- Flag football: When you look at the numbers, you can easily shudder. Thirteen penalties for 144 yards. Those are numbers that can cost a team a win, but luckily for the Steelers that wasn't the case on Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
Coach Mike Tomlin brought up the penalties after Sunday's 21-18 win at FirstEnergy Stadium, and mentioned them again prominently during his weekly press conference.
"I thought we were highly penalized," said Tomlin. "When you are highly penalized on offense it kills drives, it kills balance, and it reduces the total number of snaps. You can have whatever discussions you want to have regarding our lack of production on offense. The reality is when you are penalized like we were in the game you are going to lose your balance, it's going to put you behind chains, thus you are going to lose some third downs, you are not going to get as many snaps as you would like, and the point total is going to reflect it. It did for us. Thankfully we made enough plays to get it done.
"Just like on offense, the penalties on defense I thought were catastrophic. Often times they were occurring on possession downs, unnecessary roughness and so forth. I appreciate the spirit in which our guys play, the energy with which they play. It's reasonable as professionals to ask those guys to play hard and smart. We need to see that, we need to see that immediately. We will work hard in that area this week."
Timing is everything: While Tomlin was quick to come down hard on the team for the penalties, he also took issue with one that was called.
Not so much that it was called, but when it was called.
In the third quarter William Gay hit Ricardo Louis, and it appeared the official was going to throw a flag. But he didn't. Until it seemed he looked up at the stadium scoreboard, saw the replay, and then the flag came out and Gay was hit with a 15-yard unnecessary roughness call.
Tomlin said he thought the official looked at the scoreboard, and that is what upsets him.
"That is why I was irate," said Tomlin. "I am a big player safety guy. I am on the competition committee. Very rarely are you going to hear arguments from me regarding calls relative to that, provided they are done in real time. I thought they called it off the jumbotron and I won't accept that."
Ryan Shazier was also called for an unnecessary roughness call when he hit a sliding DeShone Kizer. Shazier thought Kizer slid ate. Tomlin disagreed.
"Ryan thought wrong," said Tomlin.
Dynamic duo:** It should come as no surprise. When Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown are on the field, good things happen. And that was the case on Sunday in Cleveland. Roethlisberger connected with Brown 11 times for 184 yards, including some big plays. Brown pulled in a 50-yard reception in the Steelers final drive of the first half, eventually setting up a touchdown toss to Jesse James. And on the Steelers final drive of the game he had a 38-yard reception that helped to seal the win.
"I thought Ben and AB delivered what they are capable of delivering in those moments," said Tomlin. "We were faced with a lot of those moments because we put ourselves in some circumstances, but they were able to get us out of them. Convert third downs, flip the field in some instances. We were able to flip the field with a big play in the four minute offense that preserved a victory for us. We were able to flip the field before halftime with a big play that allowed us to put seven points on the board via those two men working."