Here's your post game quotes after a rough game yesterday. I deleted any questions or comments about the guarantee because after watching the game, I'm so tired of hearing about it my ears are bleeding.
Obviously, the Patriots were the better team today. They are to be congratulated for that performance. We couldn't stop them consistently. We couldn't make critical plays when we had to. Offensively, of course, we couldn't make critical plays when we had to, particularly in the second half. [Defensively], big plays by their offensive people, who are good and we knew that they were good. But that still doesn't mean that they should go up and down the field like that on us. We've got some work to do, and that is what we just talked about in there. We have a ways to go. If that is the measuring stick, we're not close. That being said, we'll roll up our sleeves and go back to work tomorrow.
What did you find out about your team today?
That is to be determined. We are still writing our story. This is not the final chapter in our story and it wasn't going to be, whether we won or lost. We have another game to play, a big game coming up at home. We have to prepare to do that. Get back with me in a couple of months.
On that long touchdown pass to Randy Moss, was Anthony Smith supposed to be there on that coverage?
I'm not going to get into pointing fingers. We are a football team. The reality is that they rang the scoreboard up on us, the Pittsburgh Steelers. We accept responsibility, starting with myself for that.
It looked like you were trying to do something different this week by moving Ike Taylor around a little bit.
We did. We did. Ike, of course, is our biggest guy. He is our fastest guy. It didn't mean that we were going to match him up in man-to-man situations all day. That wasn't the case. We called our normal defenses, we just had what we thought was a physical matchup that leveled the playing field, so we did that.
What can you improve on with your red zone offense?
We just have to find ways to finish. Those are the minute details that are the difference. Of course, those are the realities of this business. We have to get back in the lab on that. Because when you play good people like these guys, particularly on the road, field goals aren't going to get it done. We were in some situations where we were close. We have to execute a little bit better. We have to put them in position a little bit better. We have to keep punching the clock.
Do you say, "If a couple red zone plays work out differently, you're right in it," or do you say, "Hey, major ground to make up?"
I say that we look at the scoreboard and realize that we got outplayed and that they were the better team. We need to improve, but the good thing for us is that the season is not over and we still play next Sunday, no matter what. Win or lose, if things went our way we still would have to come back here. So, we move on, we take the loss and we go forward.
How frustrating is it that you guys controlled the time of possession, but you could only get three points out of some of those drives?
It's very frustrating. We're proud of the offensive line--we did a lot of no-huddle tonight. I called a lot of the plays and there was no cadence, so you have to give the offensive line a lot of credit. We moved the ball all the way down the field and then we faltered, for whatever reason, in the red zone, whether it was a little bit of them, a little bit of us or a little bit of both.
After the game, Tom Brady came over and talked to you. What did he say to you?
Oh, just real quick he came up. He kind of surprised me as I was saying something to the defense because I wasn't expecting him to be there that quick. He just told me that I was doing a good job and that he was proud, and I told him I hope he breaks the record next week, because it's so much fun watching him play. I don't like him playing against us and how well he played, but it truly is an honor to watch such a great quarterback play the game.
(On the game)
We were going up and down the field, but they scored touchdowns and we didn't. That is the biggest difference. We drove the ball fairly well and got down into the red zone but just weren't able to put the ball in the end zone. Against a great team like that you can't do that. Today they were a better team. They executed when they got in the red zone. Randy connected with Brady a couple times. Then the trick plays. You can't give up trick plays like that. Maybe one, but not two in one game. The play action was deep, okay, maybe we can overcome that. But then the other one, we were playing catch-up. That is hard to do against a great team.
(On the Steelers' offense)
You look at it and keep things in perspective. You learn from it. We drove the ball fairly well. We went to no-huddle and they seemed to have a problem with that. We went down to the red zone but didn't punch it in. We are a good team and usually when we get down the red zone we get touchdowns instead of field goals. Today we didn't get anything and you can't do that. Against a team like that you have to execute every time and today we didn't do that. That was the difference in the game.
Several defensive guys after the jump.
(On the Patriot offense)
He knew that blitz was coming. So he was throwing into it. When we were coming free, he was throwing into the hot route. If we play them next time, and I am not even thinking about them, we are going to change some things around. You better believe that.
They're a good team and they had a couple of big plays. You have to make more plays than the other team and we didn't.
(On defense giving up big plays)
One of them was a trick play and it tricked everyone on the field. The other one was a miscommunication with the coverage and we beat ourselves.
(On the game)
Tom Brady does not make mistakes. It is just plain and simple. He is going to capitalize on your mistakes and that is what makes him so great. He pretty much can see the whole field and if he sees something, he is going for it. He is rarely wrong. They were just making plays. I have to give those guys credit. They came out to play and they played well. They won and so there it is. They have got Tom Brady out there and he does not make mistakes. When you have a guy like that and receivers like that, you just about have to play perfect. We just have to get ready for next week.
(On the long plays allowed)
If you just keep playing football things are going to happen regardless [of] whether you're good or bad. We just have to learn from today. We made two crucial mistakes. We have got a lot of football left and we can't keep our heads down. This is in the past. We just have to move on and we have Jacksonville next.
(On the game)
We did not come out here to lose. We just gave up some big plays and that is what it came down to. They have got a good offense, but we just beat ourselves. We didn't play all of our right keys and gave up some deep plays. They came up with some new gadget plays that we haven't seen and that is pretty much what it was. Besides that one play-action play that they hit for the touchdown, that is all the play-action we saw. I don't think play-action was a big emphasis for their offense. The way our defense is run and the way we rotate, they really couldn't target me. We will see them again.
(On playing a team that doesn't run the ball)
It was a little weird at first. I thought they would try to run when they had a lead on us, but they kept throwing the ball. It was a tough day. [Tom] Brady is good at reading defenses and our disguise wasn't good enough today. I think he picked up most of our blitzes.
(On trying to hard to be physical with receivers)
I won't say we tried too hard, because they didn't give us a chance to be physical. They ran a lot of trick plays; they didn't just come out and run routes. They kept running that bubble screen, then you come up on the bubble screen and they hit you deep. You have to learn from that. Had we stayed on our keys, we would have been OK.
(On Patriots' receivers)
They've got three good receivers, but my focus point is still on the quarterback. He makes this team rise. He gets them in the right plays when he sees what we were doing and he did a great job of doing that. We can't make mistakes in the back end and we did and we lost.
Couple of quick comments here:
- It's nice to see that this team doesn't point fingers at anyone. Anyone of those guys including Tomlin could have said Anthony Smith blew his coverage twice but no one threw him under the bus.
- I would have liked to hear what Ward thought about the play call on the fourth and 1 call.