Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin (10.31.21)

Opening statement:

“Whew man – AFC North Football. I’m just really appreciative of the efforts of the guys in that locker room there. Everybody just played a selfless game. They put the collective in front of personal agendas. We fought. That’s the only way you get out of those environments, particularly with some of the adversity we faced today – some of which was created by us. Some of which was created by me. The fake field goal was a bad call because we poorly executed it, so I take responsibility for that. I appreciate the guys backing my play and fighting for 60 minutes and delivering a victory and making it a side note. Awesome win. Hopefully we grow from this. Every time you step into stadiums you do. It’s good to grow when you’re doing so with a victory. (K Chris) Bos (Boswell) is injured obviously and in concussion protocol. (RB Kalen) Ballage I think has some ribs. Other than that, just natural bumps and bruises associated with play. I can’t say enough about the efforts of the guys today. The run game component of the game was going to be big. We had to stop their run. We had to run it. Largely, I think we answered the call in that regard and I think that is, more than any other reason, why we were victorious.”


On the secret to containing the run game:

“There is no secret sauce. You have to come off blocks. You have to hit, wrap, and make tackles. You have to get multiple people to the football. We did that today.”


On whether they forced Cleveland to pass more than they wanted to:

“I don’t know what their intentions were. I know what our intentions were. We were trying to minimize (Browns RB) Nick Chubb.”


On whether there was any chance to place kick in the second half:

“We’ll never know, will we?”


On what led to the decision to attempt the fake field goal:

“We were just playing to win. We were playing aggressively. The ball was on the left hash. We had a look that we liked. We just didn’t execute it very well. The ball wasn’t snapped in a timely manner and it allowed them to take a picture of it. When that happens, you’re not going to be successful. Again, I take responsibility for it. I shouldn’t have called it unless we were ready to run it with detailed execution and it’s obvious that we weren’t. That’s on me.”


On what his awareness was of what P Pressley Harvin III could do with the kicking game, including kickoffs:

“I was aware of it. I hope that you never have to use it, but I was aware of it.”


On both touchdowns being scored by rookies (RB Najee Harris and TE Pat Freiermuth) and what that says about their maturation:

“We’ve all talked quite a bit about their maturation throughout this process. We’ve got four rookies playing significant roles on our offense. It wasn’t smooth sledding early on, We have seen consistent signs of improvement. Maybe you guys will start to believe us.”


On Steelers LB Devin Bush and LB Joe Schobert:

“Not only those guys, but just a collective. That’s an awesome run team and they’ll really challenge you. Largely, I thought we stood up. The only time we didn’t was schematics when we were trying to catch play-pass and I was putting the defense in less than ideal circumstances. When I put them in a run stop structure, they stop the run all day. They deserve credit for that.”


On QB Ben Roethlisberger’s performance and whether not having a kicker changed what he was doing:

“Any of you guys that know Ben know that doesn’t change his mentality. He plays like we have no kicker anyway. He’s an Ohio boy, so he is trying to win when he comes home.”



On the team’s resiliency:

“It is days like today that give you an indication of what you could be. We’ll continue to write that story positively or negatively, but today was a good day.”


On how the coaches’ mentality changes when Boswell got injured:

“I don’t know that it did. You guys that watch us intimately know how we practice. We practice in an aggressive nature with a bunch of situational ball. I don’t think anybody had any level of concern about where we were. I think we had nine 2-point plays on our ready list today because we just have that level of respect for that element of situational ball. We were not less than prepared.”


On whether this was the most balanced the offense has been this season:

“I’m not trying to compare. It was enough today to win and it was needed today. Hopefully it’s not as we move forward. Hopefully our greater days lie ahead in terms of the things that we do, whether it’s offensively or as a whole collective.”


On whether the quarterback draw on the 2-point conversion was the initial plan considering Roethlisberger’s mobility:

“We are playing to win. The calculated risk taken associated with the pursuit of victory, we do not run away from – we run to. [Roethlisberger] is the ultimate competitor. I think we all kind of mirror him in that regard.”


On Schobert’s forced turnover late in the fourth quarter:

“Great play by Schobert, just steeped in fundamentals. He did a great job ball searching – linebacker versus wide receiver. We fought and fought and came out of there with it. Obviously a big-time play.”


On allowing just one long run and if that was the key to winning today:

“It was and the one that we gave up was on me. It was schematics. We were trying to catch a play-pass. Sometimes you take the calculated risk trying to catch a play-pass and you realize that it might give them an explosion run. That wasn’t on the guys. I just thought the guys did an awesome job in combating their run game.”


On whether Freiermuth was the number one option on the touchdown:

“We were reading that side of the field. It was him and (WR Chase) Claypool. We like both guys in the matchup. They were the big personnel group and playing man-to-man. We liked both guys on their individual matchups. Obviously he made a big time football play.”


# # #