STEELERS HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN
A lot to work on, but in terms of how the game unfolded, the significant difference is they got seven points off their turnover on the short field; we got zero off of ours," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "So that's the difference in the game. Usually, it is the turnover component and your ability to support each other on the other side of it or inability, and that was the difference in the game in terms of outcome. So, that's disappointing.
From a health standpoint, Alex Highsmith wasn't able to return. A neck injury of some description. I'll have more information for you obviously next time we come together.
Compliment those guys. They made the necessary plays; we didn't. I thought we fought in the second half, but to come up short on the turnover in terms of the points is the difference in the game.
What went into the fourth and two call and was that the primary call?
It was. We were down there. We play to win. We wanted to be aggressive. We just didn't get it done.
What did you see on the punt there at the end when they called on Christian [Kuntz]?
I was given an explanation. I don't know that I agree with it, but I was given an explanation.
What led to the issues stopping Bailey Zappe in the first half?
You know, they did a nice job early on in the game. We got out-leveraged some, you know, so you've got to give them credit.
What did you see out of Mitch Trubisky tonight?
I thought he got better as the game went on. Obviously, it wasn't the type of start we needed. They were really good on possession downs. They're collective, the things they threw at him and us. But I thought he improved as the game went on.
Mike, back-to-back games where the opposing tight end has a big game. What's been the challenge defending the tight end the last couple of weeks?
You know, we're minus some of our people in there and just trying to find the correct mix. And we've played some good tight ends, so that's kind of been a component as well.
With back-to-back losses to these teams, where do you go from here?
We get ready for our next opportunity next week. It's what we always do. Obviously, this stings but we'll be back.
At any point did you consider putting Mason Rudolph in the game?
What gives you the confidence that you guys can be back after two losses?
Because this is what we do. This is who we are.
STEELERS QUARTERBACK MITCH TRUBISKI
The call on that last fourth down, was the intent the whole way to go deep on that play, or was that something you thought you had you saw?
We had multiple options. The safety was favoring GP (George Pickens). I liked the one-on-one with Diontae (Johnson). I felt like I could throw a better ball.
Seemed look you guys had a couple chances in the quick-change game in the second half there and you weren't able to take advantage. Why do you feel like you guys weren't successful in those circumstances?
Missed opportunities. I have to play better. I feel like I let the guys down. Got to score off the turnover, couple of those fourth downs, the one in the red zone and the one ball to Diontae. I have to do better for the guys, for the team. It's disappointing. Missed opportunities. I didn't play good enough for us to win, and that's how I'm feeling right now.
The play before the long throw to Diontae, 2:05 left on the clock, third and two. Was there any conversation about running there? Usually the two-minute warning is your timeout and then maybe resetting or getting closer at least so you could try a sneak or something on fourth and short?
I don't know what they were talking about on the sidelines. I was in the huddle. I would have to go back and check with coach. I get what you're saying. We definitely had - I think we had our RPO on. Is that the one I threw to Diontae and got it to two yards?
I thought it was incomplete.
The play before?
The one to (George) Pickens over the... Okay. I'm thinking about a different one. I mean, regardless, the one to Pickens on the slant, I missed, so I mean, we had some opportunities. I mean, I liked the calls at the end. We just didn't make the throws. Didn't capitalize. Whatever they were talking about on the sidelines, whether it was run, pass, we understand we had an opportunity to run it before the two-minute, but we liked our call on third and two. I had George on a slant. I looked on the iPad. Thought it was going to be a little bit different angle coming out and I put it high trying to lead him up the field and it was a bad throw.
Before looking at tape, anything you can put your finger on why such a slow start?
They did a good job of disrupting the timing of some of our routes. We got in some third and long situations, which is tough against those guys. That's a solid defense. They do a good job of mixing up coverages, stopping the run, putting you in third and long, uncomfortable situations. They did a good job mixing coverages and contesting throws. Made it tough on us. We weren't good enough in the first and second quarter, and mostly starts with me. I feel like timing was a part of that. I just got to be better.
What did you see on the interception?
So Pat (Freiermuth) had like a bender. I thought he was going to bend in front of that safety a little bit, so ends up being a bad decision.
George Pickens appeared very frustrated on the sidelines. I know you're frustrated as well. Is that anything you interact with during game time?
I try to talk to G (George) on the sidelines. Obviously he's frustrated. We're all frustrated. Game didn't go down how we wanted it. Would like to get him the ball more, get him going. He's a special talent, and once we figure that out - and just everyone has to manage their emotions and we got to drive in the same direction in order to be successful. But he cares, man. He cares. He shows it in different ways and those frustrations come out, but everyone is frustrated. I talked to him. Gave him some time. We'll come back tomorrow and go back to work. That's all I know how to do, go back to work.
How tough is it to battle through those frustrations, especially when you guys are in a hole early on like that trying to climb out of it?
It's tough. It's tough. Everyone is frustrated, but as you can see, the game is close and the tide can turn very quick. I feel like in the first half things weren't going our way; we kind of got some momentum in the second half. That's what I just try to relay to the young guys who haven't played a lot of ball in the NFL. The games are going to be close and come down to the end. That's little plays that can turn the tide and momentum. You can't let your frustrations get in the way of what can be a big play to turn that tide and be there for the team. So we just got to continue to stick together, pull each other in, learn from our mistakes, and it starts with me being a better leader and getting the guys ready.
Where did that momentum start for you?
One of the touchdown drives, and then the defense getting turnover. We didn't score on that one, but then the blocked kick on special teams was a huge play we end up scoring on. The defense played a great game. That was a huge special teams play. I just got to play better to give us a better chance.
Were there looks they gave you that you guys maybe weren't as prepared for that might have made you look in the wrong directions or caught you off guard at all?
They do a good job with making it hard on the quarterback. On the short week I felt like we were well prepared. You just like to stay out of third and long situations, and that's going to be hard in the NFL. Third and 8 plus, it's going to be tough to convert. Got it going in the second half I feel like a little bit, but they're going to make it tough on you all the way down. I just thought we could be more efficient in other areas to stay out of those positions.
Two home losses to two-win teams. How difficult is it going to be to recover?
Just go back to work. Bounce back. Next week is in front of us. We go back to work. Learn from this and get better. We got to pull together and go back to work.
You guys talked about the work you put in in practice, and when it comes to the start of games, where is maybe the missing link? What's your view point on getting off to the starts you need to have the momentum early on?
Yeah, got to start faster. Have two good first plays and hopefully you skip a third down, but if you get a third down, you got to convert. We got to be better in situational football, and that's third down in the red zone. Whatever we're doing, I don't know, we got to change it up. The guys know the starting plays to start out. We're just not executing at a high level. Starts with me and the leaders on the team. We got to be better.
How do you deal with the fans' frustrations?
It's understandable. (We) played like crap in the first half. It is what it is. I mean, they're frustrated. We're all frustrated. But we did better in the second half to give us a chance. But I got to play better. That's the bottom line.
The flag at the end, Christian Kuntz, appeared that New England's was offsides and it was a false start. That spur of the moment, was your reaction that you get another chance?
I thought for sure we were going to get another chance. I didn't see exactly what happened, what Christian did to draw them offsides, but I just watched the Patriots player reaction and you could see that he felt like he was offsides, so to me it seemed like he was just based on his reaction. Didn't look like he did anything different to me. We don't talk about that. I mean, I just did, but it was one play. We had more opportunities than just that play to win the game.
What did Mike say to you guys after the game?
Pull together. Pull together. Go back to work. Got to step up.