Steelers vs. Colts: Tomlin Tuesday


Steelers coach Mike Tomlin took to the podium on Tuesday to address the team’s recent loss to Seattle and preview the upcoming matchup against the Colts.

Hoping to rebound from the Seattle loss by getting a much-needed AFC victory on Sunday night Steelers coach Mike Tomlin addressed the team’s previous performance, updated injury statuses, previewed the upcoming game and answered questions.

When it comes to the Seattle loss Tomlin summed it up by saying that the turnover battle made the most difference in the game. The Steelers had four turnovers to Seattle’s zero and the poor red zone efficiency on both sides of the ball spelled a loss for the Steelers on Sunday. In the red zone the Steelers offense went 2-for-4 while the Seahawks were a perfect 4-for-4 once inside the 20.

The Steelers were also ineffective on third downs as well as stopping Seattle on third down. The Steelers offense converted 5-of-11 third downs while Seattle converted 7-of-13 including several 3rd and longs.

Tomlin gave credit to Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who played a phenomenal game but explained that the Steelers defense can absolutely do a better job at disguising the defense to make it not quite so easy for a quarterback like Wilson to have such a phenomenal game.

When it comes to the injury report, Tomlin noted that Earl Miller is suffering from a rib injury and will be evaluated this week. For those of you who don’t know, “Earl” is Heath Miller’s actual first name. Clearly Heath realized that “Heeeeeeeeaaaaaaath!” was much easier for fans to scream out than, “Earl!” Good call, Heath.

Mike Mitchell is having some knee inflammation which may limit him early in the practice week. Ryan Shazier and Ben Roethlisberger both suffered concussions in the game and will go through the league’s concussion protocol before they can return to action. Shazier’s concussion was early in the second quarter while Roethlisberger self-reported his concussion symptoms late in the game.

"“Right now I can tell you that both guys are in the protocol, will remain in the protocol, even if they feel better they’re going to remain in the protocol. We’re going to do our due diligence under the guidelines that have been prescribed in recent years.” – Mike Tomlin"

Other than that there is a minor hamstring injury with linebacker Sean Spence.

"“Sean Spence has a minor hamstring injury. We’re going to monitor it. I don’t know the state of it. I guess his practice participation will be the biggest indicator of his status.” – Mike Tomlin"

In previewing the 6-5 Indianapolis Colts Tomlin praised the work of 40-year-old quarterback Matt Hasselbeck by comparing him to Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich. I wouldn’t go as far as to compare him to Leftwich because so far Hasselbeck hasn’t torn his rotator cuff by checking the time. Charlie Batch maybe, definitely not Leftwich though.

Tomlin gave us a pretty good Tomlinism in his description of Colts running back Frank Gore when he described him as,

"“one of the legendary ball-toters of this generation.” – Mike Tomlin"

Gore’s parents must be so proud.

Tomlin was asked about the secondary’s performance and how the Steelers defense gets exposed for how ineffective cornerbacks like Antwon Blake and Ross Cockrell are when the defensive line and linebackers aren’t able to harass the quarterback as much. Blake and Cockrell got burned and exposed badly.

In response, Tomlin is finally ready to explore different configurations featuring guys like Brandon Boykin and Doran Grant, and including the possibility of moving William Gay to the outside from the slot position.

"“We just had a brief conversation this week and acknowledged those things are on the table. We’ve yet to formulate any hard-core decisions in that regard, because those meetings occur later on today, but we acknowledge those guys (Blake and Cockrell) need to play better. Particularly, they need to tackle better. We also acknowledge those performances merit and opportunity to look at our options in that area, while at the same time giving those guys – particularly the two I mentioned (Blake and Cockrell) – an opportunity to rebound.” – Mike Tomlin"

For the first time this season Steelers fans might be able to see what exactly cornerback Brandon Boykin can contribute if he gets a chance to play significant time on defense as opposed to sporadic play on special teams.

"“We’re going to look at Brandon Boykin, maybe, getting an opportunity to work within that mix. We’re going to look at the utilization of William Gay, maybe to the outside. We’re going to turn over all those stones as we formulate a plan here this week.” – Mike Tomlin"

With that squared away Tomlin was asked to address the field goal debacles. Both the ill-advised fake field goal play where Landry Jones was intercepted on a mass to Alejandro Villanueva and the decision to go for a field goal in the fourth quarter with a five-point deficit and just over three minutes remaining.

Tomlin took the blame of the fake field goal call citing that it was on Jones to execute the play but it was on Tomlin to call a timeout if he saw the defense shift (which it did).

"“I absorb the responsibility of taking a calculated risk.” – Mike Tomlin"

In regards to the decision to kick later in the game Tomlin felt that because the Steelers defense were going to have to force a stop of the Seahawks offense regardless, it was a better plan to kick the field goal and anticipate getting the ball back. The Steelers defense had held the Seahawks to four consecutive three-and-outs prior to this sequence of events.

"“Whether or not we kicked the field goal or went for a touchdown and got that touchdown or didn’t get that touchdown, a stop was going to be required. With that understanding I wanted to increase the amount of positivity in terms of us moving down to that field position. I took the three points. It was going to be required that we have to a stop regardless in order to win the game. I wanted to tee the defense up from a positive momentum standpoint. We kicked the field goal. I wasn’t concerned about our ability to get back down the field again from what had transpired in the game offensively. We had no problem moving the ball, particularly between the 20s. I took the bird in the hand, and put the three points on the board.” – Mike Tomlin"

I’m sure the debates over that decision will still go on.

Obviously Count = 6

You can listen to Tomlin’s entire presser right here.

Next: Steelers Week 13 NFL Power Rankings

Here we go Steelers! Here we go!