Head coach Mike TomlinOpening Statement: **It's great to get the home win in the opener and a necessary win coming off of a subpar performance a week ago. That's what we talked about last night. If you're going to be competitive in this league, you have to bounce back from negative performances and you have to perform at home. We did both today. We appreciate the efforts of everyone. No major injuries to speak of, just some bumps and bruises along the way. A lot of effort in all three phases. We appreciated that work. On defense, we played better situational football, especially when the field got short. We were competitive and we were better finishers on offense when the field got short. This was a necessary response from some known weaknesses a week ago. We're probably not as bad as we were a week ago and we probably aren't as good as we were today. We won't spend a lot of time evaluating it. We will move on to next week's challenge.
Re: On the defense's overall performance:
It was appropriate. We didn't do as well as we would have liked a week ago and we responded accordingly. We met this week's challenges. We weren't perfect. We gave up some big plays, particularly in the second half, but we will take the win.
Relative to your expectations, how would you describe the improvement?
I'm not going to paint with a broad brush based on this performance, just like I didn't a week ago. The truth is probably somewhere in between. We are going to keep working. We need to be better next week than we were this week.
Re: On Shazier's impact today:
He's going to have an impact in whatever stadium he's in. He's that kind of player. He's sharp and has gained experience. We expect his arrow to be pointed up week in and week out. He brings that approach, so I'm not surprised when he plays well.
Do you expect performances like the offense had today?
I expect us to win downs in situations and we did. We did what we were capable of, and we were right. It's our goal to be right. We were in a lot of instances today.
What caused you to go with DeAngelo Williams on the goal line this week?
We decided to ride DeAngelo in all situations. We knew more about his level of conditioning over the period of an entire game this week than we did last week. He stood up pretty good over the course of a long haul a week ago. We have that experience with him now, so we are comfortable to let him be a featured guy in all circumstances this week. We will see what we do next week.
How will you balance that load when Le'Veon Bell comes back?
We will see what we do next week.
QB Ben RoethlisbegerHow pleased are you to bounce back today?**
It was good for us. There was a lot of good defense. They showed a lot of great looks which was anticipated and expected. I give them a lot of credit. They saw it, they communicated, they talked about it and they picked it up.
Is this what you expect the offense to look like?
I hope so. Things clicked today. We did some really good things, threw the ball, ran the ball and scored in the red zone. Mostly disappointed about coming out in the second half and we had two screens that we felt could have been big plays, but weren't. We had to punt and then we had the ball backed up. To me, it's frustrating because when we have a punt, we would rather just keep going and give our defense a break. We want to possess the ball and work the ball down the field. I was calling almost every single play and we were moving so fast and that's credit to our guys and the conditioning. We didn't possess the ball very long tonight, but we put up the points.
How difficult are you guys to defend for defenses now that you've got Le'Veon Bell back; just another weapon?
It's great. I think DeAngelo has done an awesome job. I don't think that it means that he will stop being on the field. It is always good when you get guys back. We'll get 26 back this week and 10 a couple weeks after that.
How did you feel about the way that you spread the offense around? Everybody seemed to be involved.
That's my favorite part about it. You include everybody. I wish that everybody could get touchdowns. I wish that everybody could catch for 100 yards, which is hard to do, but you try to include everybody. It's not necessarily something I'm always trying to do, but you're calling plays because you see guys and see things and guys have to be ready when their numbers are called. And that's why I'm proud because everyone was ready when their number was called.
It seems like you used the run to be strategic almost to set up the pass.
Most definitely. They were giving us a lot of different looks, bringing their safeties down and we were throwing balls and we thought, let's not overthink ourselves. Let's just call a play and live with it. Call a safe play, you've got different options and just live with it. Make them adjust to us. We do that a couple times a game Where we thought we were getting them off balance, but we just got to the line as quick as we could. To me, that's the balance that we need to have.
How much confidence do you have with Heyward-Bay right now?
Tons. I'm not shying away from that play where he scored a touchdown. We were on the sideline. We were talking, myself, Coach Haley, Bruce and Mike, and Landry, all of us just talking about what play we want. And Coach Haley suggested a play and I said that I liked it, but there was something else. I feel like there is another play that we have and we started talking and I told him let's run the play that we ran. Knowing that it was probably going to be Heyward-Bay down the middle of the field, I guess my long answer to you is that I never would have thought of that play if I didn't have confidence in him, that he would make that play. So we split the safeties and ran and he made that catch. It wasn't an easy catch.
If there is a penalty on the extra point, have you talked about going for it every time if the ball is moved up to the line?
I don't know that answer. That is probably one for Coach Tomlin, but when it happened, I assumed as much that I was trying to talk him into it anyway, so we were pretty successful on two-point conversions. I'm eager, we put so much time and effort into those plays and if you're going to be successful doing them, why not do it? It's nothing against Scobee, we believe that he's going to make everyone. This has nothing to do with him, we have that much confidence in ourselves. We do it every single day.
Game action from the Pittsburgh Steelers' home opener against the San Francisco 49ers at Heinz Field.
Re: Red zone:**
We got down there and it was just as much of us changing the plays. Give Coach Haley the credit. We got down there, he was saying huddle up and calling plays and he trusts the preparation that we put in and the communication that we have. He just let us keep going. Today, we kept it spread out and ran the ball.
Re: Good chemistry between you and Antonio Brown:
He's awesome. I don't know what else to say. He works his butt off. His off the field work, the practice work, the film room, everything he does just shows up every single week. This week was even more impressive. He's taking more steps to be even better. This was probably his best week of practice he has had in any year.
Re: Health Miller touchdown:
I'm not going to tell you any trade secrets on that play. He's one of many options. Going back to the previous question, when you hurry up and spread them out, you can have multiple options. That was just one of the options, so you don't have to worry about checking and making a bunch of adjustments.
Re: Hurry up and spread offense:
Any of the up-tempo stuff we were doing, you can see defenses, not just today, but that's one of the reasons the line really likes no huddle. Usually defensive line guys are dragging and start huffing and puffing, the offensive line loves it because they are just going and going. Just as much as it is in the field when you are down there and it's time to huddle, you substitute people in. We just want to line up and keep going.
Easier at home than opposed to on the road?
It's easier of course because you communicate. Still, you should be able to do it on the road.
G David DeCastroRe: Two-point conversions:**
We practiced a lot. We had this period in all of training camp. We started off practice with about seven shots, and that's seven plays from the two-yard line.
What has DeAngelo Williams been doing so well? He got in there three times today.
He's the veteran back. He's just going and falling forward. He's making it easy on us.
Re: DeAngelo excited about Le'Veon Bell coming back:
We are extremely excited. With who he is and we will keep doing our job. We'll be even better.
LB Jarvis JonesRe: Communication on the field
Communication is everything. This game is played above the shoulders. Everything we are doing out there is so we can all get on the same page. It's very critical. We did good today. The guys played tremendously well. We still have things that we need to work on.
Re: A lot of short-yardage stops. What was the key to the short-yard stops?
Communication and the anticipation of the ball. The coaches had a good game plan this week giving lessons to the guys.
RB DeAngelo WilliamsRe: Performance today:**
We have seen this in practice. We performed this in practice. It's just translated from practice into the game. We are back to the drawing board. This was our performance for today.
Re: Being on the same page:
Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown have been on the same page for a very long time. The offensive line has been together as well. I said before I got here, this team, right here, is a Super Bowl contending team. That's why I wanted to sign here. They showed me that today. We showed that today.
The way that Brown is playing, how much did that help you?
Well, I don't necessarily think it's just Antonio Brown. I think it's our wide receivers altogether. Then Ben being Ben. The way the offensive line has been blocking up front, I can't express in words how that helps us.