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Pittsburgh Steelers Postgame Transcripts 10/23

Pittsburgh Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin and select players comment on their game against the New England Patriots on Sunday, October 23, 2016.

Mike Tomlin, Head Coach

I'm going to be real specific about why we came up short, because we were real specific in terms of what needed to happen prior to the game. We realized that our margin for error was minimal. We left some red-zone possessions out there. Offensively, we threw an interception when we were down there, we missed a field goal. You can't do that versus good people. I thought we had several opportunities to make combat catches and by that, I mean receivers in one-on-one-like situations with defenders. We didn't make enough of those. You need to make those when you're playing against a group like that under the circumstances that we were (in). On the other side, we didn't come off blocks and make enough tackles in the run game. The back fell forward. We realize by the structure of how we call the game, there was going to be a little bit of that. But, not enough of guys coming off of blocks and making tackles. And we gave up two big chunks to Gronk (Rob Gronkowski) there in the second half that I thought changed the complexion of that half of play. And really, in a nutshell, the game among other things, kind of came down to those things I outlined, things that I outlined to the group prior to us stepping into the stadium, because you knew the margin for error was going to be minimal. Have to make combat catches, you can't waste red-zone trips, you have to come off blocks and make tackles in the run game, you can't give up explosion plays. We did. That's why we lost. We'll evaluate it tomorrow with the sole purpose of getting better for our next opportunity. Not much to speak of from an injury standpoint. We had couple guys went down with bumps and bruises. Specifically, Antonio Brown had a quad, but he was able to continue in spurts. The rest of it is just natural stuff that happens. 

Re: On stopping the run the last two weeks:
I'm not concerned about the last two weeks. I'm concerned about what just transpired. And like I just told you, we acknowledge schematically that we were willing to bleed a little bit in the run game in an effort to minimize big plays. In doing so, we would have to come off blocks and make tackles—not enough of that for us to be successful.

Re: On if he gave any thought on going for it, instead of kicking the 54-yard field goal:
I did not. He made a similar kick over a year ago in that same spot on the same field when we tried him out. And, the weather conditions were worse than they are tonight. We were down there, we had an opportunity to make it a one-score game. I took that chance.

Re: On Landry Jones:
I thought he did some good things. The red-zone interception was unfortunate, but it wasn't going to be about Landry Jones' play for us tonight. It was going to be about the challenge that was presented to us in the manner in which we needed to play collectively in an effort to overcome that challenge. Largely, we were unsuccessful. 

Re: On how Gronkowski was able to get loose on those two plays:
He made the one-on-one plays that I talked about (that) we didn't make enough of on the other side of the ball. You know he's capable of that. We respect him and his talents. It got to the point in the game where we were taking some calculated risks in an effort to win. And he made a few plays.

Re: On Ladarius Green:
I'll let you know the next time we sit down. I'm just talking about what transpired in the stadium. 

Re: On if Brown hurt his hip:
No. Like I said, he had a quad. He was able to finish and work in spurts. 

Landry Jones, Quarterback

You seemed like you had a lot going with Cobi [Hamilton]. Was that just getting to work with him a lot being that you practice as the number two a lot of the time?
Yeah, most of the time that's the guy I'm throwing the ball to in scout team and stuff like that, so we have a good rapport, and I thought he did a heck of a job tonight. He came in there and made some plays for us. We have had some good rapport in practice, and I think it showed out there. 

Coach Belichick makes a lot of players uncomfortable with what they do defensively, so what did he do to take you guys out of what you wanted to do? And what were you guys having success with?
To be honest with you, we moved the ball up and down the field. That was no issue. The issue was in the redzone. We kicked field goals instead of scoring touchdowns. And then we had that interception on like the second drive of the game and missed a couple field goals and then had a holding penalty on a touchdown pass. So, everyone had a hand in it. We have got to solve this redzone issue for us to be the offense that we want to be. 

What did you feel like they did well defensively? What did you not to well offensively?
We just didn't execute [in the redzone]. It's just plain and simple. We just didn't execute down there. 

What happened on that first interception in the end zone?
That was just a bad ball. A.B. ran a good route. I threw a crappy ball. 

What is your overall self-evaluation? What did you feel like you did well today? What are some things you wish you did better?
It's tough to answer that question right after a game. So we will watch the tape and tomorrow I will be able to help you out with that one.

Do you feel more comfortable in terms of what you were doing personally in terms of the offense and how you ran the offense?
Yeah, I thought for the most part I played decisive. Were there plays that I wanted to have back? Absolutely. 

Do you feel that you guys were right there? That it was just a couple, you know not on the red zone, but also a couple mishaps away from being a one or two point game?
We seemed like we were in the ball game and then in the later parts of the fourth quarter, we were still kind of scrambling. I think we were down 11. So we were only down two scores. 

On that play (the interception) what did you think you saw?
Well, A.B. was matched up 1-on-1 and I wanted to take a shot on third pdown to the end zone. Good play by a good corner. 

RB Le'Veon Bell

Do feel like Todd Haley set you guys up to have success tonight on offense?
Yeah, he definitely did have a good game plan. Like I said, we moved the ball well. It wasn't the game plan. It wasn't, sometimes, even execution. I think we were executing well. I think we moved the ball well. We just got to the red zone a lot of times and turned the ball over. You can't have that. You can't shoot yourself in the foot [and] put yourself in first-and-20. I mean, it is a small margin for error against a team like that. They are a good team too. When you are hurting yourself, putting yourself in first-and-long [or] second-and-long, or whatever it is, it's going to be hard to overcome that because they are good. 

What did you think of the Patriots defense as a unit?
They were pretty good. They play a lot of man-to-man. [Jamie Collins] is a very good player. It was me and him head-to-head a lot. They are a good group. They are well coached. They played well up front. They don't get out of their gaps. A really sound football team, and that's why they are good.

Does this team just need to get healthy after the bye?
Yeah, we definitely do. Obviously, we want all of our players, but we don't look at like that. We don't try to seek any comfort. We can go out there and win with the players we have out there. Obviously, it's going to always be good to get your players back, but we still felt like we could win this game.

WR Antonio Brown

First of all, how are you feeling?
I'm pretty good. [It is] a thigh bruise.

What happened? How did it happen?
Playing football, I made a catch and guy came and kneed me in the quad. 

Is it fair to say that you can some up this game as missed opportunities? You seemed to have changes and had to settle for three [points] instead of six and could not capitalize on a couple of turnovers.
Absolutely. We have to find a way to put points on the board. We had a couple of trips to the red zone, didn't find a way to put points on the board and when you are playing a good team, you have to score in those situations.

Does this loss sting maybe a little bit more because it is the Patriots?
It stings because we were right there. We left a couple of plays out there, a couple of opportunities where we could have had things go our way. 

LB Jarvis Jones

What did the do with [Rob] Gronkowski? Did they try to lull you to sleep in the first half?
Yeah, they did. They didn't throw the ball to him a lot in the first half. They came out in the second half and had two big plays that set them up for a touchdown. They were huge plays in the second half and ended up why the game transpired the way it did.

Do you know what's wrong with the run defense?
We're not coming off of blocks. We have to come off of blocks and make plays. I don't know another way to say it.

Do you feel like there is added pressure on the defense?
Regardless of what the offense has going on, we on defense, we hold ourselves to a standard. The last couple of weeks, we haven't been that defense. We have to get it corrected.

During the bye week, what are you going to focus on?
This game right here. We have to go back and look at ourselves and then see how we can get better.

OT Alejandro Villanueva

You definitely had some situations today where you got behind the chains and out of sequence.
Yeah, any time you change something so significant on offense, there are going to be some friction points. Obviously today, we didn't perform like we should have, especially myself. I got a false start that is definitely something that I have to get better at. 

How did Landry [Jones] handle himself in the huddle as the leader of the offense today?
I think he did an outstanding job. I think he was very confident. I think he was making a lot of plays. I think he didn't get the full support from the rest of the offense as a group. And he definitely did his job. Obviously, he made some mistakes. He'll learn from them. But I think as an offense we could have done a lot more to help him out today.

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