Time is ticking: Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger used a timeout against the Raiders with 1:43 to play in the game after he thought a horse-collar penalty was going to be called following a seven-yard run by Le'Veon Bell. The game clock was stopped at the time because Bell had gone out of bounds, but when Roethlisberger realized the play clock was still running he used the valuable timeout rather than take a delay of game penalty at the Raiders 12-yard line, down 21-10. The Steelers eventually scored and pulled within a field goal at 21-18.
Using the timeout left the Steelers with only two, and after a failed onside kick attempt the Raiders were able to run the clock down to just 18 seconds because the Steelers were only able to stop the clock twice.
Roethlisberger said he wasn't sure which option was best, so he went with the timeout over the penalty.
"We didn't do a great job of handling those circumstances," said Tomlin. "We would have preferred to have all three timeouts after that score. It may have changed how we would've kicked the ball off and so forth. But that's in our rear view. Hopefully, we learn from that as we move forward. Under the circumstances, we wish it would've unfolded differently."
Tomlin and Ben talk: Tomlin and Roethlisberger met on Monday with the topic of how to use the timeout vs. taking a penalty one of the topics of conversation. But the meeting was nothing out of the ordinary.
"Ben and I meet every Monday to review situations and circumstances such as that because that's the only way that a quarterback and a coach get on the same page and grow and have a sense or an understanding of the way you play situations," said Tomlin. "We met on Monday, we talked about that particular situation or circumstance, but it's not different than any other Monday. We always meet on Monday and talk about situations that may unfold or may have unfolded in football games."
Not so special: Special teams was a hot topic on Tuesday after punter Zoltan Mesko had a punt blocked against the Raiders and kicker Shaun Suisham missed two field goals that he normally makes with ease. Tomlin said Mesko continues to be up and down, but did say he performed better in the second half against Oakland.
"The punting has been very similar to how it's been the previous weeks and really how I kind of characterize it, he's had his moments, positively and negatively," said Tomlin. "He's been inconsistent and that's not good enough. He needs to perform better.
"But along with the obvious negativity in the game, I thought he rebounded well and really finished the game strong with some quality punts, particularly a couple that were downed, one was downed inside the one or two-yard line. It was a leg-up in the waning moments of the game as we tried to work our way back into it."
At the same time, Tomlin didn't rule out looking outside for help at punter or any other position for that matter.
"I'm not opposed to evaluating anyone at any position that's capable of helping us get better and those are some of the things that we do this time of the week," said Tomlin. "We're probably going to do some of that this week."
As far as Suisham, who missed from 32 and 34 yards, Tomlin said he isn't worried about his kicker.
"I've got a great deal of confidence in Shaun," said Tomlin. "Shaun has been a quality guy for us. We expect him to bounce back."
Slow start: The Steelers slow start against the Raiders, a 14-0 deficit in the first quarter, is something everyone has to take responsibility for, including the coaching staff.
"We've got to do all the things within our power to put them in a good strategic situation to have success, and particularly early," said Tomlin. "It's important to start games off with rhythm to get some things started, to look at some things, to look at some personnel matchups, to really start the game off on good footing. We didn't do that.
"The starts of games don't determine the outcomes of games. We need to keep that in mind as we prepare. I don't want to get lulled into a sense of comfort if we should go up to New England and come out and have a successful start. We've got to play football for 60 minutes and winning football."
Sunday wasn't the first time the Steelers got off to a slow start this season, struggling early against the Minnesota Vikings in London when they went down 10-0 in the first quarter. There hasn't been a clear factor as to what has attributed to the slow starts, but Tomlin said he will investigate all areas to correct it. That might even mean looking at the team's travel schedule. The Steelers have not done well outside of the Eastern Time Zone, losing eight straight games when they head out on long road trips.
"I am aware that we haven't performed well outside our time zone, or just in general on the road," said Tomlin. "That's a function of being a good team. It's our desire to be a good team, to win regardless of circumstance. Game location being one of them, and we have to change that."
Jones listed second: Rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones is now listed second on the depth chart at right outside linebacker, after earning the starting spot following week one of the season. Jason Worilds, who opened the season as the starter, is back to number one on the depth chart. Worilds got the start against the Raiders last Sunday, while Jones saw limited action.
"He's got to play better from an assignment standpoint," said Tomlin. "If he's capable of showing that, he'll be given an opportunity to contribute now. I think that's where our mentality is and where it should be at this juncture.
"He's just not doing enough detailed work right now, and Jason Worilds is. That's just the reality of it. Part of playing really good defense and playing really good football period is having detail with your work. Jarvis needs to continue to work. I think he's open to that and we're open to giving him an opportunity to do so."