Audio from Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin post game press conference following the 2010 week 14 23-7 win against the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon December 12th, 2010. Transcript to follow soon!
Coach Mike Tomlin: It was a good AFC North victory for us. Obviously we rode the wave that our defense provided today with the turnovers and touchdowns, it was a good team win. We are not perfect by any stretch but we are 10-3 and pleased to be that. We will evaluate this one like we have all the other ones and kind of learn from it and continue to move forward. It was a good win for us today. From an injury standpoint there doesn’t appear to be much. Anthony Madison I think hit his kneecap. That might limit him a little bit. I think there was one other. They are all the bumps and bruises that come along with playing. I don’t think there is anything significant at this juncture. We will accept this AFC North victory and move on.
Re: Troy Polamalu’s two interceptions:
Well I am glad Troy is on my team. The first one was Troy being Troy. This guy, no one is playing as good as Troy Polamalu in football right now in my opinion. When we need a play he provides it, and he did today.
Re: Interception sparking the offense:
We don’t panic. These games are 60 minutes. I think that happened early in the second quarter. We don’t panic. We did convert a third down or two there initially. We got a stop on the first possession of the game, but we were offsides and gave them a new set of downs and they eventually scored. They were self-inflicted wounds, but they were nothing to panic about. I didn’t sense that from the group. We just continued to play and let it sort out over the course of a 60-minute game.
Re: Penalties stopping your offense:
Penalties, when you are looking at first-and-30 it’s tough, somehow we overcame that. For the most part we have all year when we get behind the chains with the penalties. We find ways to overcome them. That’s because of our leadership, starting with number seven. There’s no doubt you like to stay on schedule. That will make the job a lot easier.
Re: Ben changing his helmet:
The rain I think was an issue, or sleet was an issue. But nothing to get out of sorts about. We’ll just continue to move forward.
Re: LaMarr Woodley’s performance:
He provided plays, but he owed us.
Re: Playing the Jets:
Man I hadn’t thought about the Jets until you just mentioned it. We’ll see them on Sunday I guess.
Re: Troy pitching the ball on the second interception:
Ask Troy. He will be available after he washes his hair.
LB LaMarr Woodley
Troy Polamalu’s first interception really got the team going. Could you feel the energy out there?
Yeah, it definitely got me going. I was feeling a little down after allowing them to score a touchdown on that third down situation that I jumped offsides. I was down, but when Troy got in I got excited.
Did you feel like you owed the team after jumping offsides on their first drive, allowing them to score a touchdown?
Yeah definitely, jumping offsides and letting a team like Cincinnati drive down the field and put seven on the board. That was definitely on me, but my teammates were very supportive telling me that it was no big deal just keep your head in the game and go out there and make plays. I was able to go out there and make plays, Coach LeBeau put me in position and we did a great job as a team.
Re: On their touchdown with the tackle eligible:
I really couldn’t tell you I was rushing on that play. I have outside contain, and the tackle just went out, he was eligible on that and they just tossed it into him.
Did you think touchdown the whole way on your interception?
Definitely, last week I couldn’t get in. I was moving a little slow, but the opportunity presented itself and I was able to get an interception and this time I wanted to take it to the house and I was able to get it in there.
With the fumble recovery last week and the interception this week, a couple of sacks, are you playing your best football of the season?
We still got a lot of games to go. I have to continue to do it. I came out here and had a great game today, but I have to show up again next week and for the rest of the season so we can get to that Super Bowl.
Re: Jumping the out routes:
On the play that I got my interception, it was just my play to drop back into coverage. Throughout the year I’ve been knocking them down. I remember the Tampa Bay game where I just swatted the ball down, this time I just took advantage of it and was able to get both hands on the ball and put some points on the board for our team.
Have you had many pick six’s?
That was my first one ever.
How big was this win, knowing the New York Jets are coming in next week?
It means a lot, but we still have the Jets. We still have Carolina and the Browns. When you start looking ahead that’s when teams beat you. We just have to focus on what’s in front of us.
How did it feel to get you first interception for a touchdown?
It felt great. Good thing I didn’t have to run a long distance because it takes me a while to get to the end zone. I just made sure I got the ball and didn’t run out of bounds and just ran in. it was a great feeling and it put more points on the board for us. It forced them on the next drive to throw the ball a little more.
Is it the defense’s mindset to score?
That is always our objective, usually when teams score on defense you win football games.
WR Mike Wallace
You have a reputation for making the big play on offense. Can you talk about that?
“I’m just trying to help my team. That’s all I want to do is just win ball games. And anything I can do to help, I’m all for it. That’s just something God gave me – big play making ability. I try to do it to the best of my ability all the time.”
Was it a case of being patient on offense and taking what they gave you?
“Sometimes. It was a nasty day outside. We started out pretty slow, but we were getting some big plays. We just weren’t scoring touchdowns. We were getting down there. We just have to finish drives. That’s our biggest problem. We don’t really ever have a problem moving the ball. It’s just finishing drives. We have to score when we get to the red zone.”
Is that a concern going forward?
“Not at all. We’re a team; we’ll get it right. Some games, we do really good in the red zone. Some games we don’t. I feel like this just wasn’t a game where we did well in the red zone. The next game we’ll be looking to capitalize when we get down there.”
DE Brett Keisel
“I’m proud of the guys and the way we played today. We scored two touchdowns. Most of the time when that happens, you’re going to win the game.”
They had a little something going on their first few drives, then it kind of shut off. What changed?
“I don’t know. I think they had a scripted set of plays coming into the first. They obviously fooled us on the offensive lineman catching the first touchdown. We knew we were going to get some tricks and things like that in this game. I think once everyone just settled down and calmed down, stuck to their keys and what their job was in the defense. It was tough for them to move the ball against us.”
K Shaun Suisham
What was it like kicking here for the first time – to get an in-game field of what it’s like to kick here?
“I kicked extra points my first game here. You try to treat every kick the same. I’d basically come off of five field goals last time, in my mind. It was fine. It was just like another game.”
Could you have expected a better start that what you have going on right now?
“I certainly am happy to have contributed. I feel like I’ve made the transition in here now and I’m really looking forward to moving on.”
You mentioned how excited you were to get the job here, but how excited is your family?
“It’s been great. We’re living the hotel life right now, but it certainly is worth it. It’s just part of the gig right now.”
You mentioned the transition. It’s not an easy thing to step into. How difficult was it? Do you think about it much? Does it bother you?
“No. It’s just back to playing football again. And that’s all I’ve known since I started college. It’s just more comfortable for me to be kicking than to be at home. Being home as the season is going on certainly is much more difficult than being out here kicking field goals.”
LB James Farrior
Did you feel like with the offense struggling that it was up to you guys to carry the day today?
“I don’t think they did a bad job. They did a good job of controlling the ball. They held the ball for a lot of the game. We just made a couple of big plays to help them out a little bit. That’s the sign of a good team. When the other guy is down you have to help him out.”
Did Troy [Polamalu]’s play pretty much turn the game around?
“Yeah, that opened it up. We spotted them seven [points] early on. After that, I think everybody woke up and we started playing good, sound defense.”
They held the ball, but you scored the touchdowns.
“Yeah, we’ll take it. I’ll take that all day, make it as easy as possible for our offense.”
Is there anything you see these days that amazes you that Troy Polamalu does?
“No. Troy is Troy. He’s been like that for years. I know you guys can’t be surprised at what does every week, because he does it every week. We’re definitely not surprised and we’ve come to expect that from him.”
Your quarterback took a lot of hits again today. What do you make of that?
“It’s terrible, man. I think they protect all of the quarterbacks but ours. But we’re going to keep on fighting, we’re going to keep on going. Hopefully they’ll catch it one day.”
Do you ever say to yourself, “our guy is taking a lot of shots, we should take some shots at theirs.”
“No. We don’t play like that. That’s kind of dirty. But, we see the hits that Ben [Roethlisberger] takes every week. It’s kind of ridiculous that they always miss those calls, but any time we breathe on a quarterback, they always seem to find that one.”
QB Ben Roethlisberger
You’ve worked pretty hard to stay poised through these hits to the head and other blows that haven’t been called against you. Did you get a little frustrated after that facemask that wasn’t called?
“Yeah, I did. I lost my cool there for a second. But I didn’t swear at him.”
Is that the magic words you were avoiding?
“Yeah. Obviously, it doesn’t work. But, once again, I got the same response that I got last week – that he was just trying to tackle you. So I just kind of let it go.”
It is no coincidence, is it? Did he really just happen to hit you in the head?
“I guess. It is what it is. It’s a violent game. You’ve never heard me complain about injuries or the calls or anything like that. So I’m not going to start now.”
You abandoned the visor. Was it not doing what it should have been doing?
“It was raining. We talked to you guys earlier in the week and that was going to be a factor. That two-minute drive going down there, it was really starting to get wet. And, every time I hit the ground, it made it harder to see. So, we just took it off and went with a different kind of facemask to hope I wouldn’t get hit.”
How about [Antwaan Randle] El’s catch
“I was laying on the ground. I didn’t see it.”
Did you see a replay?
“I have not yet. I knew when it came out of my hand that it wasn’t a good throw. I heard the crowd cheering, and I know it wasn’t an interception cheer, so that’s a good thing.”
Can you talk about possessing the ball but not scoring a lot of points?
“It’s funny because I had that talk with Charlie [Batch] and Byron [Leftwich] on the sidelines. I felt like we did some good things offensively like we possessed the ball. I don’t know what the time [of possession] was, but it had to be pretty good. I think one drive, we might have gone about 140 yards because we kept going and backwards and going backwards. And those things feel good. But it’s not good enough because we have to score points. Field goals aren’t good enough. Luckily our defense bailed us out and played such a great game today. It was fun to watch them.”
Can you talk about Hines [Ward]’s effort?
“That’s Hines Ward. I could sit here and talk all day about the effort, the will to win, his determination and his toughness. But, we’ve been seeing that for 15 years or however long he’s been playing. I take my hat off to him. He’s a warrior.”
Did your nose and everything else come through the game okay?
“I got a little ankle [injury], but I’ll be okay.”
Was that your other ankle?
“No, the same ankle. The guy kind of came down on the back of it. Lucky I had my shoe spatted up because of my foot. It might have saved me a little today.”
It’s rare that you see two pick sixes. Talk about that.
“Our defense is just something else. Troy [Polamalu] and I always talk before the last couple of games. I tell him to do something magical and he tells me to do something magical. Troy always does it. It’s something special, that whole unit, LaMarr Woodley. It’s funny because Larry Foote and I were talking right around the beginning of the fourth quarter and he said, “Can you say AFC defensive player of the week.” And he was all about Woodley. So I said, well what about Troy? Then he got that second pick, and I looked at Foote and he said, “co-defensive players of the week.”
What are your thoughts on seeing Santonio Holmes next week?
“We’ll see him on the field, but I’m going to enjoy this win. Then we’ll get ready for the Jets. I’m playing the defense. It’s not about Santonio.”
Coach Marvin Lewis:
I think we’ll start with the important thing that when you come into a game is to get done the things you need to do that give you the opportunity to win the game. In this case today, number one was take care of the football, two was to not allow explosive plays on the other side of the football defensively. We needed to control and limit the running game, and be able to run offensively, to be able to effectively have some effective runs. I thought starting the football game out we kind of did those things, but obviously there in the second quarter with the interception for touchdown in the middle of the game, those were significant plays. That does skip a beat, but we didn’t do well enough on the third-down offensively. We started the game very good defensively on the third downs, but fell off there in the third quarter, and that ended up being the difference in the football game. We tried in the third quarter with the long drive where they probably converted three, at least make third downs. But, you can’t turn the football over and you certainly can’t spot them 14-points like we did today. That’s too difficult to overcome. That led to our demise here.
Re: Low yardage:
Well we weren’t converting third downs, as I just said, and I think that makes a big difference. I think we had two penalties there. We had a call for a hold penalty there in the fourth quarter, which was big. When we have a first down and we supposedly had a formation play where we already have a first down. Again, I think with the one thing they just kind of missed it.
Any time with an interception it’s some type of misread.
Re: Woodley’s Interception:
You can play by him or get underneath.
Re: Chinedum Ndukwe:
The initial report was not good, but I haven’t talked to anyone since they came off the field. But that was not good.
QB Carson Palmer
What did you see with all the interceptions?
The one Woodley had, I never even saw him. It was a play-action pass and I never saw him at all, he was lost in my vision behind the offensive line. He made a great play on the ball, great catch. You’ve got to give him credit. It’s a ball I wish I could have had back and not thrown obviously. The last one was just a dumb play by me at the end of the game, just trying to score, trying to get seven points on the board as quick as possible. I shouldn’t have thrown it. I should have thrown the ball at the back of the end zone and live for another play.
What happened with Troy Polamalu’s interception?
I don’t know. I’m going to have to look at that one on film. I’m not sure what happened with our guys.
What happened to the offense after the first drive?
The first drive, I think we got a first down off of a penalty at one point. We just made some nice plays. The guys made some nice plays. It was a good way to start the game against that team. We just never found that rhythm again throughout the rest of the game really. Threw the ball well at times, but then had some negative yardage plays whether it was a penalty or a play that was tackled behind the line of scrimmage, a sack, or a screen for a loss. There were plays that we couldn’t overcome. We got ourselves into situations we couldn’t overcome.
Re: Only offensive touchdown pass to Whitworth:
It was just a well-designed play. There was a weakness that we had seen on film. The coaches designed it, and it was just a well-designed play that was difficult to cover from a defensive standpoint. We did a great job executing it; a great job selling the run, showing the run, then [Whitworth] came out of there at the end.
Do you feel frustration or dejection?
Both. Tonight when you’re watching Sunday night football and the highlights, and they keep showing the highlights over and over again, that’s going to be dejection. Right now, it’s just frustration. I don’t know if anybody has words to describe right now and what we’re feeling as a team.
WR Terrell Owens
It looked like a different team in the first drive as opposed to the rest of the game. What, in your mind, happened?
I have no idea. I’m just going with the plays that are called.
How do you feel about the plays that are called?
I don’t call them, I just run them. Sometimes I just feel like im out there running. In the beginning of the game I got some looks but after that, that was it. We had no adjustments.
Did the Steelers do anything different from last time you played them?
Yeah, I think they did a great job of game-planning from the first time we played them. They saw me line up in certain situations and certain formations and come across the middle. Polamalu was coming down hill on those routes. I think they did a great job of game-planning, and other than that, we have no answer for it.
Does it seem like there are answers to your team’s issues in preparation for next game?
Early in the season I said something about me getting my input, but other than that I just have to go with what’s being called. Other than that, that’s all I can do without trying to create any distractions or what have you and have somebody take my comments and misinterpret them and say that I’m calling someone out. Other than that, im out there running hard, I’m practicing hard and I’m trying to transfer what I do on the practice field to the game field. Other than that, I can’t do anything else. Everybody can assess and interpret whatever I may say with these interviews, but I know how to play a game. Other than that, I can’t throw the ball to myself, I cant do anything else, all I can do is just go with the plays that are called and just hope I can get some opportunities. You saw what happened in the first half. There were some opportunities there and they game-planned to the point where they knew we were running some routes, they had guys running out, Polamalu ran out, the linebackers were running out. We saw that, but we still didn’t make any adjustments. It is what it is at this point. At this point each player’s just got to fight through and try and stay healthy for the last remainder of the games of the season.
Does this team have another win in them?
I have no idea. I’ve never been in this amount of games losing. I didn’t do that in Buffalo. Everybody knows we’re a talented team. Other than that, all we can do is go out there and do our jobs. It’s embarrassing. For myself, I don’t get any pleasure of personally having a decent season. What is that going to do for me? That’s not why I came here. I came here to help this team get into the post-season. That’s not even an option at this point. It’s not me hanging my head, but at some point, what can you do besides just keep plugging away.
Re: Receiving a touchdown pass
I’ve been begging for it for a while. You get down near the end zone, and goal-line situations are always tough. We had something that we saw on film that we thought we could exploit, and we were able to do it.
What happened after the first drive?
We really just didn’t execute. We buried ourselves with interceptions, and it was just our own mistakes, basically.
Is that the story of the season?
Yeah. We’ve played well in games, we’ve played tough. Teams after every game tell us, ‘You all are hard to deal with, you just have to stop hurting yourselves.’ They know it. We have to find a way to stop hurting ourselves, or the season is going to be over before we figure it out.
Re: Assessing the defensive performance
Coach Zimmer told us today that we have four games left, and we should try to be the best defense for the last four games. I think our defense stepped up today, but we didn’t come out with the win and that’s all that counts.
Re: Oddities on the scoring sheet, with two interception returns for touchdowns and an offensive tackle receiving a pass
It was a defensive game, with not much done on the offensive side on either team. Our defense played pretty well today, but we just have to get better. We have Cleveland next, we’ll move on to them. I was really excited about what our defense did today.
Re: Sacks and pressures on Roethlisberger
We got after him today. We know that he’s big and he’s slippery, and he’s one of the best quarterbacks at extending plays. What really helps us out is for the defensive line to get after him, and I’m really excited about our teammates over here getting a couple sacks. We’re doing some positive things.
Re: Offense unable to sustain drives
That’s tough, but that’s just the name of the game. If we go three and out, you know that you just have to stay ready, and the defense stepped up today.
Re: Missing a possible interception near the end of the first half:
I want it back. Can’t have it though. No need to cry about it, just learn from it and move on. I’m sure they had some plays they want back too. We held them to nine points, it would’ve been six points if I catch that ball. We played pretty well on defense. We gave them no touchdowns. We did alright, we just lost.
Do you look for moral victories at this point?
There’s no morality in football, zero. There’s no such thing as a moral victory. There never has been and never will be.
Where is this team after 10 straight losses?
We’re at 10 straight. That’s it. That’s what it is right now, 10 straight. We have a lot of problems, and we need a lot of answers. We search every week. We’re going to search next week against the Cleveland Browns. We’ll come out, and we’re going to fight them just as hard if not harder than we fought the Pittsburgh Steelers. We’ll come out, we’re going to play hard, we’ll hit hard and try our best to make some plays. Whether that happens or not is yet to be determined.
Re: Effect of the offense’s inability to score:
I probably could have helped them out with a pick to the crib. I’m sure that changes the play calling of our offense. It’s not really them. If we could’ve held them when we had them pinned down in their own end, that would’ve changed the play calling too. It’s not all them. If we can give up no points and get the lead, then we can carry the ball 30 times and run the clock out, the game’s different. If we can get kickoff returns rolling and bring the ball out to the 50 and give our offense good field position, it changes a lot of things. I’m not going to hang it all on the offense no matter what they did. There’s just too much stuff going on to put it on one side.