What the Steelers Said After Beating Ravens to Reach Playoffs

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) sits under center during the first quarter of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Jan. 9, 2022, in Baltimore.

Head Coach Mike Tomlin

(opening statement) "That Steelers-Ravens, I can't say enough about the men in that locker room. Their collective will was on display. It was on display throughout a hostile environment today. Obviously, dire circumstances and so forth. A lot of competition in the stadium. Distractions, potentially on the outside. They were able to process all of that and make the necessary plays to secure a victory. I'm just appreciative of it, particularly some of those young ones. Najee [Harris] sustained an elbow injury and was able to get himself back into the game and make significant plays for us. Pat [Freiermuth] had an opportunity to get a first down. He came up a little short in terms of lacking a little awareness there, and we had to punt the ball. He came back and made a significant play. Ray-Ray [McCloud] had an opportunity to secure field position for us in overtime. He didn't. He came back and made a play. The growth and development of these young guys throughout this journey and the negativity that's usually associated with growth and development did not take away from their efforts. They smiled in the face of it, and I'm just appreciative of that. And, obviously, I'm appreciative of our quarterback—QB 1 [Ben Roethlisberger]. He's been smiling in the face of adversity for 18 years. So, even though it's not surprising, it's still appreciated. The turnovers were significant. Whenever we come in here, we better win the turnover battle. We're not getting out of this stadium unless we do. I'm just thankful for their efforts, and I'll stop talking." 

(on what this says about his football team) "It's been our story all year. You guys buried us when we were 1-3. We've got a lot of warts, but we're here, and that's been our position since September. I'm just appreciative of that mental fortitude being displayed by those men in that locker room." 

(on whether Ben [Roethlisberger] gets worked up in big situations or if he's calm) "He's the same when everybody else gets funny. Everybody else gets a little tight, he's the same guy." 

(on the feeling in the locker room) "You can't describe it. You have to be a part of a group like that, and then you know what it is. Just know it's special and it's sweet. It wasn't three out of four, we had to win three individually. That was our focus. We were living week to week, and we did what we had to do."

QB Ben Roethlisberger

(on how this win ranks among all of his games against Baltimore) "It's pretty special. Do you expect anything different in this rivalry? It's special. Anytime you come to this place and get a win. People always ask me where is my least favorite place to come and play? It's always Baltimore, and it's for a couple of reasons. It's because of how good the team is and its defense. And this place is always crazy loud. The fans are ruthless, which I think is a compliment to this place and how hard it is to play here. So, it's pretty special to get this win." 

(on how the team continues to struggle all game but make big plays when the chips are down) "We just like to stress people out early, all you guys and all our fans at home. But seriously, I have no idea. But I do think it shows something about this team, that you can continue to fight and never give up. You guys have asked me a million times, why, what's the issue – it would be nice to figure it out now." 

(on how Diontae Johnson got so wide open on the third-down play) "We called a return route. He'd been running that quick shallow route, and I've said 'til I'm blue in the face, Diontae on in-and-out breaks is un-guardable. So, he put his foot in the ground and returned right out of there and got to the sideline. I had tunnel vision on that play. I had a pretty good idea I was going there the whole time." 

(on thinking that this was potentially his last game but now potentially it's not) "It was crazy because my dad actually texted me last night and asked how I was doing. I said, fine. For whatever reason, it didn't feel like it. I think last week was so much more emotional, and it took it all out and made me feel like, 'Let's go play.' So, at no point during this game did I feel like this was it. I'm just glad I didn't have those feelings." 

(on describing his feelings on what this rivalry means to him personally) "I told a lot of those guys [on the Ravens] that I am not going to miss playing them. Football is hard and a very violent game. But playing these guys has always been one where when you wake up on Monday morning, you are hurting. It's never dirty, it's just good old-fashioned football. Someone on the sideline asked me if this is always how these games go, and I can only think of one or two times when it wasn't something like this. In all of the games that I have played against these guys, I'm just so thankful for this rivalry and thankful for the games and the players that I've gotten to play against in this rivalry. And I'm just proud we were able to get the win today." 

OLB T.J. Watt

(on the feeling in the Steelers locker room) "Everybody's dancing, it's a cool feeling. We put so much hard work into this, and it is an awesome feeling to win the game. We actually had to win to make the playoffs." 

(on his celebration of the sack – did he think he tied the record or broke it) "I don't really want to get into it. I was just happy to get another sack." 

(on the emotion of watching that final drive unfold) "Anytime No. 7 [Ben Roethlisberger] has the ball with the opportunity to tie or win the game, we always feel confident. Not only him but the whole offense. A lot of guys stepped up to make plays tonight. It's something that we see, and those guys practice every day, the two-minute drill. Great to see them drive down the field and get a score." 

(on what it means to be at the top of the list for sacks in a single season) "I don't know if any of this has hit me. It's not just myself. It's so many other people involved, great players, coaches, schemes, and a lot of unselfish guys in the locker room that allow me to make plays. So, that record is not just mine."

(on when did he become aware that a half a sack was taken away) "I'd say it was in the second half. At some point, at some time." 

(on the key for the defense to stop Baltimore Ravens running game after Latavius Murray's long run) "Yeah, it's always difficult. We saw that he got the one big run, and we knew they were going to keep attacking with that. That's just something we have to do a better job of stopping the bleeding sooner. We were able to do it towards the end of the game, and that big-time speaks to the adjustments that the coaches were making. But also, the guys stepping up. It's about understanding about being more balanced in certain situations." 

K Chris Boswell

(on sending the team into the playoffs) "I'm just happy for Ben [Roethlisberger], you know, if this is his last year, we're sending him to the playoffs, and this team deserves it. We've been battling. I'm just here to do my job and kick it through the pipes, and I was fortunate enough to do that tonight." 

(on what the field conditions were like) "Conditions were great. (Laughter). Rain, wet, soggy field. Baltimore has a beautiful field here." 

(on if the coaches asked if he could kick the field goal) "No, you know, that's their decision. As soon as they yell 'field goal,' I'm out on the field. And if not, just stay right on the sideline." 

(on if he thought about matching up against one of the best kickers in the game, Justin Tucker) "He's for sure the greatest kicker of all time. You know, I love playing them. And Tomlin loves, you know, leading up to this week, it's kind of, we know his range. As soon as you get across the 50, you're in his range. So, it's just always fun to compete against him, and you know, kind of, not really compare yourself, because we'll never have the same field goals. We'll never have the same, you know, attempts or anything, but it's just always a good, I guess self-measurement against one of the greatest of all time and seeing where you stack up against him." 

*TE Pat Freiermuth *

(on the throw from Ben Roethlisberger on the third-down conversion) "It was a perfect throw. It was where it needed to be, and it was easy to catch one on the throw like that. So, it's all good." 

(on if he beat himself up after not getting the first down on the previous drive) "Oh, for sure. I had a flashback to the Lions' game. You know, it's a learning process for me. I think you know, having an opportunity to bounce back on that third down, having the coaches and Ben [Roethlisberger] still trust me after coming up short on the first down, you know getting that third-down conversion was big. Just trying to keep going and learn from that."

DT Cameron Heyward

(on the feeling in the locker room at the end of the game) "I think we're all excited. What was it, three weeks ago, or two weeks ago, when we played Kansas City? But you know, to see the difference in that locker room, it was, you could hear a pin drop that week after that game. But, guys are excited. Guys have worked their tails off. It hasn't been perfect, but we have grinded out these wins, and we're just hungry. Just give us a shot." 

(on how special it is that Roethlisberger gets to extend his career) "I told him after the Cleveland game, we got one more, let's see what we can do. I know Ben was like, 'Alright.' Every time we're in a game like that, it comes down to the last drive. We got No. 7 as a quarterback. We feel like if we give him a shot, he's going to produce." 

WR Chase Claypool

(on his performance) "Coach [Matt] Canada drew some stuff up for me, and it was awesome to get those touches." 

(on why he thinks those plays worked today) "It was something in the gameplan. Just how [the Ravens] gave us looks last game. I think Coach Canada saw an opportunity." 

(on having a big role in the second half) "It's great to bounce back and kind of shut out the noise and hush the criticisms. A good feeling." 

(on seeing Roethlisberger perform on a day when the offense was struggling) "I think, especially as the season was coming to an end, you realize how special he is. When he walks on the field, away game or home game, the crowd goes crazy. And then to see him make some of those plays and passes is super awesome. I'm very lucky to see that." 

(on whether he was the main target on the touchdown catch) "It was supposed to go to someone else. They missed the audible. I was fortunate enough to fall into that touchdown."

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