When it comes down to any physical/contact sport, if someone tells you that you weren’t physical enough, or the opposition was more physical than you, you should take it as a gut shot.
A punch directly in the gut.
Why? Because in a sport like football, the team who imposes their will on the other is typically the one considered the victor when all is said and done.
For the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 14, it was evident the Buffalo Bills were the more physical team, and because of that they lost their second straight game of the season in front of a national audience.
Because of this, head coach Mike Tomlin spoke with media on Tuesday and made it very clear his team wasn’t up to snuff when it comes to this aspect of the game. And if the players didn’t hear their coach’s remarks, they aren’t listening.
Here is what Tomlin told the media, without being questioned about the physical nature of the game Sunday night.
“When I really look at the tape, you can go through some of the minutia and things of that nature, but the bottom line is they were the more physical football team.” Tomlin stated. “It can be highlighted in terms of their front and our inability to run the ball, but just in general, I thought in all elements of play, they were the more physical group.
“They’re a physical football team in general, so they are capable of that. For us, regardless of circumstance, we don’t want to make that common. The comment is true as it pertains to that matchup. We have to be accountable to that, and we are. We have to make sure that we are not saying that moving forward. There haven’t been a lot of situations where we can say that definitively, but I thought they were the more physical group not only in the box and in box play but in some of the perimeter play.
“I thought [Stefon] Diggs at the wide receiver position played a real physical game and made physical-type plays. I thought their coverage people played aggressive and physically. In the return game and in the kicking game, I thought their veteran return guy was vertical and efficient, and they won the battle of field position because of that definitive element of play.
“We looked at the tape yesterday. We are excited about having a full week and then some.”
The Steelers absolutely have to be excited about having a full week of preparation this week. After playing three games in 12 days, having an extra day off in a regular week must feel like a bye week for the players.
Nonetheless, when the head coach declares his team wasn’t physical enough, how do you fix this aspect of the team? Tomlin was asked just that, and his answer was pretty cut-and-dry.
“It is disappointing, but part of fixing it is first acknowledging it.” Tomlin said. “That’s what we did yesterday. We watched the tape, and part of watching the tape is looking at the tape and analyzing that component of play and making the commitment and then plotting the course of action procedurally from a prep standpoint to make sure we position ourselves so our next week doesn’t look like that.
“We’re excited about what this week holds for us.”
The Steelers should be excited about their Week 15 matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday Night Football. It is a chance for them to “get right”, but on top of that they could also clinch the AFC North division crown with a win over their rivals at Paul Brown Stadium on ESPN.
Will that happen? Or will the Steelers’ downward spiral continue? When you look at the rest of the schedule, fans better hope they get right soon, so if they need to rest players before the playoffs, they can do just that in the latter weeks of the season.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes on the Steelers as they prepare for the Bengals in Week 15 on Monday Night Football.