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Quotes from the Pittsburgh Steelers - Week 16

The Pittsburgh Steelers spoke to the media following their week 16 game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, Dec. 23

Check out the Week 16 game action between the Saints and Steelers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 23, 2018.

STEELERS HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN
On the loss today:

"(It was a) Tough loss. We had our chances, surely, in the football game. We overcame some adversity, some of it created by us. We did not make enough plays in the end. We accept responsibility for that; we acknowledge that. We tip our caps to New Orleans. It was a tough fought game. It was a tough environment today. I appreciate the effort of the men. It was just not enough positive playmaking in the three phases to secure victory. The significant plays, obviously, we turned the ball over in scoring territory twice in the second half. (Those were) big-time plays tilted in the game. Then, we couldn't get the necessary stops when we needed it on defense. Obviously, I told them to go for it on the fake punt. We were unsuccessful there. I take responsibility for that."

On the rationale of calling the fake punt:
"I just wanted to be aggressive. I wanted to ensure that we had an opportunity to win the game. First of all, I liked the play….I thought where the game was and the time of which was left in the game, I thought that if we did not stop them, that we would have the opportunity to have the ball last. We did. Obviously, unsuccessful."

On the power-formation call when Steven Ridley fumbled:
"It was third down and two. We felt like we were in two-down territory, we probably would have gone for it on fourth down. Had we been unsuccessful and maintained possession of the ball, it's a calculated risk that you take."

On if he thought the fourth quarter pass interference call was a tipped ball:
"I thought that it was tipped, but I didn't have the courtesy of a replay. We were asking for clarity on it, but you know that things start moving fast in those moments."

On the fourth down pass interference call in the first half:
"I'm not here to evaluate the officiating. I'll let those guys evaluate themselves in the appropriate manner. I'm here to talk about what we did today and what we did not do. The officiating did not determine the outcome of the game. We find comfort in that. The quality of our play and execution determined the outcome of the game, not any of that (officiating)."

On how the team handled the adversity today:
"Like the professionals that we are, we play on, like we always do and like we expect to do. There is going to be ebbs and flow in games. There is going to be things that go against you in a football game. We're cognizant of that."

On needing help to make the playoffs:
"We made the bed, we'll lay in it. I expect us to lay in it very well and perform. We will control what it is that we can control, like our preparation to play next week. All other things out of our control, we won't worry much about. Like everyone else, we had 15 opportunities at this point to make a case for ourselves. We won't lament about our position. We will accept it and control the things that are in front of us, and that is next week's preparation."

QB Ben Roethlisberger
On the message for the team going into next week:

"That's pretty much it. The story's not written yet. I told the guys in there, I said 'listen, this chapter of the story is not done. Obviously, we don't control it, but let's see what happens.'"

On Michael Thomas's late touchdown:
"I saw it, I thought it was a good call. I was seeing the replay and once you saw it you say alright, we have a 1:22 or 1:25 left, whatever it was. Instead of getting it at the one-yard line, it gave us more time."

On not running the ball much to start the second half:
"That was just what we wanted to do. We felt like we could do what we wanted to do out there; throwing it and getting different packages with different guys. So, it was just more of that than anything."

On the officiating in tonight's game:
"We never talk about the officiating. Officiating does not win or lose football games, regardless of what you think about them."

On Joe Haden's performance:
"Joe (Haden) has been a playmaker for us. Joe is a veteran guy, he is a competitor. I am sure there are a lot of guys in the locker room that are taking this hard. If they weren't I think we would be more worried. I will check in with Joe and see how he is doing, but like I said, he is a veteran guy that we believe in and he made some great plays tonight."

On his thoughts on the Steelers season:
"It is kind of crazy. You know, we have obviously had some ups and downs. We controlled our own destiny for a while. We won a bunch in a row, we lost some in a row. It has been a crazy one, but I hope it is not done yet."

On the team's message going into Week 17:
"This is AFC North football. It is in our house and is an opportunity to give our fans another chance to see us go play hard football. We need to go take care of our business first and foremost. I am not sure what time the games are this next week, but we have to take care of our business first and see what happens."

CB Joe Haden
On if pass interference calls should be reviewable:

"It is what it is, it is an offensive game. You can't touch these guys. The second time I pushed off they didn't say anything about Michael (Thomas) doing it in the endzone on the last play. It is just tough being a defensive back, but that is what we do. It just sucks sometimes when those games and some of these plays are so big and they are weighed differently, so we need to make a break; I am talking about momentum and everything. It is very unfortunate. It sucks and I am pissed, but next time I have to make sure I can make those plays without getting a call."

On how to improve his performance:
"When I see coach Tomlin on Wednesday, I will talk to him and see what I can do to play better."

On the Steelers playoff chances:
"I don't know. We do not control our own destiny, so whatever happens, happens. We will beat Cincinnati hopefully, that is our last game. We have to finish out strong and then whatever happens, happens."

On his emotions after the game:
"I am very frustrated, very pissed. It means a lot to me to come out and bust my tail and try to play good defense. It is just tough the way the game is changing."

WR Antonio Brown
On losing control of their playoff position:

"It is a part of process man. It is not a positon you want to be in, but unfortunately it is the situation we are in. We have to come out next week and take care of business and hopefully another team can help us out."

On his second half touchdown:
"Ben (Roethlisberger) made a great throw, he was able to get a clean release and was able to connect."

On Juju Smith-Schuster's fumble:
"He (Juju Smith-Schuster) has been great all year. He is the reason we are (productive). In those situations, you just want to support him. It is kind of unfortunate, but he is a great player. We have all been through it before and it is something to learn from."

On the team's message going into next week:
"We have to go out and finish strong and hope that things can work out in our favor."

DL Cameron Heyward
On his thoughts on tonight's game:

"We just did not finish. It came down to a couple plays, but that was just the way the ball went today."

On the pass interference call on fourth down:
"I was late. My guys told me it was tipped. I couldn't get a good read on it, but it is just the call they made."

On the struggles of allowing scores off defensive penalties:
"I never want to have penalties that can make a game, because we had clear opportunities to win the game and we didn't seize those moments. That is what good teams do, I think we are good team, but we have to make those critical adjustments and make those critical stops when we need it."

G David DeCastro
On the Steelers playoff chances:

"Cleveland has been playing well, but we need to focus on beating the Bengals. That is all we can control right now."

On the defense's reaction to the defensive penalties throughout the game:
"All we can do is keep playing football. Once the calls are made, we just have to keep going. The guys did a good job battling until the end, but we just couldn't get it done and make opportune plays."

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