What the Steelers Said After Tight Win Over Ravens

Left: Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (7); Right: Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin

Head Coach Mike Tomlin

Opening statement:

"I instructed the guys to say very little. I have also instructed the guys to say very little today. It's put up and shut up time for us. That's just the state that we're in, and we talked about it all week. I appreciate the efforts in terms of putting up, but we've got a short week. We've got to go to Minnesota. I'm appreciative of the efforts. It was much needed. I'm appreciative of the atmosphere that Steeler Nation provided and working in the comforts of Heinz Field. I'm appreciative of the Ravens. It takes two to tango. They bring the best out in us. Those games are always like that. I don't think anybody that's looked at them over the last 15 years or so are surprised by what transpired in terms of how the game was played. We are appreciative of the efforts and the things that produced victory. We realize we've got a short week, and we are going to get to work. B.J. Finney hurt his back. He is being evaluated. I'm sure we'll have some other things. That's all that I have to report at this time."

You say the Ravens bring out the best in you. Is that that competitiveness, the ability to execute in critical situations?

"Just the competitiveness. Whether we like it or not, I'm talking about us and the Ravens. We're tied together. There've been some significant games. It's about the men that have played in these games, the standard that they hold the current players to. Guys like Ray Lewis and Ed Reed and others, guys on this side like Alan Faneca, Troy Polamalu, those gold jacket types that have had an opportunity to watch for 15 years that really kind of set a standard in the series that we all have to play to and uphold, and we are appreciative of that. Hopefully, we made those Steeler alumni proud with our efforts tonight."

What did you do this week to kind of bring that physicality back? Was it a point of emphasis?

"Like I said during the course of the week, it was more ceremonial than anything. One day's work is not going to change your trajectory, but the point needed to be made because we didn't uphold the standard a week ago, and so that's what it was about for us."

Did it surprise you that they went for two?

"No, it did not. They aggressively play analytics. From that standpoint, they're predictable."

There was speculation about Ben Roethlisberger this week, the way he just blocks everything out. I assume you weren't surprised by what he did in this game?

"No, not at all. His relationship with that organization and the men… [with Terrell] Suggs, for example. I told the team during the week, I had a ring-side seat as a young coach watching Brett Favre and Warren Sapp, and Ben and Suggs' relationship over the years kind of reminded me of that. It's just a lot of depth to this matchup, and I'm appreciative of it. Hopefully our guys are, and they understand that when we play them."

You had seven sacks in the game. You held Lamar Jackson to 55 yards rushing in the game. What was the key to keeping him in check with such an elusive quarterback?

"Live every down. That guy is an unbelievable challenge. We were fortunate to do what it is you said we did."

Chris Wormley seemed like he just had a nose for Lamar Jackson.

"I told Worm[ley] when he got here, I said, "Man, when a team trades you within the division, they're telling you what they think of you," so I hope he always plays like that when he sees him."

The tactics of your defensive call on the two-point conversion, looked like it was pretty much a zero blitz. Is that something that you coach up all the time on?

"Yes. We start with the premise in two-point football, and there's no secret, so I don't care about sharing it. People are not going to run it down there. We start with that premise."

QB Ben Roethlisberger

This is a big win, and this is important, especially the response after the way you guys played last week.

"Huge win. Any time you play that team, that rivalry, that's a battle, and that's what that game is. That was kind of the perfect Ravens-Steeler game, if you will. Huge win for us. Especially at home against that team. Especially after last week. Great bounce-back by everybody. Just so proud of everybody."

Hoping you could speak to the relevance of the report that says that you've basically told everybody that you're going to be done after this year.

"I haven't told everybody that. Honestly, we just got done with this game, I'm exhausted, and we play in a couple of hours, it feels like. My focus is on Minnesota and what we have to do to get ready. I'll address any of that stuff after the season. I've always been a one game at a time and a one season at a time person, and I'm going to stay that way."

Is it hard to do the one game at a time and not think about how this might be your last season?

"I've been doing it a long time. I've enjoyed this game, and this game specifically, and winning at home in front of our fans, it's awesome."

In the first half, the Ravens defense was kind of constricting you guys, almost limiting up the box. What was the key in that second half to be able to change that and open up the field for you?

"We went to a lot of run-pass options. The line blocked. Naj ran really hard. So did Benny. When he got it to the outside, guys made plays."

You guys took the lead. How nerve-wracking is it because you can't really do anything about it after you have already scored a touchdown. You have to sit there and watch. How tough is that?

"A lot of praying. They jumped offsides on purpose to get that first down to avoid all the timeout stuff. Smart play, I guess. At one point before that play—I think it was before that play—Naj said, "Hey, if I get a chance, do you want me to score and take a knee?" We're thinking about those things as the game is unfolding because all of us have seen their games. You see what happens when you give Lamar too much time, so you do get a little nerve-wracked."

Would you have wanted to go for two? If the role was reversed, sure. I love it. I don't have much energy left for an overtime."

This is the second time you've played Lamar Jackson. I don't know if fun is the right word. What was it like to compete and go drive for drive in the fourth quarter with a guy with that magnitude?

"He is special. I've just got to see when I get home if my son still thinks I'm his favorite quarterback or if he liked that guy better. We'll see."

OLB T.J. Watt

You tried to give Ben Roethlisberger a run for his money by not practicing all week.

"If I could do it all over again, I'd practice. I'm sick of running around in my backyard. I'm sure my neighbors think I was crazy this week but I'm glad I was able to play this week. That was the goal, and I'm glad we were able to get a win."

Did you feel like you were able to hold them to that two-point conversion pass just a little to get it outside?

"I don't know. [Lamar Jackson] throws from all different crazy arm angles all the time so you can never tell. I'm not going to take credit for anything like that. He's been throwing off of different angles his whole career and that's something that we knew coming into this game. I'm just glad the guy didn't catch it."

Did you have to be careful not to over-rush that play?

"I don't know. I'm not going to go into detail about how I had to rush, but whenever you're going after him and there is no one in between, you have to be very careful with how you approach him. Going backwards, you can be a little more aggressive, but he can make you look silly real quick, so you have to be careful."

DT Cam Heyward

Was that a typical Ravens-Steelers game?

"It's a battle, and we've got to be ready for sixty minutes and almost plus, but I can't say enough about the fight that so many different guys had tonight. It's a team effort and it took a lot out of us, and we've got to rest up because we've got to go to Minnesota next."

Are you happy with your defensive line?

"My defensive line was awesome today. I can't say enough about what Mon[travius] Adams [Sr.] did coming in on short notice. His nickname is Mon, but to come in on such short notice and play in a Baltimore Ravens game and play the way he did was pretty special. How about Chris Wormley today? I'm just proud of that dude. They traded him, and he made them pay."

WR Diontae Johnson

You guys weren't on the field a lot in the first half. Did you feel some momentum changing in the second half here to make some drives?

"We started off a little slow. We didn't come off the ball like we wanted to in the first half, but like you said, in the second half, we turned it around. We dialed in on the little details that we needed to focus on. That momentum carried throughout the rest of the game, and we were able to pull out the win."

It seemed like you kept building and trying the running game and it eventually started to be more effective. Did you feel that?

"Yes. The more you keep pounding the ball, eventually something will break open. And then we started to wear them down up front. Our line was doing a great job coming off the ball, pushing the D-line back, and we were able to get those five- and six-yard gains. That was wearing them down, and we were able to keep capitalizing on it."

Cam Heyward said that Ben Roethlisberger got the game ball today. Was this him at his best?

"He plays well all the time, in my opinion. He will throw picks here and there, but at the end of the day, he is a great quarterback. A Hall of Famer in my eyes and I'm pretty sure in everybody else's eyes as well. But at the end of the day, it's a team game, so we all played as one. We knew the end goal was to obviously come out on top and we just have to keep it up."

DL Chris Wormley

Any extra amp being able to do that against your former team?

"I think that no matter what the week is and who we're playing I want to be able to perform well, but it's extra special to do it against the team who traded you away."

Were you surprised they went for two, and what was the defensive plan trying to figure out what they were going to do there?

"Being with the Ravens for three years, they are a very analytical team, and I'm guessing that's what they went with on that two-point play. It was a good play and Mark [Andrews] was open, but T.J. [Watt] caused the pressure and Lamar kind of dropped his shoulder a little bit, threw an awkward pass, and didn't complete the pass. I wasn't surprised because I knew that that's how they like to run things there and they went for it."

Related Content