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Postgame Takes

Tomlin on turnovers, Haden and effort

Difference maker: Defensive players have said it time and time again. Turnovers come in waves.

And that was the case against the Titans on Sunday.

The Steelers created four turnovers, and that turned out to be one of the biggest statistics of the day.

"The turnovers leveled the playing field in the second half and provided the short fields for us," said Tomlin. "And that was the catalyst for us to go ahead and secure victory."

Yes, the defense allowed 201 yards rushing, something that Cameron Heyward said will eat at him. But those four turnovers were a major key.

"Field positioning in a game like that is real," said Tomlin. "They won the battle of field position in the first half, primarily because of our punt team, the ineffectiveness of our punt team.

"We won it in the second half because of the turnover game and really, it's probably the difference in the game. So, the turnover game was significant."

No ordinary Joe: Cornerback Joe Haden returned to the lineup against the Titans after missing the previous four games with a foot injury.

And he made his presence known, especially at the most critical time.

The Titans were faced with fourth-and-seven from the Steelers 16-yard line with 46 ticks on the clock and down by six.

Ryan Tannehill completed a pass to Nick Westbrook, and despite the initial spot of the ball going as a first down, Haden made a monster stop to hold him to a six-yard gain and force them to turn the ball over on downs and secure the win.

"It's not just his playmaking," said Tomlin of Haden's impact on his return to the field. "It's the presence that he brings. He's got leadership skills. He's got great experience. He smiles in the face of adversity. That's contagious.

"There were some tangible and intangible qualities to his presence today."

Ready to move forward: The win over the Titans was far from perfect. Tomlin pointed out losing the battle of field position due to the punting game ineffectiveness and also not being able to convert on possession downs.

But despite all of that, they were able to hold the Titans scoreless in the second half, after going into halftime down 13-3.

"Appreciative of all the efforts," said Tomlin. "I like the way the guys collectively smiled in the face of adversity. We'll be thankful for this win. That's a really good football team we played and were able to beat today. Hopefully there's some growth associated with conquering challenges like that."

It's growth that will be needed. The Steelers have three games remaining, all AFC contests including the Kansas City Chiefs, Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.

"We're going to need it, obviously, as we go on the road next week," said Tomlin of the upcoming game against the Chiefs. "But we're appreciative of this win today. We're going to savor it. We don't take any of it for granted. It is the National Football League. We'll be ready next week."

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