- December to remember: It was a December to remember for the Steelers, who went 4-0 during the month, including wins over AFC North foes Cincinnati and Baltimore. Tomlin said the key was playing what really is traditional December football.
"I think our guys just embraced certain aspects of December ball that will probably be unchanged regardless of how the game of professional football evolves," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "That is we ran the ball effectively and largely we did a nice job of stopping the run. That puts you in position to win possession downs and keep the chains moving and score points on offense. And that puts you in position to win possession downs and create splash on defense. It's important that you continually evolve in those areas over the course of the season. Largely our guys remained steadfast to that plan and we continued to grow in those areas over the course of the season. I think it was revealed and revealed in a big way in December."
Tomlin responds**: Terry Bradshaw, the Steelers' Hall of Fame quarterback and co-host of Fox Sports NFL Sunday, recently had some uncomplimentary things to say about Steelers' Coach Mike Tomlin.
"I don't think he's a great coach at all," said Bradshaw. "To me, I've said this, he's really a great cheerleader guy. I don't know what he does. I don't think he is a great coach at all."
Tomlin's players have spoken out defending their coach since the comments were made, and during his press conference he was asked about the support from them.
"I appreciate the support, but criticism and critique are very much a part of our business and an element of our business as a competitor I embrace," said Tomlin. "The term 'great' is something I have a great deal of respect for. I certainly don't think my resume to this point reads as great. Very few coaches resume's read as that at this point. Guys like Bill (Belichick) in New England can say that or (Gregg) Popovich down in San Antonio, but the rest of us are just working stiffs to be quite honest with you.
"Now that being said, terms like 'cheerleader guy' to me maybe fall outside the bounds of critique or criticism. They probably fall more towards the area of disrespect and unprofessional."
Opportunity knocked: The Steelers have been a team always willing to give undrafted free agents a shot, and that has paid off with the emergence of receiver Eli Rogers. Rogers was signed as an undrafted rookie free agent in May, 2015, and spent last season on injured reserve. This year, though, he has shown why the Steelers liked him out of Louisville as he is the team's third leading receiver with 42 catches for 533 yards and three touchdowns.
"He was one of those guys who distinguished himself in college as a guy that was capable of winning in tight spaces and playing in the slot," said Tomlin. "Also had a kick return background. As many as those guys that you can gather and give an opportunity to show what they are capable of, we generally do."