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Inside the Steelers Locker Room: Mike Tomlin says Ben was fueled by hype of Andrew Luck

BTSC's senior beat reporter Dale Grdnic provides responses from interviews in the Steelers' locker room after the team's 51-34 win over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday in Pittsburgh.

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Head coach Mike Tomlin

Obviously, it was an exciting performance. We talked at the top of the week about time of possession and we had to keep the ball away from them. We worked at it all week and the guys did a great job. Just a lot of tremendous efforts by a lot of people but, obviously, Ben was the guy tonight. He did everything that we needed him to do, and he did it quickly. We possessed the ball and we stayed a step ahead of them because of it. We just fought defensively and made some plays.

It was great to see James Harrison showing glimpses of James Harrison. He's worked his tail off to kind of get to this spot. He's starting to show us what he's capable of. Just a lot of positive contributions from a lot of folks. It was necessary tonight. It was a big challenge and obviously a hot team. It was a stepping stone for us. Hopefully, it can be something that we can build upon as we move forward. We have a big AFC North football game in here next week. So, we'll enjoy this one the rest of the night and tomorrow we'll start the process of preparing for that.

On the injury front, we got out of it relatively clean. Le'Veon had an ankle injury, but obviously he was able to go back in the game. I think Ross Ventrone had a hamstring injury of some description. He'll be evaluated. But just a good, exciting win for our football team.

Have you ever seen Ben look as sharp as tonight?
Yeah, I've seen Ben. I've been watching Ben for eight years. I got a good seat in the house, so I've seen some of those types of performances. But, obviously, this was a timely one and a much-needed one given the staggering statistics that Andrew Luck and their group were putting up. It was necessary for our group to match their group from that standpoint, and we challenged Ben and the offense to do it all week, and they responded.

Did you try to get Ben the passing record?
I was unaware of it, to be honest with you, what the record is or was. We were trying to win the football game.

Did all the talk about Luck this week motivate Ben?
He won't admit it, but I'm sure. You don't ascend to the position that he is professionally without that competitive fire burning. There was a lot written and said about their offense and their quarterback, and rightfully so. Some of it by me. But they control what it is they can control, and that's our play. We've got the makings of a good offense. I think we know that. We had to do it for 60 minutes and largely we did tonight. But it was going to be required to do it for 60 minutes tonight because, if you take your foot off the gas versus that group, you know what's going to happen.

Four-down TD call?
Just like I said, I'm not kicking the field goal right there and go up by 13 and have these guys put two late touchdowns on the board. We were not taking our foot off the gas.

On Martavis Bryant?
He's growing but he's still got a ways to go. We're playing package-football with him. He's got to continue to come to work every day and round out all elements of his game. But he was a positive contributor for us tonight, and it was much needed.

Did you pull Cortez due to the TD given up?
Yeah. He was giving up plays and we needed stops. It's as simple as that. You have to play better. Blake came in and made a play for us and it was significant. But make no mistake, I have a great deal of belief in Cortez. He's got to bounce back from this, but I did what was necessary tonight to secure a victory.

Ben Roethlisberger

Should we expect this offense more now?
We played pretty well but we left a lot out there. I missed a couple of passes. We probably want to run the ball a little better, but we scored. I don't know what our red-zone conversion was, but we did pretty well. But we still turned the ball over twice. There are still a lot of things that we need to improve on.

Was that as sharp as you've felt in a while?
It all starts up front. Those guys gave me time. It wasn't like I was shaking off sacks. These guys gave me all kinds of time. The guys on the field made the plays. The young guys stepped up and made some plays. Everyone caught balls and we had fun doing it.

Did you realize you were getting close to the record?
No. I don't even know what's going on. Usually I have guys coming up to tell me what's going on or I look on the Jumbotron. I don't know my stats. I just know what the score says, really.

On throwing for 500 yards twice?
Well, there have been a lot of great quarterbacks to play this game, and it's such a great honor just to be mentioned in the same breath as a lot of those guys. It's not just me. Those guys gave me time, and everyone else made plays.

On Bryant?
He made plays for us and that's what we need. He still left some out there, and he knows it. It was far from a perfect game for him, for me and for everybody. We're not going to be satisfied with where we are. We're going to enjoy this but then it's back to work.

Le'Veon Bell

Colts defense?
We knew that their offense really helps their defense out a lot. Their offense holds the ball. Their average possession per game was like 37 minutes or something. So, their defense was not really out there that long. We knew that. So, what we tried to do was just possess the rock a long time.

Heath Miller

500 catches?
It just feels good to win. It feels good to put four quarters together and hopefully we can take this and build on it.

Comments on win?
We want to win, of course, every game; we want to put points on the board every time we have it. Credit to everyone on our offense for executing the whole game. Credit to the coaches for keeping the pedal down the whole game. We never went into kind of a relaxed mode. We wanted to keep the pressure on.

Cam Heyward

Is a good offense a good defense?
Our offense put up points. The main thing with us is that we got the turnovers when we needed them. We got the big plays when we needed them. Whether it was the pick-six or the safety, those points came at critical times where they were backed up. Even though we gave up yards, you have to look at that we were able to get off the field when we needed to. Those were the main things.

Antonio Brown

We just came in here trying to be our best. It's always about us, it's never about our opponent. We knew if we would be our best, then we had a chance to win the game. They kept on scoring. They have a great quarterback themselves, but we knew we were going to have to possess the ball and score points any time we had the ball.

On Bryant?
He continues to get better. He's developing great rapport with Ben and Ben's trusting in him. He's doing what he's supposed to do and it's starting to pay off.

47-yard TD?
That was Ben making a play. He was rolling out, finding me downfield and I was able to finish the play.