What the Steelers Said After Edging Ravens

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Left: Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger; Right: Steelers OLB T.J. Watt

Head Coach Mike Tomlin

(opening statement)

"I am going to tell you what I told my team. We did not play well today. We lacked detail in a lot of areas. When you play good people, you are going to be up against it when you don't play good. We can't allow the emotions of the moment for us to miss that fact. I am proud of these guys. I am proud of the fight. I am proud of how they supported one another. But it is important that we don't lie to ourselves. We did not function well in a lot of ways today. Baltimore had a lot to do with that. I give them credit, particularly in the early stages of the game. They utilized their bye week well. They threw some things at us that we had to adjust to. I thought we were able to get some things settled down at the half and kind of get back into things. Injuries are a part of it, it is significant, but I thought losing DE Tyson Alualu in game and losing CB Mike Hilton prior to the game, those are two critical run-down defenders that made it tough for us to function at times because [the Ravens] are exceptional at running the football. We acknowledge that, we can bleed a little bit, but the story is beyond that, we lacked details in some areas, so we have to work to get better, to fortify ourselves for the next opportunity. Like I always say, it is good to do that with a win. But, just much respect to Baltimore, they bring the best out in us. This rivalry is what it is. Hopefully it was entertaining to football fans worldwide."

(on the difference of the offense's performance from the first half)

"They threw some things at us. They are a group that was coming off of a bye, to be honest with you. I knew that it could be tough sledding early on, and it was, not only offense, but in all three phases. We had to adjust, man. I thought we needed that 12 or so minutes at halftime to gather ourselves and recalibrate, eliminate some things on our menu and highlight some other things on our menu that were going to be critical to the challenges that would present us."

(on Lamar Jackson's interceptions)

"We have respect for him, but we do not fear him. So, we are not surprised by anything that transpired."

(on the Steelers' linebackers' performance)

"If you are not willing to leave linebackers in the game, they are going to absolutely gut you running the football. We recognize that, we are trying to help them. That is why we draft linebackers, particularly outside linebackers in round one. They have to be high pedigree guys. They have to be guys that are capable of rushing left tackles and maybe even covering a receiver in the slot. We place a value on that."

QB Ben Roethlisberger

(on the Ravens' defense)

"Well, we were able to get them in a personnel [group] that I think we hadn't shown much before, so I think it made them not be able to do as much. They still tried to throw a couple blitzes here and there, but really we were able to dictate a little bit more of what we wanted by doing that in the second half."

(on the resiliency of the Steelers against the Ravens defense)

"You know, [the Ravens are] a really good football team. They're ranked really high on defense for a reason. They got after us, and it wasn't pretty. I don't think at any point in this game, offensively, was it a pretty game. First half wasn't pretty, second half wasn't pretty – nothing about this game was pretty from our perspective until the game was over, and we looked at the scoreboard and saw that we won. At the end of the day, that's all that matters."

(on the difference in offensive performance from the first half to second half)

"In the second half, we kind of just went to a 'no huddle' with a personnel group that was newer. We've got to get guys in matchups. It's a really good defense. They're really good. They create pressure. They're really good in the secondary and back-end. So, just tried to get guys in spots and call some plays. Everyone made plays today in the second half. That was really satisfying."

(on winning the turnover battle)

"I think we had one turnover, and I know we got it from them. That was one of the big things coming in. I didn't want to throw the ball to them, obviously. We don't want to turn the ball over. We want to always protect it and possess it. Other than the one, I'm really proud of the way we did that, especially with the adverse conditions and the weather we had early."

(on changing plays at the last second)

"We were just changing plays. I know throughout my whole career, people say I always play playground backyard football. Today, it was in its truest form. That's why I tip my cap to all of the skill guys. I basically would tell them, 'Here's the protection, and everyone else do this.' There were plays when I would say, 'Hey, JuJu, you run this. Ray-Ray, you run this. Ebron, you run this.' We had guys not blink an eye. To me, that is just so awesome. Coach Tomlin always says, 'Don't be a robot.' They didn't have to be a robots, they were just able to do things on the fly. That's what made me most proud today."

LB T.J. Watt

(on T Ronnie Stanley's injury)

"I first want to say, I just saw the play, the play where [Ronnie] Stanley got hurt. I just want to let Ravens fans know there was nothing intentional there. I feel for a guy like that. I hope he makes a full recovery. Nothing like that is ever intentional. It's just sometimes that happens on a football field. I feel for you."

(on who came up with idea for three linebacker sub package and why it worked so well)

"I think when you go against unique offenses, you have to do you unique things on defense. It was just another way to get another mobile player that can play the run and the pass, have more guys on their feet that protect the quarterback scrambles, and help in coverage and the run game as well."

(on emotional exchange with defensive coordinator Keith Butler in first half)

"I think it's just football. You kind of have those moments, and they are very candid moments on the sidelines. Everyone wants to be successful, and stuff like that just happens in football from time to time."

(on lack of detail spoken to by head coach Mike Tomlin and whether that was reason for Baltimore's rushing success)

"Give credit to those guys, they did a great job of executing. We knew it was going to be a challenge especially coming out of bye week for them, they were going to have some new wrinkles. We said going into this game it was going to be all about execution and knowing our assignment, and every guy knowing his job and not trying to do too much, and I'm sure the film will tell a story."

TE Eric Ebron

(on some things the offense did do differently in the second half)

"We made adjustments. That first half, we came out with a gameplan; they punched us in the mouth. We had to make adjustments. That tells you, that shows you a good team. I've been a part of no adjustments. I've been a part of, throughout my career, things where we think we got it. We came out here, and we made the proper adjustments. We looked within ourselves, and we came out here and fought. We fought our [butt] off."

(on how Roethlisberger helped change the game in the second half)

"That's kind of what I came here for. I came here for that – Ben Roethlisberger. That guy that has trust in his players that are on the field, and he wants to go down there and win, and I've been begging him for it. You know? I'm asking Ben, 'Ben, you want to win? You want to win. Come on, we have to do something.' And we did that. I'm just so proud of this team, it's ridiculous."

(on if he's ever been 7-0 and what this win says about the team's mental toughness)

"Day in and day out ... a lot of people say you all beat the Ravens, you all really are legit. I'm like, 'but we went 6-0, how are we not a legit unit?' So, now that we beat the Ravens, more people understood that we're legit, and we're coming with our A game every single time. That's the players we have in this locker room. That's the kind of team we have. That's the kind of coaching staff we have, and we're just going to come out here and continue to bring our A game. We look adversity in the face, and we attack it, and that's why we came out victorious."

(on how big the TD after the second-half interception was for the team)

"Offensively, we had to figure out where their weak point was, and we did a great job in just executing drive after drive after drive coming out in the second half, figuring out their weak points and trying to attack them. It was just a play. We called a play, and it opened it up, and it works, and touchdown. I ain't going to complain about it."

DE Stephon Tuitt

(on if he thought a team could run on the defense like the Ravens did, and his thoughts on the two stops on the final drives)

"This wasn't our best defensive performance game, at all, but those two drives that we did those stops on were the most important. We were in an adversity situation and we overcame it. They're a good team. We need to do better defensively in these moments, and we will." 

(on what challenges they faced today against the run game)

"They have Lamar Jackson, and then they have a lot of different type of backs who can get back there and run that option-type of offense. So, they did a good job of executing it, and we have to do better making sure we stay in our gaps and stop them." 

(on what it says about the team to overcome a 10-point deficit against a team fighting for the division)

"They're a good team. They're a great team, not just a good team – they're a great team. To come here, away, and to steal a win, especially against a tough opponent and a division opponent like the Ravens, is big." 

LB Alex Highsmith

(on his interception)

"We had one of our packages in, that I was in, so I knew when that play started they were coming back to that because they ran the same play on the first half and I didn't drop deep enough and they threw it over my head, so I learned from that play and just dropped deeper. The ball just fell right to my hands."

(on the mood in the locker room post-game)

"Yeah it's super electric. It's one of those five star matchups, one of our rivalry games. So, going into it, we just knew it was a big game, so we were super excited. Coming here, beating a great team like Baltimore and coming out on top. We are super elated about it. Going to celebrate this win tonight and then get ready for the next opponent."

(on purpose of using three OLBs on the field at the same time)

"It's kind of be able to stop the pass and handle the run as well, so you know it's definitely a good defense we put in this week. I feel like we executed it very well this week. We've got to get back to the film on Monday, make adjustments and get ready for next week."

LB Robert Spillane

(on Baltimore's running success)

"They have a variety of running attacks, with obviously the best running quarterback the NFL's ever seen, so that adds another wrinkle to everything that we do. We respect him, and we respect the running backs. At the end of the day, like I said, it's not about style points, it's not about for how many yards they rushed, it's about who got the W and who got the L. So, they played a great game on the ground. We are about to come out of this stadium with a win."

(on if his INT-TD return was the easiest he's ever had)

"I'm not too sure about that. I had a pick-six in college, and I played running back in high school, so I guess you could say you could say a 1-yard run might be easier than reading the eyes and then breaking on the ball."

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