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Mike Tomlin’s message to Devlin Hodges and the Steelers offense: “Just play your game”

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are in control of their postseason destiny, and Mike Tomlin has full faith in his offense.

NFL: Buffalo Bills at Pittsburgh Steelers Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a huge loss to the Buffalo Bills in Week 15, and the loss still stings with the vast Steelers fan base. The thought of letting a golden opportunity to seize the 5th seed in the AFC Playoff Picture slip through their fingers at home is something no one expected for this team.

Nonetheless, the Steelers still control their own destiny. Win their last two games and there is no doubt as to whether they have earned a playoff spot or not. But those 5 turnovers in Week 15 are very difficult to forget. How has Mike Tomlin handled the offense leading up to the Week 16 game vs. the New York Jets?

Shockingly, the mantra hasn’t been “just don’t kill us”, but one of support. Quarterback Devlin Hodges told the media during his availability exactly what Tomlin told the offense as they started to prepare for the road game vs. the Jets this Sunday.

“Coach Tomlin told us we are not going to blink, we are going to keep going. Just play your game. I am not going to change who I am. I had a bad game, I know I had a bad game, but hey, I can get better from it. Bad games do happen, and I am looking forward to showing that we have gotten better and that we are going to have more fun and play football and get a win.”

Playing your game and having the resilience to bounce back is something this Steelers team has done time and time again this year. After rebounding from 0-3 and 1-4 starts, the Steelers are hoping to get a familiar face back on the field in JuJu Smith-Schuster this Sunday.

Hodges spoke about what getting JuJu back on the field would mean not just for him, but the Steelers’ offense:

“Any time JuJu [Smith-Schuster] is in the game, it just adds another weapon. Its like Coach Tomlin says, any guys that wears a helmet or has a hat on, we have to count our guys. I’m just glad to have him back.”

How has Smith-Schuster looked so far in practice?

“He looked good, moving around. It is just always fun when JuJu is on the field.”

Getting all of their play makers on the field will be huge for an offense who has struggled mightily this season. And don’t think Hodges and company don’t know the magnitude of the upcoming game at Metlife Stadium.

“We know that we have to win these next two games.” Hodges said. “We are not worried about the next game, we are just focused on this week. Really, we are just focused on practice today and focus on practice tomorrow. We don’t have to be ready today. We have to be ready Sunday at 1 o’clock. Just get better each and every moment we are out on the field.”

The way the Steelers’ defense is playing suggests the Steelers don’t have to go out and score 30 points. No, the reality is if you can put up 20 points there is a good chance the defense is going to keep the opposition off that number. As Tomlin said, just play your game, protect the football and let the chips fall where they fall.

Hopefully right into the AFC Playoffs.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the New York Jets this Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET.