Steelers' players spent Monday watching film of their 16-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans, a loss Coach Mike Tomlin referred to as an "unacceptable performance." And the film didn't lie.
Linebacker Lawrence Timmons said it's impossible to point to just one thing, although it might make things easier if he could. The defense spent a lot of time on the field, holding Titans running back Chris Johnson to only 70 yards on 25 carries. And quarterback Jake Locker completed just 11 passes for 125 yards.
Missing from the equation, though, was turnovers. The talk all preseason was about creating more turnovers, and while they came close a few times, close doesn't count.
"As a whole we just have to get better making plays, get off the field, cause some turnovers, and help the offense out," said linebacker Lawrence Timmons. "That is our job as a defense. That is why we are here today, to look at our mistakes, miscues and learn from them."
Timmons said everyone was brutally honest in the team and position meetings, especially Tomlin, and that's a good sign as stepping up and being accountable is the only way to move forward.
"I hold myself accountable like anybody else on this team," said Timmons. "If we keep that up we will be fine. We are a team and we will get through this together. We believe in each other as a team. We care about each other and we are the only ones who will bring each other up when a loss like that happens."
Receiver Jerricho Cotchery echoed Timmons' sentiment about accountability. And on offense, there is a need for it. The running game managed just 32 yards, and they got only 191 yards in the air.
"Every man has to look in the mirror and make sure he is taking care of his business in order to help the unit function the way it's supposed to," said Cotchery. "When we watch film, we can see that. It's just about correcting those mistakes and moving forward from there.
"As a team, we just need to execute better. Offensively, we need to execute better. It's about making plays. It's always been about making plays. Whenever you are able to make plays, you are able to create momentum. We weren't able to do that yesterday. That's the reason we had so many three-and-outs and weren't moving the ball like we were supposed to."
With linebacker Larry Foote on injured reserve expect Timmons to become the defensive signal caller on the field and wear the helmet with the headset in it.
Timmons only experience calling the signals was when Foote left the game on Sunday, but said he is comfortable with the responsibility.
"I made the calls when he got injured, so I guess we will stick with that this week," said Timmons. "We'll see. I'm comfortable with it."
Losing Foote won't just leave the Steelers without an experienced signal caller, but also leave an overall hole on defense.
"He meant a lot to us," said Timmons. "He is very inspirational, a vocal leader. He always makes it fun, keeps us in good spirits. It's truly a big loss for us."
Linebacker Kion Wilson, a strong special teams player, is likely to see a lot more action with Foote out.
"He was with us through camp," said Timmons of Wilson. "Coach (Dick) LeBeau is going to do a good job of prepping him for the game. Coach LeBeau has been doing it for a while. We'll have a defense where whoever fills in will be able to run the defense."