Handling adversity: The Steelers had a challenging week, with four players, including Ben Roethlisberger, missing practice Wednesday through Friday after being placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List and not coming off of it until Saturday. In addition, they were forced to hold all meetings virtually while in the NFL's intensive protocol.
Coach Mike Tomlin said he was proud of the way the players responded en route to a 36-10 win over the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field, improving their record to 9-0.
"We're really proud of these guys today, just because it was a challenging week," said Tomlin. "It wasn't a very fluid week for us in terms of dealing with COVID in the manner in which we had to. We had a number of significant guys that weren't allowed to come to work. We were working remotely from a meeting standpoint, didn't have a lot of exposure to our guys. So, there was a lot of anxiety about just feeling good about the prep. It's good to kind of face that and persevere and come and have that type of performance.
"It was something to build from there. We understand the environment that we're in. There could be some of that in the future, and we've just got to be vigilant about, number one, working our tails off to keep ourselves and everyone else safe, but number two, not letting some of the challenges of the pandemic be a factor in terms of the quality of our play. It's something globally that everybody has to deal with, and I like the way the group embraced the challenges of it this week."
No practice, no problem: As mentioned above, Roethlisberger was one of the players who didn't practice all week, except for some work during the team's walkthrough on Saturday. Tomlin had previously said he wasn't concerned about Roethlisberger not seeing the work, and he was spot on.
Roethlisberger finished the day going 27-of-46 for 333 yards, four touchdowns and a rating of 110.1. Without practice.
"Like I said earlier in the week, there was less anxiety in terms of dealing with him in these circumstances maybe than some of the circumstances he and I have been in the past where his health was a factor in terms of availability," said Tomlin. "His health was not a factor, so we had very little reservations about his ability to perform once we got him to the stadium."
He Said It:
On Roethlisberger throwing as much as he did in the game:
"We're a balanced group. We can give it to you however you want it. If you want to pack a bunch on the line of scrimmage, we're going to throw it. You play two high safeties, we're capable of running it. That's what I mean when I say we strive to be a balanced group. We want to be able to move it however we choose, or maybe over commitments and so forth from defenses that dictate it, we're okay with that too."
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 10 game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field
Coach Tomlin's Injury Update:
"So on the injury front, Trey Edmunds wasn't able to finish the game with a hamstring. We had some normal bumps and bruises associated with play. It was good to get Tyson Alualu back, Derek Watt back. We're going to need contributions from those guys down the stretch. We got Avery Williamson some defensive snaps today. So a lot of positivity, a lot of things to build upon as we move forward and get ready for our next test, which is on the road in Jacksonville."