TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
(on how his team responded to drama of a late game situation to earn win)
(I am) just real proud of them for all that we have been through the last couple of weeks, not playing as well as we know we could have, dealing with all that, coming in with a short week against a very good football team. Obviously, anytime you play Pittsburgh, we know it is going to be a physical, hard-fought game. So that part alone, it was great to see how the game started, how we handled ourselves throughout the game through the ups and downs of a football game. Like you said again, in both games we won, the way we have at the last, in this case Rob’s (Bironas) field goal at the end to win it, it just shows you a little about the character of your football team.
That’s a good win for us. We know it’s only one win, but it’s a great win. It’s one we needed really badly as we all know. So, it’s one we get a chance to enjoy having the long week now before we play again. I am just real happy we stepped up and made plays throughout the game when we had to. Before halftime, when they were looking like they were going to go down and score (Jason) McCourty makes a great interception. Instead of them scoring points, we get a field goal. Things like that throughout the game were… what good teams do and what we hadn’t been doing. And so, I just think that was fun to watch and had a feeling it was going to the wire like it did and glad that we had a chance to win it at the end.
(on big play to
From my sideline, I didn’t get a chance to see it, but they were blitzing throughout the game. They blitz a lot and when I say blitz, they are bringing in their linebackers and sometimes you get some favorable coverage. I think there, we got a great opportunity and Matt (Hasselbeck) found him. It’s about making plays and that obviously was the turning point to win the game. It got us enough yards for the field goal kick and just two guys, quarterback and the tight end coming up with a big-time play when we needed it.
(about making plays to be in position down the stretch)
I think it is good for the team to see that, that we can make those plays and how it does change the game, how it kept us in the game, the fact that our defense stopped the run game. (We) made Ben (Roethlisberger) have to throw it, maybe more than they wanted to. Blocked a punt, pretty much, we got a touchdown off a blocked punt, so the special teams are stepping up again as they have all year, making plays, contributing in a big way. That’s kind of how we have been, all three phases contributed.
We made enough plays to win this one. There were plays obviously left out there we could have taken advantage a couple of times in the first half. We had to settle for field goals. We got still keep working to get those to touchdowns. The bottom line is in that fourth quarter when we answered when we’re down 23-16, we drove the field and scored and guys made plays. We ran the ball well against a good team. I thought CJ (
(on post-game speech after emotional win)
Just remind them of how fun this feeling is right now, compared to how it’s been. The frustration we’ve had really all year, other than the Detroit game, the frustration we’ve had of not getting the job done is a hard one to stomach. I think the fact that this is such a great win against a good football team and in a last-minute fashion, which even makes it more fun, exciting…going against a team like Pittsburgh, beating Pittsburgh on a Thursday night football game is what we needed. Hopefully it will lead to other things. But just told them I’m proud of them, proud of the fact we sucked it up, the fact that we came out the way we did and competed and played, off a short week and didn’t worry about what everyone else was thinking about, what was going on with the team and all of the things that were wrong with the team, they did a great job of just hanging together, believing in each other, believing in ourselves and coming out and playing like we’re capable of playing. I think you saw that today, throughout the game and hopefully you’ll continue to see that team when we play Buffalo.
(on the Steelers lining up for the 54-yard field goal)
I think it was a tough decision for them. It’s hard to turn up a chance to win the game, especially when the kicker made the 52-yarder right before that, but the negative is what happened. He’s short, we get great field position, so that’s a tough call on their side. That’s a tough one to have to make. They needed the five yards at the time, so I had a feeling they were going to kick it for sure just because of the fact that he hit one earlier and it looked like he made it pretty cleanly last time. I still thought we had time; worse-case scenario was we had 55 or 58 seconds to maybe tie it, with two timeouts, I figured we could still throw balls down the middle of the field and do some things. I was glad we didn’t have to do that. We had the shorter field, but even there we were down to third down. If we don’t get the third-down conversion, I probably have to punt because I can’t get rid of the ball at midfield with 35 seconds or whatever it was left if we don’t convert fourth down. So that was very nerve-racking how that was all going to play out, and luckily Cookie (Jared Cook) makes the great play, him and Matt (Hasselbeck), and now I can just worry about running one play and kicking it and Rob (Bironas) making the kick. Great way to finish, things fell our way at the end there and…we’re long overdue for a break or two.
Yeah, that’s stuff we’ve been doing, it’s just that things just haven’t been there or we’ve missed things or it’s just that things clicked on that drive. That drive to me, the last two drives, was what really we’re capable of doing, I feel. By the way, CJ (Chris Johnson) started off with a 12-yard run, he has another 10-yard run in there, another six-yard run down by the goal line, it wasn’t just all passing and that’s kind of refreshing for me to watch and for all of us because in the past, this year anyway, we haven’t been able to do that and it’s been all passing. That opened up things off the play action for Kendall, for Nate (Washington) and then obviously for the last throw when (Kenny) Britt caught the ball at the end. I think the way that we responded there finally because up until that point we were settling for a lot of field goals, and then when (the score was) 23-16, we answered with that drive and obviously Cook (Jared) makes the great play and we win the game. So, we know we’ve got the talent, we just haven’t been playing as well as we’d like and hopefully this is something that we’re going to continue to see week in and week out.
(on not playing perfect to win)
It felt great for us to hang in a game because we haven’t had many of these. Even the Detroit game really wasn’t quite like this, obviously they had two different types of excitement. I think it just felt like more of a real game for four quarters it could go either way. The game was always close throughout all four quarters, it was hard fought, different phases, like you said, we didn’t play perfect in certain areas, we made some mistakes, we left some points on the field, and like you said, it didn’t cost us the game. That’s a good thing that we can actually not be perfect and win. I think the thing is we stepped up when we had to and we needed this win badly, we needed to play much better than we had been, we did that tonight. We need to enjoy this one, it’s only one win, we know
that, but it’s a great win for us at this point in the season when we needed to play and show people really what we’re all about. When you’re 1-4 there’s not much…it was what it was and I think we did a great job of coming back and playing more like we’re capable of and hopefully people had a chance to watch it and saw a team that maybe is going to be a lot different going forward.
(on your excitement after the game)
I was just happy for everyone. I was happy for how hard the coaching staff, the players, the organization…in the NFL, it’s all about winning football games and when you’re not it’s the worst business in the world. You’ve got everyone second guessing everything you’re doing, everyone has a reason why you’re not being successful, what you need to do differently, so it was all of that, two or three weeks of not playing the way we thought we were capable of and finally watching the guys play the way they’re capable of, make plays the way we know we’re capable of, and win, have success doing their job and the fact that they didn’t give up throughout the game, they could’ve at certain spots. So I think for me the excitement was just the relief, number one, that we finished a game. I’ve played against Pittsburgh a lot of years as a player and having them in the division, so for us, it was a great accomplishment beating a very good football team at home, in front of our home fans, everything we needed to do in this one game we did. Hopefully we can build off this going forward.
TITANS RB CHRIS JOHNSON
(on getting a lot of tough yards against Pittsburgh)
Anytime you are going against a team like the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s going to be a dog fight. They’ve got the type of defense where you’re not going to see a lot of big runs against them. During the week, just looking at film on them, we looked at explosive plays or runs. They only had two explosive runs on them. It’s the type of fight you are going in knowing you got to take the full five yards and just keeping wearing down the defense.
(on what it’s like to play during primetime)
It’s always good. You are under the lights playing at night. Everybody in the world is watching you. It’s just like playing on a Monday night. You want to go out there and make plays and show everybody what type of team you are. That you are not coming out there to let them run us over. We are going to try to compete in every game we’re in. I feel like everybody on offense and defense stepped up and make plays when we had to.
(on if the win helps with the next few days off)
It makes it a little sweeter. If we do decide to travel or whatever we do, everybody has got to be safe and focus on the main goal. It’s not really about being off. It’s about getting ready for the next game and preparing to win the next game.
(on executing on big drives throughout the game)
It’s real big for us to put together those drives. It wasn’t like a short drive. We started in our own territory and drove it all the way down there. We were able to put up drives. At least if we didn’t get a touchdown, we put up three points. I think it helped our confidence and showed ourselves that if everybody executes and does the right things that we can make plays and win some games around here.
(on if tonight’s game helped him gain confidence)
Basically, just sticking with my reads. I think it helped me out. The offense did a tremendous job in just getting in and pushing those guys back and giving me some room to run. It’s just a situational thing with the running game. I need my offensive line and they need me. It’s just a situation that if I’m not doing what I have to do and they aren’t doing what they have to do, it’s not going to work. If I’m doing what I got to do and they are not then it’s not going to work. We need each other. In each situation they did a good job, not just in the running game, but in the passing game too.
TITANS QB MATT HASSELBECK
(on the drive after the Steelers took the lead)
The game is kind of a blur. It seems like we had so many opportunities to score, tie or win. We actually had to use a silent count; even though we were at home. It just got loud for us. There was one play when they were having a hard time getting to the line, and I got the ball and was really thinking about going to
(on the performance of the team)
The game really should have been so much better for us. We had so many mistakes and opportunities to score touchdowns and didn’t. So really right now I’m just thinking about the mistakes we made. We know that we can be so much better especially on offense. We have to clean things up where this guy has two mistakes, and I have two mistakes and they are never at the same time. We have to clean that stuff up that is very fixable and we will look so much better.
(on Jared Cook’s catch)
On Jared Cook’s catch we are trying to work the two-man combination on the right side. They were bringing a blitz, which is what they do and they are very good at it, and we just happened to have our protection sliding that way. Jared came underneath and beat the fire zone guy and had a bunch of room to run.
(on the emphasis on pass protection when you play the Steelers)
It is really important and that was the charge Munchak had coming into the game. He wanted to set the tone early with some of the protection schemes. We changed up quite a bit from what we normally do protection wise. Even with that they had three sacks and almost a fumble. Those are the things we have to clean up, and if we do we will look a lot better as an offense.
(on the effect that a win like this can have on the team)
We really felt like we needed this win, not just for morale but just the fact of playing at home. Our record is not what we expected it to be so it feels good to win against a good opponent and feels good to win a close game, to put some mistakes behind you and pull out a win.
(on Steeler fans taking over stadium)
It was pretty crazy. It must be a Steeler convention in town.
(on did it fire you guys up to have their fans here)
It was a great atmosphere. It was really fun and confusing at times when you here cheering you wonder was it a catch or incomplete. All it did was add to the excitement of the game.
TITANS CB JASON McCOURTY
(on how much better the Titans defense played tonight, as opposed to weeks past)
At this point, there is no point in worrying about that. It’s already gone. We’ve already given away four games. At this point, it’s a matter of trying to win out, now. I think we are moving in the right track and it’s just important for us to try to win out now. It’s important for us to be smart with these few days off and come back re-focused and continue to do what we do. We knew all along that we were more talented than we were putting on tape and it’s up to us to show that.
(on whether the Titans defense felt they could do better tonight, as the Steelers had some key injuries)
In the National Football League there are going to be injuries. Like you find out every year, you may pick a team to win the Super Bowl, and a key guy goes down and the next thing you know it’s tough on those guys to win. So definitely it’s tough to put a team to play with injuries. Guys in the NFL, backups come in and they are good too, so I think it was important for us to play our game no matter who was lined up on their side.
(on the Titans defense holding tough in the second half)
The last few weeks we’ve made stops, but we just haven’t been able to maintain it. So when we came in at half, we said to ourselves the most important thing for us to do is finish. It’s not good enough to play a good half of football and give our offense opportunities in the first half, but in the second half give up touchdowns. So I think it was just important for us to come out and not let up at all, and continue to press our foot on the pedal and continue to play well.
TITANS WR KENDALL WRIGHT
(on the Titans win)
It was really important to me. The offense, we haven’t been doing well. Tonight we did good, and it came from the way we practiced and prepared. I think it was a good win. Looking forward, I think we have a lot more in us for the next 10 or 11 games, whatever we’ve got left. I think tonight we handled our business.
TITANS WR NATE WASHINGTON
(on beating the Pittsburgh Steelers)
It’s my fourth year here now, and we haven’t gotten close to beating them, but tonight we pulled it off, so it definitely feels good. I’ve never had a real chance of getting at these guys, so tonight was a big game for us. We did some good things and were able to put together a win, and I’m very happy about beating the Steelers.
(on answering the Steelers’ offensive drives with Titans’ offensive drives)
It was big. We had to stay focused on what we had going on and we worked very hard in the couple of days that we had and the short amount of time we had to prepare. I think guys just got fed up. They wanted to keep fighting, so it definitely worked out for us tonight. This is how we have to be. Persistent and willing to give everything on every play. That’s what we did tonight. Even though things didn’t go right on one play or another, we made sure we bounced back. This is what we worked for. A win like this will be big for us, but we just have to stay focused at this time.
TITANS LB TIM SHAW
(on the win for the Titans defense)
You know, tonight was a really big game for us. I think that what people have seen thus far this season, wasn’t us. We were making those little mistakes that made us look bad. We were making those little missed tackles, and missed assignments that kind of made us look soft as a defense. We corrected a lot of those tonight and put a lot of pressure on the Steelers to make plays instead of us giving them plays. That’s the way the NFL should be every week. If you are playing sound, good football, you’re going to force them to make plays instead of just you giving them.
(on Titans defense not folding down the stretch)
I think that part of that was giving up the big play to start, giving them points on their first few drives. But we got stronger as the game went on. I think that’s a very good characteristic to have as a defense. We really wanted it tonight. I think you could see that. We wanted this win and really needed it, and we came together as a team tonight.
(on getting the blocked punt in the first half)
It was the first punt of the game and we knew they would snap the ball quickly so I was ready for that. Alan (Coach Lowry) called a block and I just went as hard as I could. I was ready for the snap, went as hard as I could, and they messed up and didn’t block me and I just took advantage, I can’t believe we didn’t score off it. We had practiced that all week and we had seen it on tape. Seeing the opportunity. So I was really anticipating the block, and if you don’t do that, you’re not going to get there.
STEELERS HEAD COACH MIKE TOMLIN
A disappointing performance tonight, but that is obviously what we are right now. We take ownership of that. We are not doing enough to finish games in hostile environments. That’s just the reality of where we are right now. Hopefully it’s just right now. We didn’t do the job tonight obviously, defeated ourselves in some areas, blocked kick and so forth. We will go back to work. That’s all we can do.
Needless to say it is disappointing. We tip our caps to those guys. They did the job tonight, we didn’t.
Some injury deals. (Maurkice) Pouncey got an MCL of some description that needs to be evaluated. Chris Carter has got a hamstring, Marcus Gilbert has got an ankle, (Rashard) Mendenhall had an Achilles of some kind. Isaac Redman has got an ankle and Brandon Johnson has a hamstring.
(on the injuries affecting the loss tonight)
(on Ryan Clark’s injury)
He was able to go back into the game. He had a hip pointer of some kind.
(on the 54-yard field goal attempt)
It was, but he banged the other one before that pretty clean so I decided to give him a shot at it. I take the responsibility for the miss.
(on how he evaluates Roethlisberger’s performance in light of the numerous injuries)
You know, we lost the game and that’s the way we look at it. That’s the way we need to look at it. Individual performances aside, we all could have done more to get out of the stadium. That’s just team football. That’s the ultimate team sport. We didn’t do the job.
(on the timing of the timeout during the field goal and its effect on icing the kicker )
Not at all. It was a clock stoppage. Shaun’s (Suisham) mentally a tough guy. I didn’t want the play clock to run down. We had a good team discussion about options. He banged the previous one pretty good. We decided to give him a shot.
(on trusting the process after going 0-3 on the road)
You know, obviously, we need to look at everything but I doubt that the process itself is an issue. We have to coach better. We have to play better. We have to finish better in these settings.
STEELERS QB BEN ROETHLISBERGER
(on setting the record and losing)
It doesn’t matter to me. A loss is a loss and that’s what means the most.
(on coming up short against lesser competition)
We don’t score enough points. We put (Shaun) Suisham in such a long field goal. I have to complete one more pass just to make it easier on him.
(on if he thought the field goal was good)
Yeah, every time he kicks I think it’s good. We just shouldn’t have put him in a situation to kick such a long one.
(on if there is anything consistent in the three road games that isn’t there in the home games)
We lost. We are not scoring enough points or making the play when we need to. I’m probably the most proud of them because there are some guys that are playing some real selfless football and stepping up in big situations and fighting through injuries and playing through injuries and playing for guys through injuries. I can’t say how proud I am of those guys.
(on playing with backups in the game because of injuries)
It doesn’t matter, we don’t make excuses. We have guys stepping up and doing a great job. It’s just one more completion. If I complete one more then I make it.
(on being 2-3)
It stinks. Not good. We have to get better.
(on getting back in the division race)
We are just going to take it one game at a time. We are not going to look too far ahead and just keep fighting.
STEELERS RB ISAAC REDMAN
(on bouncing back from this loss)
We have a lot of veterans on the roster and like coach (Mike) Tomlin says, ‘We have to smile in the face of adversity.’ Good teams are able to bounce back and we have good leaders around here. It’s just time for guys to step up and for us to become more of a team.
STEELERS WR MIKE WALLACE
(on the 82-yard touchdown)
It was just a go-route. On the first drive, on the first play of the game, I ran by him but we went the other way with it. We liked the look that we got on the first play so we just came back to it.
(on not going back to the deep ball)
They switched their coverage up, they started going a lot of cover-two with a lot of zones. They weren’t really playing a lot of man-to-man too much more after that.
(on if it’s a tough way for Ben Roethlisberger to set the all-time Steelers passing record)
Congratulations to him, but I know that he knows that it really doesn’t matter to him right now because we didn’t get the win. It’s not about personal records, it’s not about personal stats, it’s about winning ball games and we didn’t do that today.
(on if he feels like the Steelers are the better team)
Of course I feel like we are the better team. I wouldn’t be on the team. I wouldn’t be on a team that said they are better than us. I don’t feel like no team is better than us, but we have to prove it. We didn’t do that tonight. Tonight they were the better team, not us.
(on finishing the game)
We just have to put games away. I think that sometimes we make things harder than they have to be. We just have to put them away. We are just not making plays at the right time. We just have to pick that up.
STEELERS OT MAX STARKS
(on Ben Roethlisberger setting the Steelers all-time passing record)
He is a great teammate to have and I’m glad he got that record.
(on not winning any road games)
I wouldn’t call it disparity; I think one of the biggest things is the keyword of health. We had situations that happened quite frequently throughout the game. Guys got hit and got hurt. Some guys recovered and some guys didn’t come back on the field. We just kept trucking and I think that’s the biggest thing. It kind of hurt at critical points. We just have to take the time in the next 10 days to get healthy and get ready for the next game. Give these guys time to heal, that are injured. We don’t have a lot of room for error now. I have been here and been through this and been here a long time and been here through a lot worse situations at more critical points during the season. It’s still early and I think that’s one of the biggest things that we have on our side is that there is still some time and we have to be vigilant. We can’t be careless with that time.
(on if there is any frustration level starting to creep in)
I don’t think there is any frustration. If anything, it’s frustration of individual parts as far as what can I do as an individual. It’s more of an introspective look more so than outward blame. I think that’s the most important thing, is what can we do individually to get better and to make that better as a team. I definitely don’t think there will be any of those issues going on here.
(on if they have started to dig a hole for themselves)
Yes, but once again, we have had to dig deeper since I have been here and we climbed out OK. I’m not worried. I’m not discouraged, I’m encouraged. I think that if this is the worst that can happen then we will be alright. Adversity is here and as long as we overcome it then we will be a better team in the end.
STEELERS RB BARON BATCH
(on the team’s struggles on the road)
I just say it’s making plays when we’re in position. We just have to make those critical plays and it’ll come; we just have to keep working and not ride the emotional roller coaster—just keep plugging away.
(on losing a game when they could have easily won the game)
Yeah, it’s always frustrating. A lot of work goes in every week to prepare to get an opportunity to win a football game, so when you don’t pull it out it’s always disappointing.
(on the offensive struggles, particularly in the first half)
We just have to make plays. We just have to execute the plays that are called, it’s as simple as that. There is no secret to it; we just have to get better and execute what’s called.
STEELERS CB KEENAN LEWIS
(on if he feels like they were the better team tonight despite losing the game)
They played a good game too, hats off to those guys. They made their share of plays too, and they won.
(on dropping an interception on the Titans’ touchdown drive to tie the game in the fourth quarter)
I saw it. I make that play nine out of 10 times. I just have to concentrate and make that play, and we won’t be in this situation.
(on if his teammates have told him his dropped interception wasn’t why they lost the game)
They tell me, but I know—that’s all that matters. I have to make that play and they don’t even have that drive.
(on if the Titans did anything offensively today that they hadn’t showed on film)
No, they kept it the same as we saw on film. I am pretty sure they have faith in their wide receivers, their run game and their quarterback. They didn’t try to change nothing up. They came out like we prepared—it was the same thing we had seen on film. I would say they just made their share of plays.
STEELERS LB LARRY FOOTE
(on the mood in the locker room)
No, we have guys in the locker room. Guys just have to play better—everybody, especially in the fourth quarter, you have to make plays and you can’t have mental breakdowns. That’s what gets you beat in this league, ME’s and missed tackles, and that’s what happened to us in the fourth quarter. You saw it tonight, but it’s only five games. We’re 2-3, but our goals are still reachable, so 10 games from now when we get this thing corrected who’s going to remember the first five games? So we’re going to see what we’re made of. We’re dealing with some adversity right now, 2-3, everybody has written us off—even before the season, so nothing has changed. In this locker room we can turn this thing around.
(on how bad he thinks CB Keenan Lewis feels about dropping an interception)
No, I mean everybody has been there in this locker room—everybody. It was at a crucial time, but it was a blade of grass, it won’t change. When they blocked the punt and they were on the one-yard line, we’ve got to stop them. That didn’t make us lose.
(on Titans’ TE Jared Cook getting so wide open late in the game for a 25-yard completion)
It was a mental breakdown with the calls. That can’t happen. To be a good defense, you can’t do that—that’ll get you beat.
STEELERS S RYAN CLARK
(on if it feels like Déjà vu when they keep losing late in games like this)
No, because it’s not a dream—it’s reality. You’ve just got to make stops, period. You’ve got to make stops; it wasn’t a situation where we were questioning ourselves out there. LT (Steelers LB Lawrence Timmons) comes up with the big pick, that was a good play but we needed one more play on that last drive and we didn’t get it. Tennessee made the play they needed to to win the game and we didn’t. It’s a team sport and the offense keeps saying, ‘Oh no, it’s us too.’ but it’s not. It’s not, it’s the defense. They’re going to say it’s a team game and they should have made one more play, but it’s not true. They gave us enough points to win, they made enough plays to win the game. We had the lead in the fourth quarter, we need to keep it and we didn’t do it.
(on Steelers’ CB Keenan Lewis taking this loss hard after dropping an interception)
I think Keenan is crazy. Keenan played a very good game. He locked onto his man all game, made a lot of plays and sometimes you drop the football. I mean, wide receivers who do it every day come out and drop footballs. It was a tough play. Do I wish he would have caught it? Yes. But he didn’t, and that didn’t lose us the game, there were a lot of other plays that lost us the game, it wasn’t that.
(on if the amount of Steelers’ secondary players getting injured had an effect on their performance)
No, we’ve got guys who have played a lot of football. We lost Will Allen and Ryan Mundy comes in, guys play a lot of ball, I have a lot of respect for—done a good job for us. I go out and Ryan Mundy comes in again, so that has nothing to do with it. When they made those plays everybody who was supposed to be out there was out there, and we just didn’t do what we had to do.
(on his reaction to people saying it’s a different defense when Troy Polamalu isn’t in the game)
I mean people are going to say that, he’s a defensive MVP. I want him out there, don’t get me wrong, but we’ve lost games with Troy playing too. We’ve lost games with Troy and I out there at the same time. Last I remember, we lost the Super Bowl that way. That’s no excuse, we can’t sit there and cry because we don’t have Troy out there. We have to go out there and make plays. If you can field a team, you can win a football game. We’re fielding a team and we’re just losing.