PITTSBURGH STEELERS POST-GAME QUOTES
Head Coach Mike Tomlin
(opening statement) "Not a perfect game, but a great team effort by us. We're moving in the right direction in a lot of areas. Run game development, taking care of the football, but, we still fall short in some areas. That's why it became the game that it became in a lot of ways. We have to do a better job of minimizing the run game. I thought we played the run game consistent, but you can't have popcorn occur. Those big runs, that field flipping play, was significant. That big run they had – we can't allow that to happen. We can't be a great defense when that happens. We can't be penalized on offense, particularly, when we are in the red area. We can't drive up and down the field and get in the red area. And then a few of our drives were stopped by negligence on our part, penalties and so forth. We have some work ahead of us, but man, it's great to enjoy this victory in a hostile environment. AFC North football, I thought our guys responded in the appropriate way. Not only to the environment; the opponent; but just largely, in part, the challenge all week. Just being able to stay focused and stay together and do the job professionals are called to do. I think they revealed a little bit about themselves in the midst of just the process of getting ready to play. Hopefully we can learn and grow from it. I'm sure we will, but we won't waste a lot of time dwelling on it. AFC ball continues, and we have a good team coming in to Pittsburgh next week. As far as I know, we don't have any major injuries to report. We have some bumps and bruises, associated with play. I think anybody that got shaken up, ended up going back in the game. I'll update you further, like we do on Tuesday."
(on riding RB Le'Veon Bell a lot today) "Like we said last week, we felt comfortable with our play and readiness last week. The game circumstances just didn't allow what occurred today to occur. Often times that's the case. That's why we have to stay true to what we believe. The run game is no more effective today than it was last week. We just got more opportunity to snap it."
(on QB Ben Roethlisberger saying he needs to play better, and if he did) "He did."
(on explanation of the interception) "No explanation needed. He didn't gain possession of the ball. The ball never touched the ground, so it was an interception."
(on the National Anthem and if he is happy how things went this week) "You don't think, you don't think. Based on the result of the game, yes."
(on winning in Baltimore) "If we're good, some of those variables are less important. Opponent, game location, and really that's what we're striving for. We want to be the type of team that can win regardless of circumstance, location, opponent and so forth. But acknowledging where we are, it was a good performance today."
LB Ryan Shazier
(on the turnovers the Steelers generated) "They were huge. Not only does it take the ball away from them, it gives our offense better field position. Even if they don't score, turnovers help us win the battle of field position. We were glad to get them today."
(on his celebration after the interception) "We're in Baltimore, and I wanted to celebrate Ray Lewis style. Our goal is to be the No. 1 defense, and Ray Lewis has a great legacy of being a great defensive player. Plus, he always had a great rivalry with the Steelers. At the same time, I tried to make the home team a little mad, because it feels pretty good to win."
(on his first win here) "Beating the Ravens here is amazing. The rivalry is so big, and the teams know each other so well. We always give each other the best we have, and it feels great to come here and win."
QB Ben Roethlisberger
(on the opening drive) "We came in here with a game plan to run the ball as much as we could, and run it out of shotgun formations. On our first drive, our receivers blocked so well. That was a big drive for us. We got the ball at our 3-yard line and took the ball down field. I think we used up most of the first quarter. Even though we had to settle for a field goal, it gave us some momentum."
(on establishing the running game) "Everybody knows this was going to be a physical football game. We thought it was important to establish the running game early. The drive helped us get Le'Veon [Bell] going. He played well, but he is only one guy in a scheme. We also have to give credit to guys like [Chris] Hubbard and [B.J.] Finney, they played very well. Those were not easy yards that Le'Veon [Bell] was getting."
(on how satisfying it is to win in Baltimore) "It was very satisfying. It's the AFC North, it's here, and it's hostile. It's no secret that [the Ravens] have owned us here. It' a great rivalry, but I take it very personally. It's just very satisfying to come in here and win."
(on whether playing this game was a relief for the team) "Football is such a relief for everyone. Fans can come in the game and root hard and not worry about their problems or their jobs or whatever else is going on in their lives. As players we love this, we've been doing this since we were kids. The big thing was, we put a loss behind us."
(on whether he know WR Antonio Brown was upset) "[Laughter] I heard about it. [Antonio Brown] is a playmaker, and he is very passionate. He feels he has to do everything he can to help us win. We're fine now. Sometimes, there just aren't enough footballs to go around."
(on how he played) "I am pretty hard on myself. I didn't make all the plays I could. We took what they gave us, and we knew they were going to try and take away big plays. My goal was not to turn the ball over, and the turnover we had was kind of strange. The officials said 'AB' never possessed the ball before contact. What really bothered me was that [Eric] Weddle intercepted it. He's a good friend of mine, but I didn't want him to make that play."
RB Le'Veon Bell
(on the Steelers running game) "We did a good job sticking to the run. The offensive line kept digging at it. They blocked really well, and our wide receivers blocked really well. The holes got bigger as the game went on."
(on the first drive) "That drive was huge for us. We consistently moved the ball. I'm not sure we expected to run the ball so much, but we had to. We were backed up at our 3-yard line, and we just kept moving down the field. I wish we could have scored a touchdown off that drive. It established a running game for us."
(on his first win in Baltimore) "This is huge for us. Getting my first win in Baltimore is extra special. The Ravens are always tough against the run, and they played well. But we were able to win the game."
(on the last drive) "At that point, the holes were getting pretty big. As a running back, I'm foaming at the mouth. Ben [Roethlisberger] put us in the right place the whole game, and we played a really good second half."
DE Cameron Heyward
(on the win) "It's a rival game, AFC North opponent. We love these games a lot. We just got the job done today, and it was against a quality opponent."
(on Baltimore being a tough place to get a win) "They're a good team. They have a good, solid defense. They have a Super Bowl-winning quarterback. We didn't play perfect. As a defense, we still gave up a long run. We've got to improve on that and keep challenging one another."
(on improving his play from last week's game) "I've got to keep challenging myself week-in and week-out. I'm not going to be satisfied with this one game. I have to get better in different ways. I thought a lot of guys stepped up in big ways: [Ryan] Shazier, [Stephon] Tuitt, Mike Hilton. A myriad of guys played up to their potential today."
(on his reaction after RB Alex Collins' 50-yard run) "We can't keep shooting ourselves in the foot. We had them at 19-0, and to give up that type of run is unacceptable. We have to keep challenging ourselves. We'll stress this stuff in practice. *(Reporter: "And the big run on the first play, that was a zone play?) *That one, too. They're just angle plays. That's what the zone challenges – your angles, your tackling ability and everybody staying in their gap with technique. If we do that, we're a more solid team. If we don't, we put ourselves at a disadvantage."
(on the play of LB Ryan Shazier) "He's a linebacker that has speed. There's not many guys that have that kind of speed. He can cover a lot of ground quick. He's a good, instinctive player. It's a privilege to have him back there."
OT Alejandro Villanueva
(on RB Le'Veon Bell) "He's handled this whole offseason/coming back to the team pressure well. There's a lot of pressure on him, because guys want him to get fantasy points. He's been a great teammate. He's been nothing but a good learner in understanding the play book to the best of his abilities. Today is a reward from our offense to him for his hard work and for dealing with the challenges of his contract situation."
(on the controversy this week) "I'm tired of the cameras in my face all the time. It's crazy. It's sad, because we had the Baltimore Ravens/Pittsburgh Steelers game, and everybody is focused on the pre-game procedures. I thought the team tried their best last week and this week to handle things right, but, unfortunately, we don't always get it right. This week, we gave a victory to Steelers' Nation – a well-deserved victory.
(on how the team handled this past week) "You can't put a grade or say it was good or bad, because there's a lot of feelings in this debate. There's a lot of points of view. There's a lot of miscommunication from the media and with the players here. I love my teammates. I love the organization, Coach [Mike] Tomlin, and the offensive line. I love coming to work every single day. I enjoy being a Steeler. We did the best we could. In the end, we were able to come together and put a good performance on the field. That's all that matters."
(on the crowd booing the Ravens kneeling for prayer) "At this point, this whole kneeling or standing up is a much bigger issue than what we're asking for as a league. We're trying to be conscious of social issues. We're also trying to be respectful of the flag. How it's being demonstrated is taking a much larger stage than the actions on the field. I respect every single player in the NFL. Every single citizen has their rights. I am not into the politics of the game. I'm just a football player."
WR Antonio Brown
(on being upset on the sidelines during the game) "We won the game today. (Reporter: "No issues, no problems?") It's like a kid being excited for Christmas. You work on it. You're expecting that play on that day. Sometimes, it doesn't work out, and you move on."
(on the offense in general) "We got the win today. We haven't won here in five years. So, it was great to get the win today and take the lead in the division."
(on whether this game was the most frustrating he can remember) "I'm passionate about the game. Anytime you work as hard, and you expect something out of the play, and it goes the other way, you just get a little frustrated."
(on the impact of RB Le'Veon Bell) "He wears the defense down and works the clock. He makes it tough for the defense."
(on possible regrets of his sideline behavior) "No regrets. We continue to move forward. (Reporter: Was there a good understanding on the sideline that you were wide open?) I don't know. (Reporter: Is there anything that could have gone better from your end?) We won the game. So, it doesn't matter."
LB Bud Dupree
(on the defensive play today) "[Ryan] Shazier did a great job of communicating and quarterbacking the defense well today. Everything was clear today. We had a lot of confidence and a lot of enthusiasm. It was a good, fun environment."
(on reacting well to the Ravens' snap count) "Just watching tendencies and having that trigger. You just have to make sure that you always have something that gives you an advantage."
(on winning the line of scrimmage) "We were just playing physical. It wasn't much of a scheme game. It was more of a one-on-one type game. It's always how it is when you play Baltimore. It was great."
(on having the starting front seven play in a game) "You know [Stephon] Tuitt takes up a lot. He's big, huge, fast, and strong. It's great to have him beside me at all times. He frees me up because, most of the time, they slide to our side. With Tuitt being there, we can come off each other, run games, and help free each other up."
(on bouncing back from last week's loss) "It was the No. 1 thing to come out with a confidence booster."
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
(on the offense) "The first drive where we went down and put points on the board, that was a good start for us."
(on his touchdown catch) "It was a play where I felt like the defense was sliding more to the edges, so I stayed in the middle and worked to the back side, and I was wide open."
(on the running game) "We've just got to give Le'Veon [Bell] the ball. Once he gets going, we're able to go, and we can start making plays down the field."
C Maurkice Pouncey
(on the running game and his pulling) "I love it. It makes me feel young."
(on Le'Veon Bell) "Honestly, he's the best in the league, and his numbers weren't showing it, so, obviously, there's been a lot of pressure on him to go out there and produce at a high level. We're real happy that he did it. We've got to do a better job of blocking on the inside and the perimeter for him to get big plays like that. We're going to keep working at it, and the good thing is that it's still early in the season, and we've got a long way to go."
(on the Steelers' opening drive of the game) "It was nice to push it 97 yards and get the field goal. I wish we could have pushed in the touchdown, but it was a nice drive, really."
(on the success of working on the perimeter) "Sometimes, it's good to get the big guys moving inside. They're so used to taking on double-teams, and when you hit them around the edge, we have a lot of fast guys and a lot of playmakers that can see the hole and get up field."
(on the pre-game) "I'm so proud of my teammates, even more than the win right now, that we went out there and represented the organization the right way and Steeler Nation. I can't be more happy with my teammates. It was awesome. I made a big-ass statement on Wednesday to you guys (the media), and that was from the heart, and I truly felt like that. I feel like as football players, we can make a difference, and it isn't on a Sunday or on a Monday or a Thursday. We can make an impact on a lot of kids' lives. Me and my brother have a foundation that we do every single year. Every single year, we give back probably $60,000 to our community. That's what's making a difference in this world."
(on the running game) "We've still got a long way to go, but it was a nice start, that's for sure."
(on winning in Baltimore) "It's AFC North football. (The Ravens) have a great defense. They've got great players that always make plays. It's a physical game. I'm proud to be part of this rivalry."
CB Joe Haden
(on the win) "We're happy just to come out on top of this game. Defensively, I felt like we played good. There were a couple tackles, a couple plays that we could have done better, but all in all, we played really hard and ran to the ball and tried to keep them out of the end zone."
(on the Pittsburgh-Baltimore rivalry) "It was exactly what I thought it would be. There was a lot of trash-talking. It's very, very competitive. They're both great teams that are kind of built from the same cloth, so it was just a battle."
(on the defense's play) "It's definitely something we can build off of. We're going to try to stack the performances on top of each other. Don't get too high when we play good and don't get too low when you play bad. Play consistent, a top-tier defense and just continue to play like this."
(on the difference between playing for the Steelers and playing for the Browns) "Well, Big Ben [Roethlisberger] has been here for a long time. You have consistency. A lot of these dudes have been in this rivalry for a long time. A lot of these dudes know what it is. A lot of this group has been in this environment together."
LB T.J. Watt
(on the defense) "I thought we played pretty well. Obviously, there were a few plays where we had some breakdowns, but I feel like we made good adjustments, and we're going to get into the film room this week and get it all figured out."
(on how he feels) "I'm feeling good. I'm just doing what I'm asked and just trying to do my best out there on the field, and I think it's working out."
(on the Steeler linebackers) "I think we're all clicking. We're playing really well as a unit, and I think that's what is helping us play really well right now."