- Confidence not lacking:* *After a disappointing 31-10 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Sunday, the question arose during Coach Mike Tomlin's press conference if he thinks the team's confidence is shaken as they head into this week's game against the Houston Texans. Tomlin said he doesn't feel that is the case, but the players need to prove that through their work, which he is happy will include an extra day of prep courtesy of Monday Night Football this week.
"I don't feel like it's shaken, but our play will speak larger than words in that regard," said Tomlin. "Confidence has a lot to do with preparation and not only preparation, but good preparation. The only recipe I know for combating that and negative or undesirable play is to roll your sleeves up and go to work and we look forward to doing that (Wednesday) with the guys as we start the preparation.
"I think anger and frustration is more appropriate than lacking confidence. Those feelings of emotion are only good if you utilize them in a positive way. We should be angry. We have nobody to be angry at but ourselves and hopefully we use that in a positive way."
- It's about the wins:* *Ben Roethlisberger didn't have a Ben Roethlisberger type of day against the Browns, completing 21 of 42 passes for 228 yards, one interception and a touchdown for a 64.4 passer rating. After the game Roethlisberger said, "I didn't play well enough," but Tomlin said evaluating Roethlisberger's performance id done differently than other players.
"I thought he played well at times. I thought he left some plays out there," said Tomlin. "Ben will always be searching for the perfect performance. It's Ben's job to be what we need him to be. We didn't win the football game so he wasn't satisfied with his performance and neither was I.
"We don't spend a lot of time evaluating Ben's performance in terms of some of the things we look at when we look at other people's performance. It's his job to win. That is what drives him, that's what drives this position at this level in this game and we didn't."
- An aggressive approach: Kick returner Dri Archer didn't give the Steelers the field position they hoped for against the Browns, returning three kicks from inside the end zone and not getting to the 20-yard line on any of them. Tomlin said the aggressive approach of trying to make something happen is welcomed, but added that Archer has to be sure he catches the ball "square and moving forwards" when taking it out.
"I don't mind being aggressive, particularly in a situation where we are behind," said Tomlin. "We needed some splash. Dri is a talented guy that is capable of producing that splash. We are not going to live in our fears. We'll be aggressive. We're going to make people defend the field from a kickoff coverage standpoint, particularly a team like Cleveland that has a talented kicker like (Billy) Cundiff. They hadn't covered a lot of kicks. You need to make them cover kicks. They did a nice job answering that challenge. We challenged them and they responded to the challenge. We intended to be aggressive because we thought we had an opportunity there, but they did a nice job." 4.
Not in sync:* *Roethlisberger and wide receiver Markus Wheaton didn't appear to be on the same page against the Browns. Wheaton drew one-on-one coverage for the majority of the game with Antonio Brown being double-covered by Joe Haden and others, but it only resulted in four completions for 33 yards for Wheaton despite being thrown to 11 times.
Check out the highlight photos from the Steelers vs Browns game.
"He's got to do a better job," said Tomlin of Wheaton. "When you are playing Cleveland and they are defending Antonio in the way they are defending Antonio with multiple people, it usually creates opportunities for the other guy, whoever the other guy is. Markus had a big game in the opener and we won the opener. He made a lot of significant plays, he was targeted some. It was a similar structure in this football game. He didn't make as many plays.
"Often times you want to make it complex and a lot of it is. Sometimes when it's just one-on-one football it's about who is making plays and who's not. We made plays in the opener particularly offensively, Markus Wheaton being one of the central guys in that area. We didn't make situational plays last Sunday and that is why we lost."