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Coach Mike Tomlin: You know, like I just told the football team, this is our bed, but I like how they’re laying in it. Not dead yet. Still got a pulse in this thing and we’ll continue to control the things we can control, playing winning football, preparing, doing the best we can. They did today and made enough plays to win, so we move on to next week and we’re hopeful that we’ll get the necessary help, but again, we make no excuses or have no explanations. We put ourselves into this position, but I like the way they’re dealing with it.
How did dealing with your situation change in the past three weeks?
You know, we’re in single-elimination football already in my perspective. It’s playoff football for us already and has been for the last two weeks. Again, there’s a different sense of urgency, but it’s one we’ve placed on ourself. We’re not looking to blame anybody, we’re just dealing with it the best way we know how. They’re staying together, they’re working hard during the week and they’re making enough plays to get out of stadiums with W’s and that’s what it’s about.
Is it the matter of making the play here and there that’s changed this team?
That’s all it is. I know that sometimes when you lose you look for deeper reasons why but, every week I come up here and tell you it’s a play here or a play there. You’ve got to make a play. You’ve got to make significant plays at significant moments. When we’ve lost, it’s because we haven’t, when we won, it’s because we have. We had that same football team at fourth-and-five in Baltimore with a chance to end that game in regulation, and Ray [Rice] beat us inside and had a 50-yard or 40-yard play, and they send the game in overtime and we lose. We had a similar situation out there today and we made the necessary play. That’s what this game of football is about, that’s what it’ll always be about. I know sometimes that’s not the answer you’re looking for but it’s really just that simple.
Is it a relief to the defense that they pitched a shutout in the fourth quarter?
I don’t know if they’re looking at it that way, I know I’m not. We just need enough plays to win. Style points, we’re way past that, we’re just trying to stay alive.
Did something kick in with
LaMarr Woodley in the second half? He seems to be playing better.
He’s been that kind of guy since he’s been here. His rookie year, he came on late in the year, last year late in the year, playoffs he was playing good football. He’s a guy that’s on the rise at the appropriate time and that’s what makes him a good player.
Could you give us an update on
He’s just beat up you know, hamstrings and so forth. We’ll do the best we can to get him to the party, he’ll take care of the rest. You know if he’s got a chance he’s going to show up for his team. He did today, but it was not comfortable by any stretch.
Was Harrison close to not going?
No, same guy. Same mentality. He played with one arm today, but he played pretty good for a one-armed guy.
He made a few plays for us. A young guy kind of taking advantage of opportunities. Of course, he was afforded more of an opportunity because of what
Brett Keisel’s been going through. He made a few timely plays for us. He’s a quality young player, he’s going to be a good player, not soon enough for us, not soon enough for him but we’re seeing strides week in and week out. We’re excited about what he could be. He helped us today which is good.
In the beginning of the game, [Andre] Frazier was out in the huddle instead of
James Harrison until James Harrison showed up. What happened?
No, he was just going to stay out there until he saw James [Harrison]. James [Harrison] was over there getting his arm heated up. Dre [Frazier] saw he wasn’t on the field. He was just going to cover so we had 11 on the grass until he showed. There was no indecision about whether 92 [James Harrison] was going to play or not, he was going to play, but Andre [Frazier] was just doing what quality backups do. He saw the guy that he plays behind not on the field and he took his place until he was replaced.
Joey Galloway need more time learning the system?
Yes, given some of the things going on at wide receiver of course,
Mike Wallace had a laceration to his knee during the week, Hines [Ward] has a few things wrong with him, we felt like the backups needed to be multiple-position players, guys capable of playing more that one spot. Tyler’s [Grisham] been here all year. We’re comfortable with his ability to handle multiple positions from an assignment standpoint. Joey’s [Galloway] been here three or four days, not as comfortable. We’ll get him back in the lab and hopefully next week, he can be a multiple-position guy and hopefully that will give him an opportunity to help us.
Was that incomplete pass to Derrick Mason in the fourth quarter reviewable for a fumble?
I was told that I could challenge it, but if I did, it would be ruled as an incomplete pass, so why challenge it? That’s what I was told. I’m still trying to figure that out.
Ziggy [Hood] caught a break on that last one.
Man, we need a break or two don’t we? We’ve had our share of the opposite.
You made a change in the secondary with Deshea [Townsend], how do you think it worked?
You know, we’re looking for guys that make football plays. Deshea [Townsend] played pretty solid a week ago, made a football play down there in the red area. We wanted to reward him for it, but all those guys are going to play. You can see that we’ve got multiple packages with three corners and a safety and sub-package football. We’re going to need contributions from all those guys, I think they understand that and they know that. The big thing is that they’re in the right frame of mind in terms of being ready to deliver for us. I liked the way they fought today, I liked the way they were around the football, they didn’t play tentative today. That’s what’s going to be what’s required as we chase hopefully some January football, but our emphasis and our attention at this point is preparing and ultimately playing the Miami Dolphins. One shot, one kill football for us.
Were the patterns based on substitutes or the other team?
No, it was definite pattern based on their personnel and situation.
Do you anticipate having Troy [Polamalu] back?
Come to the press conference on Tuesday, I’ll give you the MRI update, or not.
Are there any other injuries?
Some minor things, of course Hines [Ward] is miserable, a few others, but nothing significant at this point. A lot of the preexisting things, Brett Keisel, stingers, Hines [Ward], hamstring, James Harrison, bicep, but nothing new, no.
We just played ball. I shouldn’t have thrown it, we were completely wrong in every way in except that we scored a touchdown.
Does it feel like playoff football right now?
We’ve been do-or-die for a while now. We fight to the last minute. I think we’re the cardiac kids or something. We’re out here barely winning these games, but a win is a win, it doesn’t matter how you get it.
Re: The deep pass to Mike Wallace when they jumped offside.
You assume that, that was the call even though I thought they were offside earlier in the game and they didn’t call it. When I saw the flag come out I knew I could take a shot and Mike made a great play.
Re: Mike Wallace making three nice catches today.
He’s done a great job every week he keeps impressing. He keeps getting better, and like I said the sky is the limit for him.
Re: On going over 4000 yards on the season.
It means nothing. We won the game. It’s an honor, but it’s never been about that, the individual honors, the accolades, it’s about this team winning football games.
Re: On beating Baltimore when you are battling neck in neck.
It’s good to beat an AFC North team. For us we are just trying to win football games.
Re: Playing winning football the last two weeks.
I think we left a lot out there offensively whether it was missed throws on my part, dropped passes, protection mishaps whatever it was we left a lot out there. I think this was a great team game offense, defense, special teams. That’s what we need this time of year.
Was there a little panic on the called back interception?
Honestly, Mike (Wallace) was my first receiver and when I went to throw it to him for some reason right in my view I saw the ref throw the flag. He ran a curl and got grabbed the heck out of him, I had to spin out and I knew they were going to call a hold or something. I thought I might as well throw it deep. If you see me I’m back peddling not worried because I knew it was going to be called. We got them offside early, so it went from a five yard gain, to a 45-yard gain.
WR Santonio Holmes
We came out there and did what we had to do. We had a few ups and downs, but that’s the course of football. The game is played [for] 60 minutes. The best team won the game.
What does it say about this offense that for the first time ever you have a 4,000-yard passer, two 1,000-yard receivers and a 1,000-yard rusher?
We’re having fun this year. Like we’ve been saying all year, we control our own destiny. It’s us that are losing these ball games. There is no one else outside of what goes on in this organization that are losing these ball games. To get out of a performance like we have been receiving, you just have to capitalize.
Do you feel like a win like this builds momentum?
Like I said, we control our own destiny. All we can do is win these remaining ball games. Whatever happens, happens. We do need a little help from whatever team to lose a ball game [and] we need to win.
Did you and Ben [Roethlisberger] make an adjustment at the line on your touchdown just before the half?
It was playing football. We were in a two-minute situation. I looked to see if he was looking at me. He obviously was, threw the ball [and] we made a play from there.
We knew that they were coming, but we weren’t hot at that time, so I shouldn’t have looked at that time. But we were playing football in a two-minute situation, and we ended up making a big play out of it.
What do you think about the notion that you are a shootout-style of team?
That’s the nature of football. If the defense is not getting the job done, the offense has to step up. If the offense is not getting the job done, we need our defense to carry us. And special teams definitely played a big part in this the game.
Stefan Logan has definitely helped our team out by giving us great field position on punt returns and kickoff returns.
LB LaMarr Woodley
With James [Harrison] hurting, were you expecting to be the guy? Were they sliding protection?
I’m always looking to be the guy. I felt like, during runs, they were going to come at James a little bit [by] putting the tackle over there, [and] during play action plays, they were going to double-team me. James went out there and played an excellent game even though he was hurt. It didn’t seem like he was hurt. He did a great job putting pressure on the quarterback.
It was great to see him pull it down. It would have been even greater if he would have scored. But the good thing is the defense was finally able to get a turnover. We were able to put our offense in good field position.
It’s nice to get a win, but you are still alive for the playoffs.
That’s always a good feeling. We’re alive. We put ourselves in the situation, but we have to just go into Miami and take care of business. Like I’ve been saying the past few weeks, everything else will take care of itself. The only thing you can control is what you control – and that’s the last games you have.
Do you think you got more pressure on the quarterback?
I thought we did a good job putting pressure on the quarterback. Ziggy Hood did a good job getting in there. I got in there a few times. Harrison got in there a few times.
Ike Taylor got in there a few times – I cost him a sack because I jumped offsides, but I think overall we did a good job getting there.
Are you going to be scoreboard watching a little bit?
Yeah, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking. When I go home now and watch a little football, you know how they talk about who’s still in the hunt and everything.
Comments on Ziggy Hood
He’s out there having fun, having a good time. It’s good to see those young guys going out there, making plays and doing their thing.
DE Ziggy Hood
It felt like all this preparation for this week has paid off. We went in there when [Brett Keisel] went down, we went in there led by Coach Tomlin’s “the standard is the standard.”
Did you feel like you guys were able to get a little more pressure on the quarterback today?
I believe Coach LeBeau called great plays that allowed us to get back there. As long as we execute on them well, we did our job.
Comments re: James Farrior’s interception
That was great because we needed that. I think that set the tone for the game.
Not only did you get the win, but you stayed alive for the playoffs.
Whenever you can get the chance to stay alive, obviously, it makes you want to work harder, knowing that the season is not over yet. [You] just keep pushing, come back next week and do it again.
Are going to be scoreboard watching?
The main thing we need to concentrate on right now is us getting better as a team. We can’t worry about what’s going on because at the beginning of the season, if we had won all the games, it wouldn’t have been a problem.
How is it to not have to talk about a fourth-quarter collapse?
It’s good. It’s bad for the team in the sense that we have a great offense. They read those statistics off at the end of the game – two, 1,000-yard receivers, three 70-reception receivers, a 1,000-yard running back. We know if we just do our part it gives us an opportunity to win football games. And today the guys up front played exceptionally well. I think Ike [Taylor] really came through with some big plays for us. I’m happy for him for what he’s kind of gone through this season. It was exciting for us today.
Re: The defense’s ability to make big plays
It was good, especially to see LaMarr [Woodley], who’s been playing exceptionally well probably since mid-way through the season to come through with the way he’s been playing. It was big for us. Also, just to get some turnovers. James [Farrior]’s big turnover in the first half, and also the fumble recoveries, were things we were missing. It just shows that if you get those, games are different. If you think about the play that they made, it kind of changed the tide and momentum. So for us today to come back and make some plays is big.