Postgame Takes

Tomlin: 'It's good to be at this point'

The Steelers rallied from a 24-7 deficit against the Indianapolis Colts to become AFC North champs for the first time since 2017 with a 28-24 win on Sunday at Heinz Field.

Coach Mike Tomlin gave credit to everyone in the locker room following the game, knowing it took a true team effort to pull out the win.

"It took everyone today," said Tomlin. "Just loved the fight of the group. Was very necessary. Victory is sweet. It's been a month or so for us, so we've been through some adversity. But just growth in the midst of that.

"Hopefully these negative experiences can galvanize us and strengthen us as we move forward. We got some big battles that lie ahead, man.

"But today we're humbled and honored to be AFC North champs. When we started this journey on July 20th, that was the initial goal, then we go from there. It's good to be at this point, good to push forward.

"Can't say enough about the guys. We're far from perfect. Our warts are well-documented. I'm sure you guys continue to chop those up. We'll continue to work on them in an effort to get better and increase our chances of winning every time out."

Tomlin acknowledged there were missed opportunities in the first half leading to the deficit, and said they took the field in the second half knowing they had to make those plays.

"We missed on some opportunities in the first half," said Tomlin. "It's a fine line between drinking wine and squashing grapes as we say in this business. Sometimes it's very subtle.

"We didn't change drastically in terms of our approach, in terms of what we were doing. We just acknowledged that we had some opportunities we didn't make, and we needed to make more plays in the second half in all three phases. That's the mentality we took the field with."

Ben Roethlisberger completed 11 of 20 passes for 98 yards in the first half, then finished the game completing 34 of 49 passes for 342 yards and three touchdowns.

"I've been watching Ben like you guys have for 17 years," said Tomlin. "A half of play is not going to define him. He's a competitor. As long as there's time on the clock, he's going to keep coming at you."

Staying healthy: There was more good news on Sunday. The Steelers got out of the game without injuries, something that hasn't been the case the last few weeks.

"Not a lot to speak about from an injury standpoint, thankfully," said Tomlin. "We've struggled with that in recent weeks. Hopefully we start to get some of these guys back. It was good to get James Conner back today, for example."

Conner's numbers weren't huge, with five carries for 20 yards, but he did have a one-yard touchdown run in the first half and added five catches for 45 yards, including some big plays in crunch time.

"He brought an energy and an intensity and a demeanor that was contagious," said Tomlin. "But he always brings that. That's consistent with who he is. He just hasn't been very available of late."

To rest or not to rest: With the division wrapped up, Tomlin was asked if he would rest some players next week against the Cleveland Browns. He said that decision wasn't one to make now.

"We'll ponder those possibilities in the morning," said Tomlin. "Tonight, we're going to wear our hats and T-shirts."

Advertising