Audio from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin post game press conference following the 2009, week 1 overtime win against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday September 10th, 2009. Transcript to follow.
Mike Tomlin: I will beat you to the point. Coming into this game we talked about things we needed to do to be successful. We talked about big men and blades of grass – winning the trench warfare. We didn’t do that. I thought we had to take care of the football and win the turnover battle because Kerry Collins is great at taking care of the football. We didn’t do that. We talked about out-hitting them. Chances are the more violent team usually wins. The jury is out on that. The last thing we talked about was not riding the emotional roller coaster and being prepared to play 60-plus minutes of football. We did that. We did a great job of it. I liked the way our guys traveled light. They don’t tote bags, if you know what I mean. They stayed focused for the next opportunity to make a play for us. In the end, we were successful. We were not a perfect team by any stretch, but it was good to maybe learn some lessons with a “W.” We were fortunate to get it because that is a good football team and we respect the heck out of those guys. Hopefully we will learn some lessons so the road will be a little less bumpy next time. Such is life in the NFL. We will take the victory. I liked the way the guys stayed together.
Question: How serious is Troy Polamalu’s knee injury?
Mike Tomlin: I don’t know at this point. It is a MCL sprain. They are reading the scans and so forth. Those things have a range of three-to-six (weeks). It is speculation at this point.
Question: Is there a chance it could be worse?
Mike Tomlin: I’m sure there is a possibility of it but I don’t have any concrete evidence that there is anything more than that.
Question: What do you mean by range?
Mike Tomlin: Weeks.
Question: How do you think your defense adjusted to not having Troy?
Mike Tomlin: The standard is the standard for the 11 men on the field for us. They made some plays on us because they are a good football team. Their quarterback is good with the football. Their running game got clicking there at times cutting the ball back on us with some of their zone-scheme blocking. It is just a tough get when you play good people. Our guys hung in there. Fortunately we were able to be victorious.
Question: Do you attribute some of your struggles with the running game to the team you were playing?
Mike Tomlin: You always give credit to worthy opponents. They did a nice job. It is obvious that we have to do a better job as well. There is no question they did a nice job tonight of stacking our running game up. As good of a defense as they are and as good of a front seven as they are, we have to do better than that if we want to consistently be in the victory lane.
Question: How did Ben Roethlisberger do with the no-huddle?
Mike Tomlin: He was Ben. When rubber meets the road he is at his best. In those moments he sees (the field) with great clarity. He provided quality plays for us time and time again.
Question: Did Hines Ward’s fumble last in regulation make you decide to kick quickly in overtime?
Mike Tomlin: No, we were just waiting until we were comfortably in range, and when we were, we were going to kick it.
Question: Did you say anything to Hines after the fumble?
Mike Tomlin: No, Hines is a veteran football player. We are not going to lose confidence in Hines because of that play. More than anything, that guy always wants to deliver for his teammates. Of course he wasn’t able to do it in that instance. Such is life – we don’t always get it the way we envision it.
Question: Why were you so patient with the running game?
Mike Tomlin: We are going to continue to do that. We are not going to abandon anything we set out to do on any given week. I ask our guys to play like that so I have to coach like that. They do so we do.
Question: Why did you use Mewelde Moore in short-yardage behind Frank Summers late in the game?
Mike Tomlin: He was the guy who happened to be in the game. I think we talked about that leading up to the game. I think until we get great clarity about who can distinguish themselves in that area in regular-season football, we are going to go with the guys who are in the game. He happened to be in the game.
Question: Did you have any other injuries?
Mike Tomlin: That (Troy Polamalu’s injury) was the only one I checked on. I’m sure there are other ones but that is the only one I checked on.