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Mike Tomlin, his players talk about the loss to the New Orleans Saints

Postgame quotes from Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and his players on Sunday, November 30, 2014

Head Coach Mike Tomlin

I just finished addressing the team and really (an) unfortunate performance (and) not the type of performance we needed to secure victory. The bottom line is we did not have enough cohesion at different points in the game to overcome our weaknesses to secure victory. We were getting off the field defensively in the first half in the early stages of the football game. We weren't putting touchdowns on the board. We were kicking field goals or even missing scoring opportunities. You can't have that versus an explosive offense like New Orleans. And then once we started getting it going, particularly in the third quarter, we couldn't get the necessary stops for whatever reason on defense. They hit on some big plays on us. We had a stop, we had a defensive holding (and) things of that nature. So as the offense got going we couldn't get the necessary stops (and) not enough splash in special teams. You're minus-two against these guys and they don't turn it over. When Drew (Brees) and those guys don't turn it over they're difficult to beat. Not the type of performance we wanted. We'll look at it, make the necessary adjustments (and) find the cohesion necessary to be effective and win tough games in December. We didn't get it done today. From an injury standpoint Brice McCain had a hamstring (injury). We'll evaluate him. Brett Keisel had a tricep injury (and) we'll evaluate him and see the availability of those guys. I'll give you a further update on those guys on Tuesday.

Big passing plays being an issue all season and if it's execution, personnel or strategy:
"We have to keep a lid on it. I'm not going to search for excuses. They got behind us some. It was significant, particularly when it occurred. We have to be better than that if we want to win."

Did Ben Roethlisberger's hand injury in the first quarter affect his throws?
"I'll let him speak to that. There was a banging on his hand in the first half of the game but that happens probably every other weekend. I don't know how significant it was in terms of his ability to throw the ball in the manner in which he'd like."

Did you consider using a timeout when the Saints had the ball at the end of the first half?
"I did."

A few weeks ago saying that he was searching for consistency in the team and why was there none today:
"We had it at different stages but none of it together with the type of cohesion on offense, defense (and) special teams working together to maximize the natural ebb and flow that occurs in football games. What I mean is in early stages of the game we were getting off (the field) defensively and we have to capitalize on that offensively and we didn't. We kicked the field goal and those type of things. When we fall down offensively, we turn the ball over, like that tipped pass. We have to step up there and get the necessary stop defensively in terms of sudden change to put the fire out. If we hold them to a field goal there, (then) do the math. That affects the end of the game (and) the outcome of the game. We played well at different times in the game but never enough together to secure victory."

Seven losses dating back to last season against teams with losing records and will you go back to see if there is any common thread:
"At the appropriate time, but right now we're living in the moment. We're trying to get ready for the games in the stadiums that we're in. We're singularly focused on this opportunity today. We're going to get singularly focused on next week's opportunity tomorrow."

Playing so well the last two home games and why was today different:
"How many ways do I need to tell you in terms of my interpretation of how the game has unfolded? It's not going to change. I'd be happy to professionally any answer any question you have but I'm trying here."

QB Ben Roethlisberger

Did your hand bother you at all after you hit it?
I'm sure every quarterback has that happen every game. Does it hurt? Yeah. Did it affect my throwing? No.

What happened on it?
I just hit something.

Was it a helmet?
I don't know.

Does that explain the high throws?
I don't think so. It was just one of those days that the balls were coming out high. They tipped a lot of balls, more than usual. I have to make throws early on that I didn't make today and I usually do.

Was it the wind at all?
It was windy out there, but that's not an excuse I'll ever use. The ball was spinning good, it was just high.

What did you see on the interception in the end zone?
They had everybody doubled and we didn't have a check-down because we were in max protect so everybody was in. It was either take a shot or get sacked. It's hard to throw it away when everyone is down the field. I saw the corner had his back turned to Darrius Heyward-Bey, I threw it up to let him make a play. The safety made the play, I didn't. I didn't throw it far enough.

Re: Saying earlier in the week that every game this time of year is a must win:
We have a four-game schedule. It was five and we lost. You can say we're 0-1, but have a four game schedule. We have to take care of our business and play better in all three phases. On offense I need to play better. We'll stick together and get this thing going.

Did you feel better physically in the second half than in the first?
As the game progresses you are always going to take shots. I thought the line played great tonight. Like I said the hand did not affect the way I played the game.

Is there any comfort knowing the Ravens and Browns both lost also?
I didn't even know they did.

How do you explain the inconsistency especially against teams with losing records?
They are tied for the division lead. Who cares about records. You can throw records out the window every week. It doesn't matter, it's all about the team that goes out on the field and how well you play or don't play. We didn't play well enough today.

You've played on championship teams. What is the common thread that is missing from this team?
I can't say that we are not that team. We are still moving, still going. We are where we are and we are going to keep fighting. The big thing for us is to stay together and I don't see that being an issue at all.

RB Le'Veon Bell

Could you talk about what it means to you to achieve such an important milestone?
It's a very individual accomplishment. It's not something that a lot of people are able to do. So God bless that I am able to do that. I give a lot of credit to those guys. They wanted me to get there and they knew that this was a game that I could possibly do it. I've got to give a lot of credit to those guys and the coaches obviously too.

Re: Talk about the frustration of losing a game like this after performing so well and winning at Tennessee and having so many great performances, especially offensively by the team recently here at Heinz field:
We moved the ball well throughout the whole game, and turned the ball over. That was a big no-no. Especially a team like the Saints, you can't give those guys any charity at all and you've got to give a lot of credit to the Saints' offense. Outside the penalties, we weren't able to get the ball inside. You've got to score points and we didn't do that in the third and fourth quarter.

Re: You've got to feel good about not only being able to run the ball effectively, but also, catching passes out of the back field, that really seems to be a great added dimension for you and the team:
Coach Tomlin always preaches on the backs and the tight ends getting open and if we're not comfortable with the first few reads, me or Heath Miller have to check down. But obviously we're both doing a good job at being open for the check downs and enough pressure when the time is needed.

Four games to go and right now the team is sitting at 7-5, so it may take 10-11 wins to get into the play offs.  Are you guys looking at it as we've got to run the table here or just take it one game at a time? What's the mindset?
We know that we can only control what we can control. We missed an opportunity tonight. It was a great opportunity for us to get another win and we didn't do that. We're still not going to look outside in other stadiums or look for help outside of ourselves. We still control our destiny so we just have to take it one game at a time. As long as we do that, we've got another big game next week. We've got to take care of business. We can't look forward to four or five weeks ahead, we've got to worry about the next game on the schedule.

As you said, this is disappointing, a missed opportunity, what do you feel that everybody needs to do to improve? Obviously, this is a setback.
We've just got to watch the film. We made a lot of mistakes. Turnovers were huge for us. There were a couple of times that we got penalties and situations that it was a big third down and we've got to stop on defense they got the down and ended up scoring. A couple of times we were moving the ball and we hurt ourselves with a holding call, the false starts, so we've got to work on not hurting ourselves. That's the biggest thing. We've just got to learn from that. We'll go through practice and watch the film and clean up some things.

CB Ike Taylor

General comment
It's tough. [It was] one of those days. We have another opportunity next week. So, what I put on film I have to eat it. I have to correct it and get back and play better.

What did [Kenny] Stills do that allowed him to have so much success?
It was back-and-forth. When you play inconsistently, that's what happens. Starting with myself. Put it this way, [with] a future Hall of Famer quarterback like Drew Brees, man, you have to be on your P's and Q's. Like I was saying earlier during the week, he's the captain of that team, and it showed today. If he sees something, he's going to hit it. He doesn't miss a lot. Regardless of how much you feel like you've got him rattled, he stays in the pocket, he has good feet, and he did what he needed to do today.

Was that because you hadn't played in a couple of weeks? Do you feel like you have to get back into game shape?
Game shape, no. I think Coach Lebeau said it best. Your eyes can be your best friend or your worst enemy. So, when your eyes aren't where they need to be, just for that split-second, that's what happens. Fifteen-yard plays become 69-yard plays. And, like I said, Drew Brees is not going to miss.

TE Heath Miller

General comment
Our defense was doing a great job early, getting off the grass, stuffing them. And we didn't take advantage of it. I feel like we kind of dominated the first quarter, and you look up, and it's 6-0. They make the one drive they put together and they have the lead in the second quarter. I wish we would have started faster, but we didn't make enough plays to win the game.

Is there any consolation with Baltimore and Cleveland losing? The division is still pretty jumbled.
No. We have learn from this game, put our focus into next week and take care of our business.

Can you explain why this team seems so erratic?
We didn't make enough plays to win the game. We didn't convert early on offense. We were moving the ball. We didn't put the ball in the end zone. That came back to haunt us. Then, for the rest of the game, we just didn't make enough plays.

G Ramon Foster

Is it baffling at all the way this offense went today?
It's just execution. It's getting late in the season. We need to do things that have helped us win. We have to stay on schedule, I like to say, as far as down-and-distance. When you get to third-and-long [or] second-and-long, defenses get bold. And it's hard to create first downs when you are second or third and long. That's the most important thing. We need to understand that. It's nothing to worry about. We just have to control that.

What's the difference between the time you were here and your offense was clicking so well and today you just couldn't get it going?
Those times we executed. We caught the high balls we're supposed to. We ran the ball better. It's just getting into the red and understanding that we've got to put up seven points. That offense, what are they, number four in the league? Three points won't do it. That falls on us right there. Early in the game, we controlled it. In the second half, we just have to continue to support our defense. We have to score. We have to put them in a good position. Those turnovers and stuff like that don't help.

DE Cameron Heyward

General comment
I think they got some runs on us. And that set up the play action. We just didn't execute, in every category – rushing, passing, defense, offense, special teams. They won. We have to regroup and get back on the saddle.

Any solace in the fact that you got some help when other teams didn't make out as well either?
I don't care about those other teams. I'm not in their locker room. All I'm concerned [with] is in this locker room.

How worried are you that you are running out of time and you lost to a team with a losing record?
You can be mad that we lost this game, but all you can focus on is these next four [games]. We're not worried about what other people do. We're not worried about what our standings are. We're just trying to win game after game. And we didn't win today.

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