Audio from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin post game press conference following the 2009, week 10 loss against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday November 15th, 2009. Transcript to follow.
Mike Tomlin: Wasn’t able to get the job done today and I think the Bengals had a lot to do with that. I congratulate those guys, that’s a good football team, but as always when we evaluate our performances, we look within. We were below the line, that’s not winning football on a lot of fronts, specifically when you’re playing a quality team as the Bengals are. When you kick field goals, you potentially expose yourself to losses. We weren’t able to execute in the red zone today offensively. Kicked field goals, we expose ourselves potentially to that. Anytime you allow people to score touchdowns and your defense is not on the field, you expose yourself to losing football. We’ve got some work to do, we’re a team that’s developing. It’s a step back today, I trust that this group will respond appropriately, I know that we’re going to move forward when we get back in tomorrow with that in mind, but today, job not done. Job done by the Cincinnati Bengals.
Question: What’s Troy’s [Polamalu] status?
Mike Tomlin: He’s getting an MRI on his left knee. The same knee he injured earlier in the year. I assume that I’ll have more information at a later date or time. Right now, all I can tell you is that he’s in the process of getting an MRI.
Question: Did he get hit?
Mike Tomlin: I don’t know the details of it. He came of the field, he said he was going to get his knee rechecked again, that’s what they’re in the process of doing. Obviously he wasn’t able to return to the football game.
Question: Would you characterize your performance as flat? Out of sync?
Mike Tomlin: I choose not to characterize in any way other than that it was ineffective. We came in here today with the intent on playing winning football, whatever that entails, you know style points is not something that we’re highly concerned about. We weren’t able to put together enough plays to win the football game and that’s the reality of it. That game was far from perfect in a lot of ways, but we had the opportunity to make the difference in that game and we weren’t able to do it as a team.
Question: Talk about third and short late in the game and the decision to throw on those downs.
Mike Tomlin: I’ve got to think back on the situations and circumstances but more than anything you’ve got to acknowledge that those guys did a nice job not only on third downs, but on all downs, but we got some passes batted and so forth. It just wasn’t a fluid winning performance by us and we all take responsibility for that starting with myself.
Question: Have you anticipated your defense making big plays? What happened today?
Mike Tomlin: I wish I had that crystal ball. I don’t. Part of the reason why big plays weren’t there was because of the Cincinnati Bengals and Carson Palmer. They take very good care of the football, they make great decisions. As long as we continue to work hard and hustle hard to the football and be where we’re supposed to be, play with great detail, big plays are going to come. When they don’t, we’ve got to find ways to get off ourselves off the field, I thought we did that. That was the number one red zone offense in football, we talked about that during the course of the week. We found ways to get off the field and make them kick field goals, but we did the same and when you do that, you expose yourself potentially to losing and ultimately that’s what happened to us.
Question: Did you think the kickoff problems were solved before this game?
Mike Tomlin: No I didn’t but I always prepare for the worst and hope for the best. It’s not anything complex in terms of where we are in terms of our kick coverage. We didn’t make tackles. Two people bounced off that guy and he scored. You can’t miss two tackles on a kickoff in the NFL, if you do, chances are they’re going back on you.
Question: Would putting James Harrison back in kickoff coverage help?
Mike Tomlin: I’m open to all considerations at this point. Let’s be honest, we’ve had three returned on us haven’t we? I’d put myself out there if I thought I could do the job.
Question: Did you have a good view of the James Harrison penalty in the fourth quarter?
Mike Tomlin: I did not but we’ve got to play sharper than that, regardless of the circumstances that led up to it or what happened, that’s just part of our day, it wasn’t winning football.
Question: Did you want to get a look at Mike Wallace returning kickoffs?
Mike Tomlin: Yes, we’ve been preparing Mike [Wallace] throughout the season. He’s got a nice resume in that regard when we drafted him. I was intent on getting him at least one today if they scored, of course they did, so we did.
Question: Were the deep passes today a timing issue or the Bengals’ defense?
Mike Tomlin: Probably a little bit of both. We throw them we didn’t catch them. We didn’t get them. We got a pass interference on one but we didn’t connect on enough.
Question: Did you feel like you were close all day with passing?
Mike Tomlin: Yes but that’s the story of the NFL to be quite honest with you. When your not performing well usually, it’s the minute things. It’s not anything significant, it’s the quality of detail. So you’re hopeful that you can find your rhythm and move forward but we weren’t able to and that’s the reality of it, so we’ve got to get back in the lab.
Question: Was that punt block team the normal one for Cincinnati’s punt in the end zone?
Mike Tomlin: That’s the one we chose to use at that time due to the fact that they were punting backed up