our defense did a great job as well too.
(on bouncing back after this game)
Just past in the past. We are all pros. Things happen. These type of things happen. It is just the second game of the season. It's just the second game of the season. Just hearing guys in the locker room; just hearing guys on the sideline. Everybody's says keep your head up and get ready for the next game. When you hear that type of thing from your team, you know that everybody's about to put this is in the past and get ready for the New York Giants.
(on being a more resilient player than early in his career)
Back in the day, I probably couldn't. But right now, I'm mature about the situation. Back in the day, you all probably wouldn't even see me talking to you all right now if I lost. But right now, I'm more mature about the situation. I understand that things like this happen. Like I said, I put that one on me. Three (team) interceptions and a fumble. Things like that. At the same time, move on from there. Whatever they do, we are going to be starting this week and go from there.
(on injured knuckle effecting your play)
No, not at all. Not my thinking. Not my hands at all. Not at all.
(on not getting the calls from the officials that he wanted)
Those type of things like that don't bother me. But eventually when I get to be top a five quarterback in the league, then I might get those calls. But right now, I'm way below so I'm not going to get those calls.
(on Fisher saying he would be the starting quarterback next week)
I hope so. I pray to God. I hope so. I just want them to continue to keep trusting in me. If not, you know, things happen. At the same time, that is what happens. He felt that he wanted to go to Kerry (Collins). I can't go up to the boss and tell him no. All I got to do is follow the rules.
(on delay of game penalty)
We didn't go over it in a practice. When I checked it out, we were about to make a good ... at the time, I was trying to reload and check it back. Just ran out of time. You got the 24 second clock. You got to get your things out and things like that. The good thing is coach wanted to save our timeouts. We ended up taking the delay of game instead.
RB CHRIS JOHNSON
(On his 85-yard touchdown run that was called back)
Basically we executed a play that we've been working on in practice, and we had a good chance for it to break if everybody got on their blocks. I had a receiver blocking downfield, and just a run to get us back in the game, help us get momentum.
(On his 85-yard touchdown run getting called back)
When they took it away, it just took everything. It was like a dagger in our heart or whatever, and from then on everything just started going downhill. So I kind of think that took the breath out of us.
(On how difficult Pittsburgh's defense is to run on and if that played into his lack of carries late)
I wouldn't say that, we had a chance every time it was just they ended up getting up and it was late and we couldn't run the ball anymore. It was a time issue, but you give a defense credit.
(On his streak of consecutive 100-yard rushing performances coming to an end)
It came to an end, but the most disappointing thing was not getting the victory today. That is more important than anything. We're 1-1 now so we have to get ready for next week and New York.
(On if he thought Kerry Collins provided the spark Titans Coach Jeff Fisher hoped he would when he put him in the game in relief of Vince Young)
I'm not sure. That's his decision, what he did, whatever he feels like he wants to do, he's the head coach.
(On if he is getting frustrated from the lack of production from running the ball)
Of course it's frustrating from the loss. I can't really say I'm getting frustrated because we can't run the ball, that just means they have a lot in the box and we have to do different things. We have to execute. Its ourselves as a team, we have to get better and execute whatever play call Coach 'Dinger (offensive coordinator Mike Heimerding) calls, we just have to execute it.
(On Pittsburgh returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown)
That hurt, that hurt. They got the ball first and had the long kickoff return, that hurt. I don't think they would have ended up scoring on that first drive if we would have stopped them there, but it's all part of the game.
(On if the mistakes made by the Titans cost them an opportunity to win today's game)
I feel like that's impossible. You have seven turnovers and you have a long run called back. After all that it's pretty much impossible to win a game.
DE DERRICK MORGAN
(on the play of the Titans defense having to go back out after each turnover)
Whenever we're called on we go out there and that's our job to keep them off the scoreboard whatever the circumstance is. So the offense is going to get it back on track for next game and we're just going to play team ball. I thought we did fairly well, with the circumstances we were given. But it doesn't matter if we did well because it's still an "L" at the end of the day. I'm sure we have a lot of corrections to make on defense and we're going to make them and the offense will too. So we're going to be a better football team after this game
LB STEPHEN TULLOCH
*(on the loss) *
We don't write it off. We go in the film room on Monday, watch what happened and see what we have to do to get back to the drawing board. Because we are a better team than we displayed today, and we know that. It's not offense, it's not defense, it's not special teams, but it's all of us as a whole. And we have to find a way to get the job done and make plays.
(on the Titans defensive effort)
We did a good job on defense. We could have done a better job. Our job is to stop them . I think we could have created more turnovers and forced more three-an-outs. We could have given our offense more of a chance. Unfortunately, it didn't happen that way. Pittsburgh came to play today and they did a good job and we came up short. I think we did a good job of staying poised throughout the game, no matter what happened with the turnovers. Our defense went out there and we held and we gave ourselves a chance. And that's all you want is a chance, and somebody has to win. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh won today but we'll still bounce back and get ready for the Giants this week.
CB CORTLAND FINNEGAN
*(on the defensive effort) *
It's a team game. We lost as a team today. We'll look back on film and there's a lot of things we could have done better, both individually and as a team on defense. There's some times where you take chances and make some plays and we left some out today. So the defense, we have to strive to get better. I think it was two good football teams and they won the turnover battle. When you have two good football teams, usually the team with the most turnovers loses. And that was us today, but at the same time as a defense, we have to create more turnovers.