Coach Mike Tomlin: Boy that was a great win for us, at home, in front of our fans, versus a very good football team. We played good, fundamental football today, and that’s the recipe. We were where we were supposed to be, doing what we were supposed to do, for the most part in all three phases. It was enough to get a victory. From an injury standpoint, LaMarr Woodley has a hamstring injury. Marcus Gilbert has an ankle injury. Keenan Lewis has a shoulder injury. Ike Taylor has a shoulder injury and a stinger. We will see where those guys are, and evaluate those guys in terms of moving forward for next week. It was a big win for us today. We will enjoy it today. Then we will move forward.
Re: How your defense played despite missing people due to injuries:
These guys, not only buy into what we talk about in terms of the standard being the standard, but they make it reality. When you look out there and see some of the guys performing for us on defense, Cortez Allen, Chris Carter and Stevenson Sylvester and others, we just tip our hats to those young men. It wasn’t too big for them. They aren’t perfect by any stretch, believe me. But they are playing, and they are playing to win. They aren’t playing with fear, and we like that about our young guys. They better keep coming, because there is probably no end in sight with some of the things we’re dealing with. So be it. What’s expected of us is not going to change. So we understand that and embrace that.
Re: Success on third downs, particularly third-and-long situations:
We’ve been pretty good on third downs for most of the year on offense. We got a group that feels like they can convert it, regardless of circumstance. They were able to do so. Some of the instances you are talking about, obviously were big. But we kind of have been doing that. That wasn’t the first time we’ve done that in a stadium this year.
Re: The job your defense did against the Patriots’ offense:
It was paramount. They know that. We know that. We needed to control the ball and keep their offense off the field, which made controlling it difficult. We tried to control it with the pass a little bit. We were able to do that with Ben Roethlisberger. He threw some completions early, and we were able to control that in that fashion. That was necessary for us to be good and be on schedule with the chains, like we were.
What were your goals coming into this game?
What did you need to do to win?
We needed to possess the ball offensively. We needed to get third-down stops defensively. Like we said earlier in the week, we didn’t anticipate Tom Brady coming out and throwing four picks, like he did at Buffalo. So we focused our energy on playing man-to-man coverage, and being there to get off the field on third downs on defense, and of course, possessing the ball offensive, and possessing it really through the passing game.
Re: Ben’s performance after throwing an interception:
That’s Ben. He does have a short memory. He’s a competitor, not only him but us offensively. It’s more than just the quarterback. They get a lot of attention and rightfully so, but I liked the response of our unit under those circumstances.
Re: Offensive line play:
Boy they did a really nice job. We had some mixing and matching in that area, not only with the five that started but Jonathan Scott gave us some quality snaps. Our running backs did a nice job, the committee of guys that we played with in terms of pick up and things of that nature. It was just a nice, good unit effort, in regards to possessing the football and protecting the quarterback.
Did Mike Wallace’s speed open up the middle for Heath Miller?
They were pressuring us some early. Heath is always a good outlet under those circumstances. That’s what it was about. Those balls were coming out so quickly that I didn’t know if Mike’s speed was clearing anything out. They were pressuring us, and we were delivering the ball to Heath Miller in a voided area.
Re: Defensive backs doing a great job this game:
They’ve done a nice job all year. We talked about that group was going to be tested. They were tested tonight, and they passed the test. But there are some pretty big tests that lie ahead for that group. I like the work that they’ve done thus far. I like their approach to preparing. We have some young guys that aren’t afraid to compete. I think that’s probably the biggest thing. I can’t say enough about the young guys that get up in people’s faces and challenge people, and play to win, which is good.