Transcripts: Steelers Post- Game Quotes

Head Coach Mike Tomlin:Not the outcome we wanted. I compliment the Ravens on their winning performance. There's some disappointment with our performance but such is life. We'll accept responsibility for that one like we have all the others. Appreciate the men's effort. We just got beat tonight. We didn't make enough critical plays (and) they did. Penalties at times hurt us. But we're not going to make that excuse in terms of that determining the outcome of the game. They had more splash plays. They flipped the field with big plays down the field, whether they had a penalty throwing the ball down the field or they made the reception. They got the necessary turnovers that we didn't get. It defined the outcome of the game like it always does when these two teams come together. But I appreciate the efforts of the men. Appreciate the support of the fans throughout the course of this season. This group grew a lot with a respect to effort, but we came up short tonight.

Does missing a player like Le'Veon Bell magnify some of the mistakes?

You play with who's healthy. We're not going to let that be the story of this game. We've had guys that have missed games every step along the way. We had three different defensive starters go down in Week 3 at Carolina. Such is life in the NFL. That's why you have 53 men on the roster. (If) somebody goes down the next man steps up. You move on and there'll be no excuses. I said that at the top of the week and I meant it. We're not going to lean on that. We're not going to allow you to push us in that direction. It simply is what it is. We didn't make enough plays (and) the Baltimore Ravens did.

Re: Settling for field goals instead of touchdowns in the first half:

It's an element of it but we were down by one at the half. You don't like settling for field goals. We acknowledged it at the front of the week that this was a stingy red zone defense. They were No.  2 in the red zone in the NFL. We knew it'd be tough sledding. But to be down one at the half we didn't feel negative about our positioning. You can always look back with 20/20 vision and talk about things that were significant, but at the midway point we were in a close football game.

Did Baltimore do anything surprising with their pass rush?

No they didn't. As time became a factor it became more effective but that's just an axiom (or) a rule of football. They did a nice job.

Re: Splash plays and penalties being a common denominator in the team losing this year:

It's probably the common denominator when anyone loses.

Should a penalty have been called when Martavis Bryant was tripped on his route?

I'm not going to get into my opinions because it's irrelevant. It's not going to change what transpired.

Re: Disappointment:

Disappointed because our intentions were to be world champions and that's something that we're not going to be this year based on the result of this game.

Re: Field goals early:

We always want to score when we get down seven points. We know that we can count on six (Shaun Suisham) to get us three, but it's frustrating. They're number-two ranked red zone defense for a reason.

You've played them a million times. Anything that you guys hadn't seen?

No, I don't think so. Not that I can recall, just sitting here. They sat back in some zones and just counted on their front four or fifth guy to win, and I just didn't make enough plays.

Was there any one play, two plays, that you look back on and say if you could have them over again, to play that really would've made a difference in your standpoint?

Anytime that we turn the ball over its frustrating. And that's why I want to apologize to the fans, my teammates, to the organization, the Rooney's and to coaches. It's just frustrating and I wish that I could apologize individually to everybody.

Why do you feel the need to do that?

I didn't play well enough. I didn't play well enough to win and guys look at me as the leader and the quarterback to make plays and to do what it takes to win the football game, and I didn't do that today.

Did you sense the absence of Le'Veon Bell most when the protection broke down and there wasn't that option?

I take my hat off to those three guys that played. For guys that really hadn't had many reps all year in light of actual practice, for what they did, I think that they ran hard and protected when they had to and I think that's definitely different when you're not in game action to always be on the same page with someone that plays like I do. That's kind of unconventional at times, but I take my hat off to those guys. They played their butts off and they weren't back there asking me questions. They knew what they had to do.

Did what you thought you had to do and what you thought you could do change a great deal?

We definitely changed some things. With our protections, we tried to do some different things, but it's not like that is the reason that we lost the game. It's not like we just re-tooled the whole playbook. I just didn't make enough plays.

When you had to leave the game, what exactly was it? Was it your neck?

Yeah it was just a little whiplash on my neck. I was laying down there and wanted to make sure that I could feel everything and it was more just whip-lash on my neck.

So your shoulder was fine?

Yeah, my shoulder feels okay. It'll probably be sore tomorrow.

Can you go through the Suggs pick? Tell us what you saw?

They brought a guy off of the left and then Tate went to pick up his guy and there wasn't an extra guy and (this is just from what the coaches told me what happened) when he went to pick up his guy, he kind of dipped under so Ben couldn't get through to make that initial block, so I spun away from the first guy and then tried to get him the ball. And that was the guy that was right there and I tried to get the ball and I pulled a little too much, too much heat on the high ball for him. That's just something where he's not used to playing with me. I have to know better and get him a better and more catchable ball, and Suggs made a great play.

Was he trying to pick up Darian Stewart?

Is that who it was? I think he dipped on him or picked from what I was told. He couldn't get the guy clean. I just have to give him a more catchable ball, so that's on me.

Do you think that once the sting of this loss wears off you can look at this team and see that it is moving in the right direction?

This is going to sting for a while. I wish that I could apologize to everybody. I'm really proud of the way a lot of guys played this year. We had a lot of young guys step up. Those guys got a taste of the playoffs for the first time and a taste of what this feels like. Hopefully it motivates guys and drives them. I know that it will drive me to want to come back and do better and do whatever it takes to win.

When you look back on your individual season will you be proud of what you have accomplished?

I don't really care about what I did. I'm proud of the way that this team bounced back from the last two years and got back to the playoffs. Obviously it didn't go the way that we wanted it to, but it only ever ends for one team the way they want it to. I'm proud of the way a lot of young guys stepped up, the way that the offensive line played this year, the way that Le'Veon Bell played and Martavis Bryant played and Antonio Brown. I'm proud of the way that those guys played and will be happy to look back and smile that I could be a part of such a great group of guys.

Where were you trying to go on the Terrell Suggs interception?

To the back. He was the check-down because the protection broke down. Markus Wheaton was lined up in the slot and matched up on a linebacker. He was going to the sticks and going to break. I thought we had a shot with him. I just felt that pressure from the back side so I didn't have a chance to get it off.

How good can Martavis Bryant be once he learns the complete offense?

He is a guy that when I say I'm proud the way people played, he did some great things every week and kept getting better every week. The touchdown that he made was a great play on a great defender. He's going to learn and grow. Markus Wheaton is going to grow and keep learning. He really got better as the year went along as well. I know they all want to try and keep up with Antonio Brown so I anticipate them all striving to be as good as him.

You mentioned a few times that you want to apologize to everyone, is that you putting too much on yourself with the absence of Le'Veon Bell?

It's just that we lost the game. I don't think that I played well enough and feel that it is my fault that we lost the game.

How disheartening of a loss is this considering how well you have been playing?

Extremely disappointing.

Is this the last game for you in a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform?

Time will tell.

Do you hope to be back next year?

I don't know, time will tell.

Did you take any extra moments walking off the field today?


What will go into the decision making for you on whether to return?

Honestly, we just lost the game and I don't think I'm prepared to think about that or talk about that at this time.

What can you say about the maturation of some of the younger players in the secondary?

This team really grew throughout the season. Not just in the secondary, but the whole team.

Can you take anything away from this season?

Time will tell. Sometimes you just have to pay your dues. The Super Bowl teams I've been a part of, it wasn't the first time we made the playoffs that we won the Super Bowl. We went to the AFC Championship game and lost. People have different reactions to those types of adversities and our team grew from that. We had a bad season in 2007 and then in 2008 we came back and won a Super Bowl. Not to say that this is the same group of guys, but this is a hard lesson for us to learn from and hopefully grow from.

Do you think this franchise is heading back in the right direction of competing for Super Bowls?

Absolutely. The way the team progressed and each position grew. The way the secondary grew, the defensive line came together and the youth and experience we are going to have on the line and at linebacker. Our offensive line has a lot of great young talent and all over the field.

OT Kelvin Beachum

You kicked field goals early. If you had punched them in, do you think it might have been a little different?

We have to convert in the red zone. We know what we have to do. We didn't do it.

Anything stick out as to why?

We just needed to convert in the red zone.

How much did the offense change without Le'Veon [Bell]?

We were still able to run the ball. We did some of the things we needed to do with Josh [Harris] in, and Ben [Tate] and Dri [Archer]. There still was room for more. We just didn't take care of business.

Was him not being there a factor in pass protection tonight?

You'd have to talk to the coaches about that. I just know that when we had a chance to protect, we didn't do a good enough job doing it.

How disappointing is this?

It's extremely disappointing. It was a division opponent that we know we could handle. And we didn't take care of business today. But kudos to them. They did a good job. They came in here and won in a hostile environment.

G David DeCastro

General comment:

Pretty bummed right now. We felt we were on a roll. We felt we could play with anybody. And we know that we can play with anybody. But we just didn't prove it today.

Comment about the season:

I think we just stuck together. We have a good group of guys. It's just unfortunate the way it finished out. We did a great job finishing the season. We had all the confidence in the world coming out. Give the Ravens credit. They outplayed us.

DE Cameron Heyward

Did you come in with maybe a little over confidence?

Nope. We knew what this team was capable of. Our defense is based on execution, myself included. When 11 don't execute together, it puts someone in a bind. And we weren't able to cover it up.

Do you think it was playoff nerves?

Not at all. There were still chances for us to win the game. We just didn't get the breaks we wanted.

When you look back at some of the third-and-longs that they converted, was that one of the key issues there?

That was in the second half. In the first half, I thought it was the run. And then we just were playing catch up. We stopped the run in the second half. We just didn't get the job done.

What do you take away from this season?

I don't know right now. I haven't thought about it. This team's not going to be the same next year and it breaks my heart.

When you look around this locker room, there are some guys that aren't going to be here; some veteran guys.

I don't know what this team is going to look like. I just appreciate everything they do. It's just tough to think about.

Do you at any point think about that? This might be the last time playing with Troy [Polamalu]; this might be the last time playing with James [Harrison].

You'll never know how much these guys sacrificed. You just don't know what's going to happen in the future.

Is that why you had long hugs with Brett [Keisel]?

Yeah. He's meant so much to me. It just sucks going out this way. I'd love to have him back another year, but we just don't know what that entails.

LB Jason Worilds

This must be extremely disappointing:

Yeah, it is. Take nothing away from them. They came out and executed [and] made some plays.

Do you look at this as possibly your last game, or do you think you'll be back next year?

I'm not looking at it at all. I'm really dealing with the fact that we lost a game that we felt we were capable of winning. The rest of the stuff will come.

When you look back at this season for your team, was this a step in the right direction?

Definitely. It's a new group of guys. For us to get this far with this group of guys is a different approach to like two years ago, when there was a whole different feel to the team. For us to get here with this team, we can only improve.

Do you need much to get over the top?

Start early [and] execute. We know how you need to get better, prepare ourselves and grow more cohesively [and] we'll be fine.

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