49ers head coach Jim TomsulaOpening Statement: **
First off, injuries. Vance McDonald had a knee. We'll have to check on that tomorrow. Carlos Hyde was evaluated for head injury. He was cleared, but I opted not to put him back in. That was me. Hat's off to the Pittsburgh Steelers' coaching staff, players and the organization. They played a heck of a football game today. They got after our tails.
Re: The defensive breakdown in the second half:
We obviously don't need to be letting people throw things over our head.
Do you think your team fought back or were you disappointed?
I thought that they fought through the game. I believe that. Offensively, I thought we really kept fighting back and not blinking. We didn't get it done. That's the bottom line. There are no excuses. I did think the guys kept fighting through.
Did you think they kept fighting offensively?
Yes. I think they did. I think they kept fighting. They were trying to find it. We ran into some problems there with that particular long guy. We've got to be able to crack those things and get those corrections moving faster.
Generally what was going wrong to cause those delay of game penalties?
All three of them were different situations. One was a personnel group. The other one was the wording of the play call. We didn't hear it right. Quite frankly, one was a good thing because Kaepernick couldn't make the look. He knew we were at a critical point right there. We didn't want to squander that one.
Re: Changes in running back personnel after Hyde went out?
No. We were going to play all three of them. Obviously we had a couple of scores on us there. The running game needed to get turned down a little bit.
Re: Lack of stops defensively on third-down:
Yes. It was a combination. They made plays on that third-down and we didn't. There were a couple there where we had guys on a guy. I might have to rethink a little bit of that. There were also some things where we should have had a combination on that.
Were you in the moment during your first NFL loss or looking ahead?
No. During a game I stay in the moment, personally. During halftime my whole point is put your head down. Don't look up. Just keep grinding. Don't keep looking at the scoreboard. Just keep playing the next play. That's when you talk about them finishing and going, I felt like they did that. Our team did that. Our coaches did that. We are a football team. I said it last week. I'll say it again this week. We've got a lot of work to do. We've got to continue to get it going. We've got to keep going. It's a 16-game season. We're not going to overreact when we win. We're not going to overreact when there is a loss.
Did you think the Steelers were more physical than you were today?
I'm not willing to say that. I think the Steelers made more big plays. They made big plays that we didn't make. When their guy was throwing the ball to their receiver, we needed to make that play and we didn't. They did a nice thing there where they were maxing up and getting the ball down the field. That one they let Ben get out of the pocket. It's no secret. They do a wonderful job of creating. That's what happened. You can't give up the big plays.
Re: Pass rush or coverage on the back end being a bigger disappointment:
It's a combination. It was a nice plan by the Steelers, too. There were max protections. They were maxing up and getting that thing down the field. Our response didn't match what they did. We've got to do a better job. That was what happened.
Was Michael Wilhoite supposed to be covering Markus Wheaton on the long play?**
That's the play Ben got outside and created. That shouldn't be happening. Maybe when you get the cover-two there and add the safeties, then that play gets long. That's where Ben does a good job.
Re: Brown playing well:
Antonio Brown is a terrific player. I said that at the beginning of the week. I knew that coming in. We have a ton of respect for him and the Steelers. We've said that all along. We've got to play better in those areas.
QB Colin KaepernickRe: On the locker room after the game:
We have to move on to the next game. We didn't play our best football today and it showed. There were times where we had opportunities to make plays and we didn't.
Re: On the goal-to-go situation after Pittsburgh's two-point conversion:
You can't settle for field goals in that situation. Obviously, with the offense the Steelers have, we have to match the touchdowns – and we didn't do that today.
Re: On the delay penalties:
It was confusion. We were just having a problem with our coach-to-quarterback (as far as the clarity). So we were a little bit slower out of the huddle and didn't have as much time on the line.
Re: On how he views his team after a win and a loss:
We are more of a team in game one. Today we didn't play our best football, and I think everyone knows that. We have to regroup and get ready for Arizona next week.
Re: On the attention Carlos Hyde got every time he got the ball:
As a defensive coordinator, you're going to notice if someone runs like we did last week and you have to address that. They did. We got to our passing game. We just got to it a little too late.
Re: On the short passes early on:
You have to be able to take what the defense is giving you. There were times where they were playing deep on most of the plays and we were not going to be able to throw the ball over their head or down the field. That limits you to shorter, underneath passes.
Re: On the fumble with Carlos Hyde:
It's something that we're going to have to clean up this week. We can't have those mistakes.
Re: On if he found comfort in the loss because they moved the ball better in the second half:
There are things in this game that we can take away as positive. But, we don't play for moral victories. It's something that we have to look at this week and move on.
Game action from the Pittsburgh Steelers' home opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Heinz Field.
LB NaVorro BowmanRe: On his reaction to the defense giving up as many points as it did:**
You're comparing this team to what we had in the past. We had probably eight or nine vets on our defense. We just need to respond. This is the NFL. We took losses before but it's all about how you respond. We're taking a loss like this and we're a young team. That'll be the great challenge for us. We have an important game coming up for us in Arizona. It's my job, and the veterans' job, to get the young guys ready and prepared so we can move on from this.
Re: On his emotions after the loss:
I don't know. It's a few things – I'll take it. I'll take this loss. I'd rather [lose] now early in the season than later on down the road. We have a chance to bounce back from this and I'm excited about that.
Re: On how he played today:
I made the plays that I could. They threw the ball over my head several times and I can't do anything about that. I got the right calls made and I did my job.
Re: On what today's lesson is from the loss:
Everyone is good. That's the lesson, knowing that you have to come to play every single week and that the success and celebration is over right after the game. You focus on your next opponent. I think we're going to do that this week.
Re: On how they responded in the second half:
I think we played hard. I think we kept playing and did what we could. The ball just wasn't rolling for us today. It's early and we have a long road ahead of us.
Re: As a veteran, is it upsetting to see [Antonio Brown] continuously get the ball play after play:
No. I, and the coaches, know what type of player he is. We knew they were still going to throw the ball to him even if he was double-covered.
S Antoine BetheaRe: Win last week loss this week and your outlook on the team:
That's not it, one quick win and one horrible loss. The good thing about it is we have a game next week. We can come out next week and do what we do. It's only our second game. We have fourteen after this. We do have to go in there and correct the things we did wrong and come out and play better next week.
Easy to blame short week and a cross country trip?
No excuse, no excuse. Everyone has short weeks in the NFL, and everyone has to deal with that. It is no excuse, we just have to play better.
Hard to accept this loss?
A loss is a loss, and a win is a win. Obviously we did not play the way we wanted to play. The good thing about it is we have a game next week, and we can come out and get better, and we can improve. It's a long season. We always talk about after a win you cannot get too high and after a loss you cannot get too low.
RB Carlos HydeWhat happened to you in the game?**
I had a concussion evaluation. Everything is good I got cleared to come back and play, but Coach told me I was not going to come back in.
You felt something in your head?
I got hit on the crown of my helmet, so I was dizzy when I got up. I felt better when I got to the sideline. The concussion test I passed that and I was ready to go but they decided to pull me.
Did the defense do anything in particular to stop you?
Probably, coming off that Monday night game. Ryan (Shazier) actually told me we are going to lock onto you. We will have a good practice this week and we will be alright.
CB Kenneth AckerWere you surprised by the final score?
I was definitely surprised by the final score, anytime we lose I am going to be surprised by the final score. It was a learning experience for myself personally. I'm ready to move on to the next week.
What did you learn about Antonio Brown?
He's a quick receiver. It was my first time playing against him. It was quality work out there, and I felt like I won some battles and lost some battles, so I learned. That is the best thing about it.