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Inside the Steelers locker room: Mike Tomlin takes responsibility for lack of discipline

BTSC senior beat reporter Dale Grdnic gets quotes from Tomlin, Antonio Brown, Heath Miller, David DeCastro, William Gay and Cameron Heyward following the Steelers' 27-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mike Tomlin's opening remarks

"I'll start by complimenting Coach Smith and the Buccaneers. They did what was necessary to win the game. But after a performance like that, I think it's appropriate that we look within and look at what it is that we are doing. The bottom line is that we're an undisciplined group. We're too highly penalized. Obviously, we're not coaching it. We're allowing it to happen. So, I take responsibility for that. We're not going to win close football games being penalized in the manner in which we've been penalized over the first month of the season. It's unacceptable. It's inexcusable. In a nutshell, that's the story of the outcome of the performance. There are some positive things, and there are some negative things any time you play football. That's the case. But the defining factor in determining the outcome of that football game is that we were too highly penalized. It's ridiculous."

Q. What can you do about the penalties?
"We need to fix it, and if we don't, we'll continue to lose football games. It's just that simple. Some of the penalties are technical or orientation like facemask penalties and things of that nature. Our tackling technique needs to improve. But some of the pre-snap and post-snap penalties are just lacking discipline. We have to fix it. I have to fix it and I will."

Q. Lots of hands-to-the-face penalties?
"That's kind of a point of emphasis in today's NFL, this year, 2014. Those are minimal. That's a five-yard penalty. Maybe a first down. I'm talking about the pre-play penalties, false starts, encroachment. Post-play penalties are ridiculous. That we have full control over."

Q. What about the illegal snap on Maurkice?
"I didn't get an explanation for it."

Q. Getting the ball on offense and not putting the game away?
"If we don't get a five-yard penalty, in all likelihood we do. It's just that simple. We kicked our own butt today with penalties (13 for 125)."

Q. Lots of drops, too?
"Those were insignificant in the big scheme of things. Most of them were early on. We settled down, and we played. What was consistent throughout is that we were highly penalized."

Q. Any difference in preparation this week?
"Every time you step into a stadium, you get an opportunity to rectify all your ills. And I expect us to continue to do that. We aren't going to change how we work. I think how we work is appropriate. We're not getting the desired results. We have to focus on that."

Antonio Brown

Q. You played well, but you lost?
"Our business is winning and we didn't quite get it done today. And that's going to stick with us until next week.

Q. Do you agree with Coach Tomlin that you're undisciplined?
"We just have to get back to winning. We have to rise together as a team and find a way to produce victories."

Q. What about the post-snap penalties?
"We have to work at it. We have to play smarter football, find a way and play within the rules."

Q. Is it tough to put this loss behind you?
"Anytime we lose a football game, it's difficult for our families, ourselves, our coaches and our fans. It's difficult for all of them."

Q. Missed opportunities?
"I think all of us collectively are thinking of playing situationally (and) what we could have done different to affect the outcome of the game. Me, personally, I should have brought down that catch (on) that flea-flicker play, and maybe it would have been the difference in the outcome of the game."

Q. Surprised at the run on third down in last drive?
"I think we were trying to milk the clock. We knew we had a situation where we needed a first down and we didn't produce a first down and everything went downhill."

Q. What about your breaking the NFL record?
"Right now, it's not about records. It's all about winning, playing Steelers football and getting victories. The record is great, but it means nothing. We lost. Our business is winning."

Q. What kind of football team is this?
"Well, it's still early. We have a lot of work to do. We have to come together and continue to work to produce victories and get better."

Q. Did you leave plays on the field?
"Absolutely. I think every man in that locker room feels like we could have done something different to affect the outcome of the game. We're going to weigh in on this one and find a way to produce victory, be better and produce wins."

Heath Miller

"I think it's a lesson for all of us. We have to be consistent. We can't beat ourselves with penalties or negative plays. This is the NFL. There are no easy games. I don't think we thought it was going to be easy. We prepared, but we need to execute better than we did today."

Q. How to fix all the penalties?
"I don't know. I think we just have to get back in the lab and see what we're doing wrong and how we can fix it starting tomorrow."

Q. Where do you go from here?
"Continue to work. The season's still early, obviously. We believe in what we're doing, we just have to do it better. I think we've seen what can happen when we do it well. We just have to do it every week."

Q. Feel like you beat yourself today?
"You're right. A loss at any time is never any good. I think there's probably a lot that we could second guess ourselves on and wish we could have done better. It's too late for that now. You have to give the other team credit. They made plays when they had to. They fought hard all day, hung in the game, and we didn't put them away when we had our chances."

David DeCastro

Q. Can't say on defense, but does the offense feel bad for the last drive?
"It's a team sport. You can never blame it on anyone, unless it's a blowout. But even then, it's still the team. We have to do our job. Special teams and defense have to do theirs, too."

Q. When will the penalties stop?
"Those are unbelievable. I don't know. We have to stop them soon. We're not going to win many games like that."

Q. You did OK offensively, but any regrets?
"There are no regrets. We just have to be more disciplined. Those penalties are just killing us, absolutely killing us."

William Gay

"We have to move on to next week. The only thing we can do is correct the mistakes that we made in the game and move on to the next game."

Q. Did you think they'd come back to Jackson?
"That's their go-to receiver. He's been doing it for a long time. Of course, during crunch time like that, you know they're going to 83. I expected them to go back to 83. He won. I didn't."

Q. What did you say to the official?
"I was just asking him what he saw. He said he didn't see anything, so I had to move on and play the next snap."

Q. You didn't think he pushed you off?
"No, he won the battle. It was a battle all game, and he came out on top."

Q. What about the defense on that last drive?
"We were just trying to protect the defense, and they executed. They executed, and we didn't. And they came out on top."

Q. How can you stop those penalties?
"Like Coach said, we need to get disciplined. Post-snap penalties and pre-snap penalties are about discipline. We have to look within and make sure those don't happen again."

Cameron Heyward

Q. What about the TD drive at the end?
"We have to get more pressure. I don't know what happened on the back end but, as a front three, when we go to nickel packages, we have to get home more. Even through he was throwing out of there well, we have to get the sacks. As much as we can get pressure, sometimes you just have to get him on the run."

Q. Is this the toughest loss to take?
"No. We have to focus on the next game now. We'll think about this and grow from it. I hope this is humbling for everybody, because it's a long season. Don't count us out yet."

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