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Postgame Takes

Tomlin on the players 'mental fortitude'

Delivering at the right time: The Steelers had one job on Sunday, and they delivered.

Going into the Steelers-Ravens game, in order to stay alive in the playoff hunt first and foremost they had to defeat the Baltimore Ravens.

It might have taken until overtime, but they pulled out a 16-13 win at M&T Bank Stadium.

"That's Steelers-Ravens right there," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "I just can't say enough about the men in that locker room and their collective will. It was on display. It was on display throughout. Hostile environment today.

"Obviously, dire circumstances and so forth. A lot of competition in the stadium. Distractions potentially outside the stadium. They were able to process all of that and make the necessary plays to secure victory. I am just appreciative of that."

The Steelers won three of their last four games to stay alive, pulling out the most important win of the season to date in Baltimore.

"That's been our story all year," said Tomlin. "You guys buried us when we were 1-3. We got a lot of warts. But we're here and that's been our position since September. I'm just appreciative of that mental fortitude being displayed by those men in that locker room."

Young guys step up: It wasn't one player.

It wasn't one play.

It was everyone who came together against the Ravens to pull out the victory, in particular some young players who Tomlin called out after the game.

While he was frustrated with some of the plays they made, including tight end Pat Freiermuth coming up a yard short on third-and-four in regulation, forcing a punt, he loved they way he and others bounced back.

"Najee (Harris) sustained an elbow injury, was able to get himself back into the game and make significant plays for us," said Tomlin. "Pat had an opportunity to get a first down and he came up a little bit short in terms of lacking a little awareness there and we had to punt the ball. He came back and made a significant play. Ray-Ray (McCloud) had an opportunity to secure field goal position for us in overtime and he didn't. He came back and made a play.

"That growth and development of these young guys throughout this journey and the negativity that's usually associated with growth and development did not take away from their efforts. They smiled in the face of it and I'm just appreciative of that.

"It's all of them. I took a moment to identify some, but we got a lot of young guys out there making significant contributions and plays. It hasn't always been pretty or perfect. Just can't say enough about the efforts of these men."

Counting on the vets: While young players made huge contributions, it was a couple of veterans who came through big-time, including quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and linebacker T.J. Watt.

Roethlisberger led the Steelers on a game-winning drive in overtime, while Watt tied the NFL’s all-time single-season sack record, with 22.5.

"I'm appreciative of our quarterback, QB1," said Tomlin. "He been smiling in the face of adversity for 18 years. Even though it's not surprising, it's still appreciated.

"When you ask me about T.J. and Ben, you guys know the answers to that. They are who they are and we're very appreciative. We don't take it for granted. We recognize that it is unique, but we've been looking at it for some time. So, we expect it, but it's still appreciated. Their efforts, their talents, their will, their competitive spirit, are the things that make them who they are that produces the statistics or the performances that we all enjoy."

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