What The Steelers Said Following Their 28-26 Loss To Seattle

Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, left, and Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin shake hands on the field after an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Pittsburgh. The v\ beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-26. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, left, and Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin shake hands on the field after an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 15, 2019, in Pittsburgh. The v\ beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 28-26. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Head Coach Mike Tomlin

Opening Statement

We had a number of injuries, I will outline those. Ben [Roethlisberger] had an elbow injury to his right elbow and is being evaluated. He wasn’t able to return. Vince Williams had a hamstring injury, he wasn’t able to return. James Conner’s knee is being evaluated. [Anthony] Chickillo has planter fasciitis in his foot. Still needs to be evaluated. Sean Davis has a shoulder injury, it is being evaluated. We lost a number of guys in this game, but that wasn’t the reason we didn’t win this game. We were fully capable with the guys that were on the field. We didn’t make enough plays, to be quite honest with you. We didn’t play clean enough, particularly in some moments. We have to get better. We accept responsibility for it. We are not looking to make excuses. Just certain things in that game you cannot do. We got off the field, got a penalty on the field goal, allowed those guys to extend a drive and get a four-point swing. We got DPI [defensive pass interference] down the field. We had opportunities down the field on the other side. A ball went through our hands for an interception. We have to make plays. The guys that represented us on the field are fully capable of that. We didn’t make enough of them and that is why we lost the game. We had our chances, not because of the injuries. We understand the position we are in. We understand the negatively that comes with it. We will absorb it. We better get singularly focused and get better for our next opportunity. We need to control the things that we can control. That is what we intend to do. But today, it is painful, as it should be.

How much did you change the offense for Mason Rudolph at halftime?

We didn’t change the offense for him. Mason is capable. He has been a part of this thing, he is the backup quarterback. We are capable of functioning in a very normal manner when he is in there and we did.

How do you evaluate Mason Rudolph’s performance today?

None of us did enough to win, so I am not ready to comb through it in those ways. I like some of the things he displayed. His communication, his grit, but we have to find a way to win a football game and we weren’t able to do that today.

Does this feel like a significant hole at 0-2?

No, it just feels like there was a game that we had today that we had an opportunity to win and we didn’t. From that standpoint, there is disappointment, but not big picture. We will get into big picture things tomorrow as we move forward.

Was there anyone assigned to cover Russell Wilson when he scrambles?

It was a five-man rush on the play that you are talking about, the significant play, the third down play. We brought five because of this mobility, so to minimize escape lanes. I would imagine one or more guys had their shots at him. We didn’t get it done.

Are you going off of a chart when you went for two?

We liked the call that we had versus the anticipated call that they might run. And it is as simple as that. You know that we look forward to those opportunities and moments. We don’t fear two-point play opportunities, but we just didn’t get it done.

Did you get an explanation on the DPI replay call?

I did not. I disagreed with it. I don’t believe any of us have an understanding of what the standards are once those things go to replay. I don’t know.

What happened on the penalty against Daniel McCullers on the field goal block?

Supposedly he made contact with the head and neck area of the center. That wasn’t his intention, that wasn’t our intention. We were trying to skinny the gap. We will take a look at the video.

What goes into the decision to rotate Mike Hilton and Cameron Sutton?

We are just trying to find the best combinations for moments, to put our best people in position to impact the game and so we use a lot of people.

Is Ben Roethlisberger getting his elbow scanned?

He is being evaluated.

Their tight end had a big day, where were those breakdowns happening?

Russell [Wilson] is very good. When you pressure, he is a good decision maker. In a couple instances, we had him solidly covered but he made some pinpoint, accurate throws. You have to give those guys credit. I am talking about the things we didn’t do and appropriately so because it is not mystical. We play and play to win. I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that they played a quality game and made the necessary plays, in particular Russell Wilson, in those moments.

Quarterback Mason Rudolph

Mason, what was going through your mind when you found out you were going into the game?

I mean you have to be prepared for those situations whenever your number is called. I thought I was ready. I had a really good feel for our game play and what we worked on all week. It was good to get that Wednesday practice in, which you look forward to getting when you’re in the back-up spot. So, I thought I had a lot of reps this week, and I didn’t feel like I was unprepared in any means.

Did you talk to Ben Roethlisberger when he went out?

Yeah, we were talking on the sidelines in between drives, what he saw and what I saw, just comparing notes. =

Looked like you guys talked right before you went out after halftime, fist bumped, what was that like?

Well he went into the locker-room, and he wasn’t sure if he was going to go in or not. I think it might have just been him telling me 'hey, you're up, I'm down the rest of the game'.

Mike Tomlin looked like he was trying to pump you up. What was that exchange?

We talked a few times, I don't remember. We probably talked about the situation we were in. He's just a very encouraging head coach. He's kind of in your ear and it's all positive. I can't put my finger on what the conversation was, but that's usually what it consists of.

This is something that lingers, how do you feel being at the wheel?

I am completely confident in myself, being a leader of a team, and playing games. That's what it all comes down too. If that's the case, I'm ready to roll.

On his play

Obviously, there were some ball placement things I need to improve on. That last drive, we didn't really give our guy the chance on the sideline. I could have gotten that ball earlier to Diontae Johnson. We'll take a look at the film, and I'll have a better answer for you on Monday.

What did you see on those two touchdown throws to Vance McDonald, and what's that feeling like when you do connect to score that touchdown?

Well, we had a screen call and he did a great job at uncovering himself, he was kind of tied up there for a minute. He's a great player. I think that's a contribute to our offensive line up front. The great job they do on their situation. They run the ball successful, and play action gives us a chance.

Re: Being in sync with offensive line

I think I have earned the respect of those guys everyday I've been here. I try too. That kind of gets developed in practice more than just getting thrown in. The know the player I am. I wasn't trying to do anything fancy or special, I was just being who I am and communicate clearly.

Re: Hoarse voice

I had a little sickness earlier this week, not particular to this game.

Did you guys get the three linebackers against three wide receivers as much as you thought, and what was the plan to attack that?

We weren't sure. We know they did that a lot last against the Cincinnati Bengals. It was kind of a to be continued. We needed to figure that out. It seemed like they stayed true doing that. Ben [Roethlisberger] went no huddle a lot in the first half, and we had success on the ball.

What were you looking for on the two-point conversion?

I was looking to score with JuJu Smith-Schuster in the back of the end zone there. I kind of had my eyes right, and had some trash come from the left side of my vision, just missed him there. That's on me.

Re: Trick play

I hadn't run it once, but we have run it a few times in practice, so I had a good feel for the play and taking care of the ball there. JuJu [Smith-Schuster] did a great job, with the under throwing of the ball, we probably could have scored if it was more accurate.

How are you going to prepare this week?

The same way I did last week. We'll talk as an offensive staff and figure out what's Ben's [Roethlisberger] situation. Obviously, the reps in practice might change, but my approach won't change. The diligence and routine every week, I always believed in preparing like I was a starter, if I was or not, through college and the last two years. So, that's how I'll approach it.

Cam Heyward DT

Re: Did you expect a little bit better of a start?

We had missed opportunities. It was a lot of self-inflicted wounds, everyone including myself. We have to finish and that’s the disheartening part about it.

Re: On the last drives, they had you on a couple of scrambles or designed runs. What happened on those?

Broken down plays, we knew in the fourth quarter Russ [Wilson] likes to take it over and keep the ball in his hands. That’s on the rush, simple as that.

Re: What’s the first step to bouncing back from 0-2?

Look at it tomorrow. I am just disappointed in how I played, and I have to be better. 

Mark Barron LB

Re: Was anything adjusted to give you guys a chance to come back and win?

It wasn’t an adjustment that needed to be made, we just didn’t make the plays. Everyone was where they were supposed to be, the plays just didn’t get made.  

Re: How encouraging was it for you and the defense to create takeaways and get those opportunities?

You always love to see that. That should be a part of your personality as a defense, a part of your mentality. You want to take the ball away from the offense, that always helps the team win. It is one of the most important statistics in football. When you can create turnovers and win that battle, you have a really good chance on winning the football game.

Re: Why were they so successful running the football in the second half?

Just missed plays and plays that we didn’t make. They didn’t do anything special just certain plays that we didn’t make. We just have to make our plays.  

Vance McDonald TE

Re: We don’t know the severity of his injury, what happens to this team without Ben Roethlisberger?

Obviously, things will change big time, it will be different. I think he and Mason [Rudolph] have similar play styles. With the experience we will be missing from Ben, it will be different. It is going to be hard for him to not have football if he is not here next week.

Re: You guys hooked up for a couple touchdowns, what can Mason Rudolph bring?

He is going to throw the ball and make his reads. I think he is very deliberate about that and that is something we can look forward to on offense. I think he has come a long way since last year. If he’s our guy, then he is our guy and we have to move forward with him.

Re: How do you think Mason Rudolph handled today?

He did well today. I think Mason did a really good job today and he is just going to have to build on that.

Game action photos from the Seattle Seahawks' Week 2 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

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