Coach Mike Tomlin said going into Monday night's game against the New York Giants he was going to have the normal jitters, excitement that every game brings, especially the first game of the season. It's something normal for him, and those jitters didn't end until there was no time on the clock and the team walked away with a 26-16 win.
"When the games was over for me," said Tomlin of when the jitters ended. "For me, it's not over until it's over."
Considering the offseason the team had, with the no real offseason, no preseason, getting on the field and playing was a blessing in itself.
"Just in general about the game we are thankful first of all to have an opportunity to play," said Tomlin. "We don't take it for granted in this environment we are in. It was an honor to be in here tonight and perform and to perform for Steelers Nation on Monday Night Football. We were excited about that regardless of the game atmosphere. I thought our guys brought energy.
"I thought we could have played better. There was some sloppiness. That is reflective of where we are. And probably a lot of us at this stage, first time in a stadium."
Tomlin referenced a dropped punt by Diontae Johnson early in the game, a penalty on third and long that extended a drive and Chris Boswell's kickoff out of bounds.
"All of those are reasonable to expect us to get better and get better in a hurry. We better," said Tomlin. "We have a short week and we have the Denver Broncos coming in. It's good to work on things with a 'W.' We're appreciative of that. We're appreciative of the effort.
"It's awesome to have our quarterback back and see him do the things he does and in the manner in which he does them.
"I thought they showed their mettle. I thought they were physically tough, mentally tough. We've got to do some things better. We knew we weren't going to be perfect tonight. We talked about that openly last night in preparation for this opportunity. There is more meat on the bones. I appreciate their efforts. We just have to search for a higher ceiling in terms of quality of play."
One of the things the Steelers knew they had to focus on against the Giants was containing Saquon Barkley. Not only did they contain him, but they flat out stopped him. Barkley finished the game with only six yards on 15 carries.
"We had a commitment," said Tomlin. "We weren't going to be bashful about that commitment. We thought that guy was a catalyst for whatever they were going to do offensively. We put our secondary in harms way some to do so. But we embrace that challenge. We needed to stack the line of scrimmage. We needed to bring people like Mike Hilton and so forth and we did. We did what we thought was necessary to minimize his impact on the game."
Coach Tomlin on injuries: "We had a number of guys that got injured in the game and are being evaluated. Zach Banner went down with a knee late. (Stefen) Wisniewski had a pec, James Conner had an ankle. Don't know the status of all of those guys. Obviously, we are working on a short week, so we better be ready to close ranks."
Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 1 game against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium