Details, details: One of the main areas Coach Mike Tomlin pointed to that led to Sunday's loss to the Raiders was not playing with enough detail, in particular on possession downs.
"A lot of that had to do with our inability to make plays in spots when attrition set in," said Tomlin. "But that's the nature of this thing. So, put that on me. We've got to do a better job of planning and insulating some of our down the line guys. We've got to get them ready to play better, because it was obvious in those weighty moments, particularly in the second half possession downs and things of that nature. We didn't play with enough detail. We didn't adjust well enough. When it's close it's going to come down to those weighty downs, those possession downs."
One play in particular Tomlin pointed was the 61-yard touchdown pass Henry Ruggs on third-and-10 in the fourth quarter, which extended the Raiders lead to 23-14, right after the Steelers had pulled to within two.
"I thought the deep ball on third down that they hit Ruggs for the score was a significant play in the game," said Tomlin. "But there were several possession down like plays that we didn't perform well enough, particularly over the second half of the game that I thought created the outcome and the reason why we're sitting here at 1-1.
"We've got to keep a lid on it. Always. There always needs to be a lid on it. Regardless of what the structure, call, situation or circumstance, we can't have people running behind our defense."
Costly penalties: The Steelers were penalized five times for 43 yards, but it wasn't just about the number, it was about how costly those penalties were.
"In terms of how the game unfolded, I thought it was just two real critical areas that that we did not perform up to snuff in," said Tomlin. "I thought from a penalty standpoint we hurt ourselves positionally and so forth. We didn't play smart enough from a penalty standpoint. That can't be a characteristic of our ball. Part of being a tough team to beat is not beating ourselves. I thought we beat ourselves in the areas of penalty today."
Walking wounded: The Steelers went into Sunday's game already hurting on defense with linebacker Devin Bush and cornerback Joe Haden inactive because of injuries during the week, and it didn't help when nose tackle Tyson Alualu and linebacker T.J. Watt went out in the first half.
"We had two guys that got injured in Friday's practice, Devin Bush and Joe Haden, both soft tissue injuries," said Tomlin. "I don't know their status. I know they weren't available today. We were focused on the guys that were.
"In game Tyson Alualu had an ankle fracture that'll be down for an extended period of time. T.J. Watt had a groin injury that he wasn't able to to continue. Last play of the game Diontae (Johnson) hurt his knee and is being evaluated. Other bumps and bruises just associated with play.
"Such is life in the NFL. We'll absorb this and make corrections and grow from it. More than anything we've got to grow. Win or lose, we've got to grow. We've got too many young people, new people, in significant roles and they just have to grow in terms of understanding those roles, the details required to win, the skills relative to their position to execute in those critical moments. Back to work for us."