PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers didn't watch San Diego's overtime win against Kansas City as a team Sunday night, but the majority at least tuned in for the bitter end.
Safety Ryan Clark had an interesting perspective on the Chargers' controversial victory that kept the Steelers out of the playoffs.
"Well, I only saw the end of it, because my son had a basketball game,'' Clark said. "So, I left right from the stadium to watch my son play. At least he won. He won the championship, but I got home just in time to see San Diego's last field goal in regulation. It's kind of funny, because my agent (Joel Turner) is also Ryan Succop's agent.
"So, he called me before he kicked and told me (Succup) was going to put us into the playoffs. Then, I called him back and said that he jinxed us. But it just wasn't meant to be. We fought hard, but like I've said many times this year, when you lose those games early, you're playing catch-up. You'd like to get those games back, but that's not how it works.''
Clark echoed his teammates in that department. They all said pretty much the same thing, the Steelers had eight losses that could have changed the team's status had either gone the other way.
8-8 in 2012 vs. 8-8 in 2013
"It sucks either way,'' Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward said. "You're not in the playoffs, but hopefully we can learn from this and improve on it next year so it doesn't happen again.''
You Tweeted What?
Steelers right offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert Tweeted something about point-shaving being involved in Chiefs game when Ryan Succup missed the 41-yard field goal late in regulation. Were you just caught up in moment?
"Not really,'' Gilbert said. "Kind of, but there's a lot of emotions in the game of football. I have my emotions, but it is what it is. What he did, that's what he did. (But) I was just joking around when I said that, but all that happened in that game wasn't under our control. We had other opportunities to do it earlier in the season, and we just didn't do it.''
Six Losses to Losing Teams
The Steelers definitely didn't take care of business this season, as six of their eight losses this season were to teams with losing records.
"I know,'' Gilbert said. "I'm not sure why that happened, but I guess we've got to be more mentally prepared. Mental toughness is a big thing, and you have to be able to bring your A game every time.
"Even our last performance, it wasn't our best performance, but we came away with a win. So, we know what we're capable of, and we have a lot of playmakers on this team. They proved so at the end of the season.''
Tight end Heath Miller agreed.
"It was exciting to see the guys in this locker room continue to work on things to get better, and then we saw the improvement on the field,'' Miller said. "So, we finished strong, and that certainly was a positive. We wish we would have started better than we did, so we wouldn't have been talking about all these different things today.
"So, I guess you could say that we underachieved overall. I don't think anybody's goal in this locker room was to go 8-8 and be sitting at home during the first week in January like we'll be doing this year. So, in that regard, it certainly was an underachievement.''
Even though the Steelers finished with a 6-2 record during the second half of the season, there was one area that definitely needs improvement.
"There are a lot of areas where we can improve, but sacks ... we've got to get more pressure on the quarterback,'' Heyward said. "Some of it is quicker balls. They're not going to let that ball sit in their hands a long time.
"So, when we've got opportunities to get them, we've got to get them. And as a front seven, we have to cherish that. So, we've all got to improve and get to the quarterback.''
- A Season of Inches: Just how close did the Steelers come to being relevent
- Year in Review: 2013 wasn't supposed to feel this bad
- 3 things we learned from the 2013 Pittsburgh Steelers
- 2014 NFL Draft Order: Steelers selecting 15th in the first round
- Monday Takeaways: Steelers season ends after wild Sunday