That was an ugly one. 1st place in the AFC was on the line and the Steelers couldn’t even muster one touchdown. Pretty sad if you ask me. All that being said, I can’t help but be even more in love with Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin. Sure, there were a couple of things that could have gone differently, like you know, 3 picks and a fumble and going in to half with a TO still hanging there on the board, unused, but (and this is becoming the longest sentence EVAR) I just love that Ben wanted to play so bad, and that Tomlin let him.
That’s what I’m talking about.
Big Ben put himself out there, despite the fact we had little chance at coming back, and probably everyone was telling him to just let Batch play. Ben put himself out there despite losing Pouncey to a high ankle sprain the week before and being left with incompetent players on most of the Offensive line. Sanders: Out, Harrison: Out, Woodley: fatigued and eventually out…Don’t try and tell me those guys don’t mean anything. I said this last week too: The Standard is the Standard, but eventually all this turmoil has to count for something.
What doesn’t hurt you only makes you stronger. Steelers likely won’t be #1 in the AFC (there is still a chance), but they are playoff bound, and I have a feeling all this hurtin’ is going to make for a pretty scary team come playoff time. Rise above.
Now on to the presser:
Tomlin started by giving the 49ers credit, and admitting that the Steelers did not play well. On the injury front, MeMo has a sprained MCL, and will be out this week.. I’ve been hard on Moore over the last couple of years, as my readers know, but he has been solid as of late, helping the Steelers on 3rd down with blocking assignments, and making some plays with his feet. Redman and Rashard with both have to step up and play bigger roles next week. Rashard has some sore ribs, but should be OK. Woodley was healthy the whole game and only left due to fatigue. Obviously, when you can’t be practicing all the time, fitness will be an issue.
On the Rams, Steven Jackson is a good quality back who knows how to run the football, per Tomlin. Steelers are operating not really knowing who the starting QB for the Rams will be this week. Brandon Lloyd is a legit threat, and Alexander plays big down the field. Tomlin doesn’t spend his usual huge chunk of time praising the opposing team, for obvious reasons. The Rams aren’t much of a squad right now, and Tomlin pointed out just about everyone worth talking about. Just wasn’t a very long list.
Most of the questions asked were either about the officiating in the game, or about whether Big Ben should have been pulled near the end of the game, or not played in the first place. Tomlin maintains that Ben lobbied to play, and that he never considered taking him out. “We don’t live in our fears, we live in our hopes” per Tomlin. He was asked if Ben not practicing may have been an issue, among other things, but Tomlin maintains that he stands by his decision to keep Ben in . As I said above, I love that Ben wanted to play and I’ll take it any day, not matter how “stupid” it is. I love that Tomlin feels the same way.
Tomlin says he could have done things differently at the end of the first half with utilizing the remaining TO, but that he let Ben do some of the decision making while he was running the no-huddle offense. He wasn’t too apologetic about it, just acknowledged that he could have done things differently.
Tomlin also says he was not satisfied with any of the explanations he got regarding the penalty on Lawrence Timmons for “leaping” during the 49ers field goal. As you probably know, that penalty lead to a 49ers touchdown, which ended up being the nail in the coffin, stretching a two score lead to a three score lead with a little over 10 minutes left to play. At least, it felt like the nail in the coffin, but I’m not one to blame a loss on the refs. We couldn’t even get in the end zone so you know, there’s that.
Tomlin says there will be a roster move because of MeMo’s knee injury.
Tomlin insists that he isn’t going to complain about the officials in his press conference. He was asked about the chop block calls and was clearly being baited to say something about calls he disagreed with, but finished his press conference abruptly after being pushed saying: “Guys, I’m not going to complain about the officiating or the penalties, you guys can feel free to do so. We lost that game because we didn’t execute well enough to win it” and then walked off the podium.
I love it.
Let’s hope Tomlin gets the guys well enough prepared to dish out an ass whoopin on Saturday against the Rams. I am curious to see if Ben will sit this week since the game doesn’t have immediate playoff implications as last week’s did, but I doubt it considering how badly Ben wanted to play even when the game seemed out of reach Monday night. Either way, it’s a short week and there are a lot of guys who could use some rest considering the slew of injuries last week. Sounds like we will get a lot of them back this week, though, and winning out is the only chance we have of winning the division (with some help from the Ratbirds).
Onward and upward.
Follow me on twitter at @AdamMeckler, I tweet a lot.