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Steelers’ Mike Tomlin delivers stern message after being “kicked in the teeth” by 49ers

Mike Tomlin suffered his worst opening loss as Steelers head coach against the 49ers.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) are trying to recover after a 30-7 thumping against the San Francisco 49ers (1-0) Sunday at Acrisure Stadium.

The loss marked the worst defeat at home in the Mike Tomlin era. Losses like that don’t need much explanation or analysis, and Tomlin offered a pretty frank explanation in Sunday’s postgame press conference.

“We’ve got to prepare them better. They’ve got to play better. That’s just the reality of it,” Tomlin said via the team’s website. “We got kicked in the teeth today in a lot of ways.”

The struggles started early for the Steelers, who surrendered 17 points to the Niners in the first quarter. In that same timeframe, the Steelers managed to accrue -13 yards on four drives and quarterback Kenny Pickett threw an interception.

“Kicked in the teeth” may have been an understatement.

Even then, the Steelers managed to be down by only two scores at halftime, but the second half also started poorly for Pittsburgh after Niners running back Christian McCaffrey ran the ball 65 yards for a touchdown.

The Steelers have at least been competitive every year in the Tomlin era. Their worst record as a team in Tomlin’s tenure is 8-8, so the standards are high for one of the league’s most respected coaches. That alone gives reason to believe that the Steelers will find a way to play better than they did yesterday.

The Steelers have a chance to bounce back on Monday Night Football next week against the Cleveland Browns (1-0). Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m.