Transcripts: Steelers Post-Game Quotes

Head Coach Mike Tomlin:It was a big time atmosphere at Heinz Field tonight. We got a lot of energy from our fans. Obviously, it was an opportunity to salute the great Joe Greene. It was just a great environment to work in. I think the guys just rode that emotional wave and did what was necessary for us to secure a victory. Obviously it was a big game for us but really we just did what we had to do. They beat us by 20 at their place. We evened the score. We won by 20 tonight, and we will move on. This kind of reflects the history of this series, and that's why it is so great. It is something that is good to be a part of. We have a lot of respect for those guys. It was great to get a win tonight. We will keep it in perspective and move forward. We had a number of injuries in the game. Ryan Shazier has an ankle injury. Troy Polamalu has a knee sprain. Shamarko Thomas has a hamstring injury. I think it's a different hamstring from the one he had about a month or so ago. You know how it is. We will assess these and move forward. There was a lot of effort from a lot of people involved. Obviously we didn't get started in the manner in which we wanted to offensively but a lot of credit goes to those guys. What I liked about our offense is that we continued fighting and obviously as the game wore on we were able to score touchdowns. They were the number-two redzone defense in football. To get down there and be able to put touchdowns on the board, I thought that was significant and it allowed us to win in the manner in which we did.

Re: Turnovers in the second quarter turned the tide for the team:

I didn't feel like the tide needed to be turned. I just thought we just weren't gaining traction in the early stages of the game. The defense provided the splash that created a wave that we rode. One week it's going to be the offense and another week hopefully it's going to be the defense and special teams. It was just a good team effort.

Re: James Harrison and how well he is playing after seeing his retirement a few weeks ago:

Saying a few weeks ago is a stretch. This guy has been here now for almost two months. I like the way you put that spin on it though. He is working hard on a daily basis. He is who he is. He is not a regular guy. He is James Harrison. He is getting up to speed and getting into shape and doing James Harrison-like things, which quite frankly is what we expect.

Did Joe Greene address the team before the game?

He did.

What did he say?

I will leave that between he and us. I am sure he would like it that way.

Is this one of those defining games, especially on offense?

It depends on what we do going forward, whether or not it is a defining game. Hindsight is always 20-20. It's a defining game if we make it one moving forward.

Re: Fumble recovery by Brice McCain and how it changed the game and how he and Antwon Blake are playing:

They are just young and hungry guys that have kind of earned their keep in this league as special teamers. I think they all have a desire to be great. I am talking about anybody that plays ball at this level. When they get an opportunity they don't take it for granted. They realize how precious it is. They just want to capitalize on it. Those aren't my words. Those are their words. Individually, they do realize the opportunity they have to play defense, and they don't want to waste it. They want to be significant reasons as to why we are successful and I respect that. I think that reflects not only in their play but in their work during the course of the week.

Re: Being more balanced on offense:

I've said from day zero we desire to be able to run it and throw it and to have a balanced attack. Read my transcripts. Nothing has changed.

Re: Ben Roethlisberger's performances the last two games:

He is doing the things that we need him to do, obviously, but I don't think any of us are surprised by anything that he does. We have been looking at it for some time. We appreciate it nonetheless but we aren't surprised by it.

Re: Polamalu going back into the game after initially hurting his knee and what happened with him at halftime:

I don't know what he got at halftime. I just know that he wasn't able to continue, and it became pretty evident to us at the half.

Re: Polamalu's injury:

It's a sprain. That's all I have at this point.

Re: Offensive line struggling early and responding:

We just got our traction. We talked all week about our offensive line. Those guys have grown up in this series. They have taken their lumps some. They were once young guys playing in this series. But now the group is three, four or five years in the league. They have played together. They have grown up in this series. Their play needs to reflect it and I think it did as the game wore on. That's what we talked about during the course of the week.

Re: Getting less penalties as of late:

It's just part of playing good football. You can't beat yourself if you want to be a tough team to beat. At the early stages of the season we were an easy team to beat, largely because we were beating ourselves. We respect that. We aren't going to take that for granted. It's a daily battle to keep the penalties at a minimum, not only in terms of some of those types of things that you talk about but technical things, penalties in the secondary and so forth. I thought we did a good job of being combative but doing it in the proper manner tonight.

Are you somewhat surprised about Martavis Bryant over the past two weeks?

I am not. Antonio Brown is playing at a pretty high level and gets a lot of attention, and if you are just competent you are going to opportunities when you are on the field and breaking the huddle at wide receiver with him.

Ben Roethlisberger:

This is a defining win for you this season, especially with the offense two weeks in a row with those kinds of performances.

It was a good one for us. Prime time, it was at home, an AFC North, physical opponent that we know and have faced many times. It didn't start out pretty at all. I've said it before, as long as we win that's all that matters. I thought guys played well coming down the stretch.

Re: Defense creating turnovers:

That's the key, it's not always that our defense is getting them, but we're capitalizing. We don't want just three points or to punt it back. So when we can take advantage of those turnovers, we just have to keep doing it.

After six touchdowns during two consecutive games, how does it make you feel when you are able to put up those numbers?

It means that guys are catching touchdowns and its fun because especially that last one I was so happy for Matt Spaeth. That was such a big play for him. I was just so excited for him. He has been around a long time and puts a lot of dirty work in. A lot of blocking. For him to get that big touchdown, I was just so excited for him.

Re: Martavis Bryant playing like a star:

He wants to be great. He puts the work in. He still has a long way to go. There are still some things that he doesn't do right all the time, but we're proud of him. He's making plays out there, same thing with Markus Wheaton. You put the ball up and expect them to make plays, and they did. If both of those guys can continue to grow and get better and put the work in at the practice facility like they are doing, I think that will be the key for them.

Re: The atmosphere of the stadium tonight with Joe Greene being honored:

It felt like old school early days of being here. The fans were into it. It was loud. It was a perfect night for football. To honor Mr. Greene was so great and it really was an awesome thing. We wanted to go out and put on a show for our fans and make Mr. Greene and all the other former players proud.

Was the touchdown to Antonio Brown drawn up to be a touchdown?

I believe the play was a third-down. If I'm correct in that it was really just to get a first down. Any time you get the ball into his hands he is something special. That's why I said earlier this week that the receivers that I play with, he's at the top of it. He is something special and he's fun to watch. I'm glad he's on my team, I'll tell you that much.

DE Cameron Heyward

General comment

We applied pressure and made them one dimensional. When we do that, we are able to set our hair on fire and we got some turnovers.

Has this team turned the corner now, do you think? Are you moving in the right direction headed toward the second half [of the season]?

I don't think there was a corner to turn. Just stay straight, deal with the ups and downs, and stay focused and welcome every opponent.

How about your quarterback [with] six touchdown passes in back-to-back weeks.

It's unbelievable. He's on a run right now and I'm glad he's on my team.

Can you go through how you turned the game with those turnovers?

Early on, we started hitting them in the run game. Then, we get into some longer second downs [and] longer third downs, we were able to set our hair on fire. [Jason] Worilds got a big play for us, Brice [McCain] got a fumble recovery. When we get those plays like that and force them on our side of the field where it puts our offense on a short field, we are going to be successful.

CB Brice McCain

What did [Joe Greene] say to you [during pregame]?

He said a lot of stuff. He said about Steeler football, coming in and whipping somebody's butt - let them know, stepping on them. You know Joe Greene. He's going to speak his mind. He gives the good word.

Can you guys do this on a night when you don't retire a Hall of Famer's jersey?

We are getting better every week as a defense. [We are] communicating. We are getting a good game plan and Coach [LeBeau] is calling great plays. We are just clicking as a group right now.

What does it say about this defense when you and Antwon Blake can shut down the Smiths?

We have talent. We've been playing this game a long time. It doesn't surprise us. It shouldn't surprise you because we work hard every day and the coaches see it, the organization sees it. We are going to continue to work hard. We are humbled about where we are right now. And we're going to keep battling.

WR Martavis Bryant

Talk about what it's been like to sit and watch for six games, then come in and have such the role that you've had.

Everybody has to wait for their opportunity. It's just when the opportunity presents itself whether you take advantage of it or not. I'm happy that I was able to take advantage of it, but, like I said, I still have a long way to go. I still have a lot of work to do. So I'm going to continue to work each week and get better.

They need a second guy and a third guy to step up. Do you think that it's helped the offense as a whole with the way that you've contributed specifically?

I think everybody has a part in it. Everybody looks at their game. Everybody works hard in practice. And everybody takes more emphasis in redzone. So it's just a whole team thing. Everybody is just working.

OT Marcus Gilbert

Re: Ben Roethlisberger:

You know, Ben, he's one of the best in the game. You expect that from him. He's been doing it for a while. You just expect that from him. When the running game wasn't going well, he picked us up and he made some plays. And we executed them well, especially in the passing game.

You told me earlier this week that this was personal. And that's all you said. Can you expand on that now?

I'm just glad that we were able to get this 20 point win over the Ravens. We responded well. They beat up on us pretty bad the first game we played them. But that was a good response, especially [from] our defense. That was a heck of a job. That's Steeler ball.

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