Tomlin on the Loss: “We Didn’t Make Enough Plays to Win the Game”

Coach Mike Tomlin:

Boy that’s a tough defeat for us. But we tip our caps to Baltimore. They finished better than we did. We didn’t make enough plays to win the game. Our guys fought extremely hard. I feel like we have a really good football team. We will have more opportunities to show it but that doesn’t lessen the fact that we weren’t able to get the job done tonight, just that. We have a couple of minor injuries. Hines Ward had concussion-like symptoms. Arnaz Battle went out with a hamstring injury. Really, there’s not a lot to be said. I liked the fight of our guys. Baltimore earned it tonight. They made some plays.

Were you going to kick the field goal on that play where you were called for delay of game, and did the penalty change your decision?

I accept responsibility for that. There was some hesitation on my part. I was concerned about that distance. We had some changes in personnel with a new holder. Under the circumstances, I didn’t want to give them the ball on that short of a field. I sent the group out there a little late. We ended up with a delay of game, and then I made the decision to make them work the long length of the field, and ultimately that was probably the best option for us.

Were you happy with where you pinned the Ravens?


Does the credit go to Joe Flacco?

Yes. I felt good about where they were. We had a four-point lead and our defense was on the field. As you can see, Joe Flacco and company did a nice job.

Re: Raven’s success on third downs:

They did a nice job. Many of the third downs were very manageable. I think that’s always the story within the story, particularly there in the beginning of the second half and into the fourth quarter. They had third-and-twos and third-and-threes. Offenses are going to have an opportunity to convert many of those but you have to compliment those guys, regardless of the distance. They showed up big offensively on third downs. We didn’t do as well defensively.

Re: James Harrison’s performance:

That’s the type of effort we expect from James, because he consistently delivers it. He’s a special player and a special man. We are glad that he’s healthy and playing for us again.

About the Author

Matt Loede
Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.

13 Comments on "Tomlin on the Loss: “We Didn’t Make Enough Plays to Win the Game”"

  1. Possitives to come out of game. We have a offensive line now. And with all the injuries especially Woodley. We improving and the future looks bright. The pass coverage was good till the very end where they should have used a zone preventative. At least for me Ben didn’t get massacred by the Ravens in fact he was clean most of the game. Flacco got lucky and he still will never win a Super Bowl.

  2. Ed all i’ll say is. 23-20

  3. one man named Woodley away from a win in a great game. Flacco did great on the last drive idk why Ravens fans get on him so hard after they lose games. i still believe we r the better team. only thing we can hope for is staying healthy and i see us goin back to the SuperBowl without a dout. Ravens needed a good sweep of the Steelers after what we’ve done to them in recent history. Win Lose Or Tie Im A Steelers Fan Till I Die!

  4. Football Coaching 101: Final Exam. Question 1. “Your team has the ball on its own 20 yard line and a 4 point lead with 2:45 left in the 4th Quarter. You are playing a team equal in skill and talent to your own. You are the offensive coordinator. What strategy do you employ to win the game?”

    Answer: “Run the stupid ball. Why? Because it eats up time. The clock keeps ticking steadily on after a running play. It stops after an incomplete pass. Whether you make first downs or not, when you run the ball, you leave the opposing team with little time and all their timeouts used up.”

    Every coach from pee-wee league to the NFL knows the right answer to that basic question. If you asked Bill Cowher in a candid moment his opinion of a coach who would pass the ball repeatedly in that situation, he would probably say that it defined rank incompetence. Cowher’s major contribution to Steelers’ coaching lore is that he ran the ball in that situation, repeatedly, to milk the clock, leaving the opponent as little time as possible. In that situation, time is your opponent. His ability to kill time by running the ball is now legendary. Other coaches study his game tapes.

    But last night, what did the current Steelers coaches do in that situation? They passed the ball. Unrelentingly. And after one first down, followed by a 3 and out, they punted the ball away with over 2 minutes left on the clock. Giving the Ravens an opportunity to execute their well-rehearsed 2 minute drill to win the game. Which they did.

    My low opinion of Bruce Arians’ disdain of the rushing game is well documented here. I won’t repeat myself. But on this occasion, the brick must land at the doorstep of Mike Tomlin. Knowing Arians’ disdain for the run and his pass-happy mentality, it was Tomlin’s obligation to dictate the strategy at that moment in the game. That Tomlin stood idly by and let his OC throw away a game that was as good as won defies belief. Even the TV analyst, Chris Collingsworth, expressed undisguised dismay that the Steelers left the Ravens so much time for their final drive. By failing to run off the clock, Arians also placed unnecessary pressure on the Steelers’ very thin defense, which had played valiantly all night, despite the absence of several key players. The defense gave up the last touchdown, but it was the offensive strategy which put them in a very difficult position, needlessly.

    That Arians and Ben R. ran the ball effectively early in the game and then quickly reverted to their aerial circus mentality only adds fuel to the argument that this loss belongs squarely on the shoulders of the coaching staff, starting right at the top. Last night Mike Tomlin was faced in reality with Question 1 above. And he and Arians failed the test. The Steelers didn’t lose the game last night. The coaches gave it away.

    Now contrast that with the strategy employed by Cam Cameron and Flacco. They ran the ball virtually all night long, interspersed with quick passes. Even in the final 2 minutes, the Ravens still kept running the ball — effectively. The final TD was a passing play, but the ability to run the ball set it up. Baltimore understands the value of running the football. The Steelers coaches still do not. And last night, that was the difference.

  5. Frustrating indeed at the end. I am optimistic though. only way to live. We have a good team with a beat up defense. However the injuries are giving some of the young guys the chance to play and they are playing well i think. Let’s not forget, we are 6-3 going into the easiest part of our schedule. I think every person that posts on here would have taken at the beginning of the year 7-3 at the bye week? Guess what? A win next week and we are 7-3 at the bye. It is a long season and it is more important to be playing well late than in the middle of the year. Lets remember, the Packers barely made the playoffs last year! If Coughlin punts the ball out of bounds and the giants beat philly, the packers don’t even make the tournament!!! Hang tough Steeler nation…we will rally..

    • Yeah , Peter for real, stop looking at the myopic record(s)!!!! Instead, look at the WAY things happen on the field. DR> GEORGE just stated my exact sentiments above. As things were unfolding last night, I said to myself, “I’ll bet BA throws the ball here, and although, it would be nice to ice the game, I would rather a run, milk clock and punt them deep with less than two minutes. Instead, we punted them deep with 2:37 and one timeout! We got nine yards on first down of our very first play and then BA passes and then a weak pitchout! All game long we were getting 4-6 yards per carry and yet, BA kept going AWAY form the run. That’s fine and all but when football 101 (as Doc states above) dictates that you run, you don’t fucking reinvent the wheel, you FUCKING RUN THE BALL! I am not mad at the fact that we have a bad red zone offense outside of the fact that our coaches CHOOSE not to run the ball in the red zone. We simply do not have a huge, athletic, dynamically agile athlete which benefits red zone offenses. Hopefully that gets addressed in the off season. I do get mad, however, that we have a poor situational football/short yardage offense; that falls on the coaches because we do have the talent to run situational/short yardage football!!!!! Unlike Doc, however, I am slightly perturbed about our defense summarily: we have a former 1st round pick who’s still in his prime in Timmons and he does not make plays. Yeah, he’s a solid, steady player but you can get that in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc or undrafted rounds. We have a former 1st round draft pick in Hood who does not make plays- he too is somewhat solid and steady but again, you can get that unspectacular stability in later rounds. Of late, our top round defensive picks DON’T MALE PLAYS, they DON’T…MAKE…PLAYS! an undrafted harrison does, a 2nd round Woodley does, Polamalu, picked years and years ago does. But who that Tomlin has taken on D in the early rounds in recent years makes plays? WHO?!? NOBODY!!!! You can get the SAME PERFORMANCE that they’re presently getting from their first rounders from 5th and 6th rounders!!! So, why not do what a lot of other progressive teams are doing which is, God forbid forfeit some of your coveted draft picks and move up and actually draft a DIFFERENCE MAKER on Defense and then surround him with some hungry undrafted players because they’re presently getting the same effort and production from their first rounders as they would from undrafted players! In 2009 when they took Hood, they could moved up and gotten Matthews or Raji or Orakpo, In 2007, Tomlin, so steadfast on Timmons, coulda moved up one spot for Revis or 3 or 4 for Willis! I know Doc states that the D played okay and I guess they did but big players don’t make plays on our D and it’s becoming a trend.

      • Jay I agree 100 percent with you. I posted right after the game on another thread about not making turnovers. Our defense last night was pathetic on 3rd downs and let a 90 yard td drive to lose the game at the end… in my book that isnt playing well. The whole unit, minus Harrison, was merely decent at best. I actually thought we shut down the run rather well last night compared to earlier in the season.

        I am optimistic and hope for the best, but hoping only takes you so far. This team needs to wake up on every level of the game.

        Jay I also agree cold-heartedly that we desperately need to trade up for difference makers. Look at the last two times we traded up in the first round, we got Troy P and Hampton. Timmons is a nice player but he has really been disappointing this season. As far as I can tell there should be 4 CBs (Morris Clairborne LSU, Dre Kirkpatrick Alabama, Janoris Jenkins N.Alabama,Alfonso Denard Nebraska) going in the 1st round this year… we need to target one and do whatever it takes to get him. The Ravnes trade picks and shuffle their draft around and look how much talent the get through the draft as well. They are loaded with playmakers. Its pathetic how poor our TO differential is this year.

        Also big ups to the o-line for finally playing solid

        • As usual, George H. and Jay, I agree with you on our need to strengthen our defense, not only at CB (a chronic problem), but on the line and at safety. “Freaks of nature” don’t come along every day, and when we see one, we should move up to draft him, if we can. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough picks in any draft to fill all our needs and we always draft late. The draft won’t bring in enough talent to do it. We must also trade for quality players or sign high quality free agents, which is expensive, but necessary at times. As with Manning at Indy, we have an inordinate amount of money invested in Ben R. I don’t know if we have sufficient funds left over or room under the cap to buy the talent we need.

          I didn’t intend to sound like a Pollyanna regarding the defense, but on the whole, against the Ravens (which I regard as one of the best teams in the NFL along with Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and New England), I thought our D played well enough to win, despite all the injuries. In fact, the young guys (Sylvester, Carter, Worilds, Lewis) didn’t hurt us. Flacco made most of his crucial throws against our veterans: passes to Boldin who beat Ike Taylor repeatedly and the final TD pass that beat Clark and Gay. Another old veteran,Hampton, got blown out repeatedly on running plays. But, as you say, Jay, none of the young guys impressed in a big way — especially Hood, who by now should be asserting himself. Heyward has promise, but he is still learning.

          In the off season, we will have a lot of aged veterans to replace. Cromartie-Smith (taxi squad) has the talent to emerge next year at safety, and that would solve one of our problems (lack of speed at that position). But it won’t be easy to find replacements for our old veterans at other key positions. And to be realistic, it seems unlikely that we can improve this D significantly in just one year. The coaches elected to hold on to our aged veterans too long, in the hope of making a Super Bowl run. That was a calculated risk that still may pay off. But, at season’s end,there will be too many holes to fill to get in done in one draft.

          Of course, if we spend our picks and money shoring up the D, it means, once again, we aren’t going to get that blue chip Offensive Tackle we’ve all been hoping for. But for one more year, we can make do. The O-line is playing better, and will improve even more if used correctly and not hampered by injuries. Our offense has the talent to get us to the Super Bowl again. Our defense does not.

  6. One thing that was frustrating about the game last night, in my opinion, was too much concern about pressuring Flacco. He just isn’t a great quarterback, let him make mistakes and miss his recievers. Put more guys into coverage and he’s gonna throw pics.

    And did anyone notice that the refs never walked off the penalty yardage on the first play of the game??? Should have been first and 20 from the 14 after the holding call. Just plain silly! And not a mention of that by the drones in the booth.

  7. How can you ignore the record Jay? What the hell does “myopic record” mean anyway? Are you saying that the teams record doesn’t matter or that it is short-sighted to keep in mind that the team has a 6-3 record, is .5 game out of the division lead and is on pace to probably win 11 games or more this year? I get as frustrated with the playcalling as anyone but we are a successful team that wins games and in case you forgot, wins Super Bowls!!! People have such short memories.

    • My memory goes back to Sunday…and next Sunday it’ll go to that Sunday and so on ad infinitum! It means that most fans don’t seem to watch the game, just the result. There’s more to football than the final score—that can be determined on a fluke play or two. I try to watch HOW things transpire and what I am seeing is/are first rounders on defense that don’t make plays and an OC who seriously gets bunched up when trying to mix in a successful running attack! WHat are you watching?

    • 6-3 Isn’t a bad record to have, although this team does have major concerns that desperately needs to be addressed. As a fan base, we are spoiled to have such a consistent winner so we expect the best. Most of us on this site are realist and can see things for the way they are. We are a tough team, but have some glaring flaws that need to be fixed if we want another superbowl

  8. Watching the same thing you are watching Jay the same thing. Talk about being myopic? I guess you are not sure what that word means if your memory only, “…goes back to Sunday…and next Sunday it’ll go to that Sunday…” I simply look at the game and team differently than you. To me, the only that matters IS the final score and then what your win/loss record is. You don’t like Tomlin, probably never have liked him. Nothing he does will change that. We need to run the ball more and run it more efficiently no question.

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