Postgame Takes

Tomlin on the defense, Heyward and more

Need to be better: Coach Mike Tomlin said he was 'appreciative of the efforts' of the players and the way they fought, cutting into a 17-point deficit, but it wasn't enough to defeat the Los Angeles Chargers.

A beat-up defense was missing three starters in linebacker T.J. Watt, cornerback Joe Haden and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, as well as missing defensive lineman Isaiahh Loudermilk, and they weren't able to stop the Chargers enough to secure a win.

"We couldn't get enough stops defensively," said Tomlin. "We couldn't apply pressure with our four-man rush or keep them in the pocket. We weren't good enough in coverage with less than seven.

"We've got to get back to the drawing board and do a better job of putting them in position to be successful with the people that we have at our disposal. And that was challenging tonight, but we make no excuses. It needs to be better. That's how we win the circumstances and get out of these circumstances. Just really appreciate of the efforts of all the people involved."

Giving everything he has: If you look at the stat sheet, you might just gloss over Cameron Heyward's numbers against the Chargers. Two tackles, both solo tackles, and a pass defense.

Those numbers don't come close to telling the story.

One of Heyward's tackles was pure hustle, gut and heart when he tracked down Justin Herbert, going 36 yards down the field to make a tackle at the 11-yard line.

Then after the Steelers pulled to within a touchdown in the fourth quarter, Heyward batted a Justin Herbert pass that Cameron Sutton intercepted. The Steelers scored on the ensuing drive to tie the game, 34-34.

"Cam is Cam," said Tomlin. "He gives everything he's got and that's why we love him and respect him. That's why we elected him captain and that's why he represents us in that way."

Not able to stop him: Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert hurt the defense in multiple ways, completing 30 passes for 382 yards and three touchdowns, but it was his rushing ability that really hurt with nine carries for 90 yards, leading all rushers for both teams.

Tomlin said they weren't surprised that Herbert used his feet so much, but they just couldn't stop him.

"We just weren't effective at keeping him in the pocket," said Tomlin. "We talked Tuesday about his mobility and what a factor it was. It wasn't a surprise to us. We didn't perform well enough against it.

"It was us today. It was about what we did or did not do. No disrespect to him or those guys. They played and played well and won the football game. But that's always our general approach and attitude. We didn't rush well enough. We didn't keep him in the pocket. And we weren't tight enough in coverage."

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