HEAD COACH MIKE MUNCHAKHow big of a blow was that fake punt?Well it was one of many during the game, but we just didn't play well in all three phases. On the first drive, looked like we were going to get something right off the bat. We had two opportunities at first-and-goal, from the four, I guess it was and didn't come away with three and that hurt us. Then coming back with the defense getting stopped, and like you said the fake punt. That mistake there, which led to a score, just like the kickoff return to mid-field. We just didn't play well. We gave up big plays in the beginning of the game and in all three phases, and that's what happens when you give it up to a good team like this on the road.
Re: Using the word "flat" to describe the game:I don't know, something's just didn't go our way, when it could've early. They did a nice job. They drove the field on the first drive. Their defense rose up and made big plays to stop us. That was discouraging for us and a win for them because we only got three points. Defense got the kickoff returns, things like that put them in short fields and they took advantage of it. I think they just made it hard on us today. I wouldn't necessarily say we were flat, but we didn't play well. You can't do that against a good team.
Re: Ben Roethlisberger being best quarterback seen thus far:I don't think so. I think you wait to watch the tape, and put everything in perspective of what happened, what we did poorly and what we need to improve upon, then you go from there. We're not really concerned about it. We've got the bye week, and we've got a couple of weeks, so we'll have plenty of time to look what happened and worry about the next game then.
Re: More pass rush yards:You're always hoping to go after the quarterback. I commend them, they're smart. We were put in a lot of high pressure situations. We didn't get to lead like we wanted to, and they got the lead on us. They were able to dictate what they wanted to do. We never got them like other teams had, that they struggled with protection-wise when they had to throw the ball and became one-dimensional. They popped off another 80-yard run that shouldn't have happened. Some guys probably missed some tackles, and you can't do things like that and we did. To hit the sacks to get the pressure on someone, you have to be able to stop the running game first.
Re: Fake punt:When you see a play like that happen, you know someone made a mistake, and we had a guy make a mistake on that play.
Re: Frustrations between quarterback and receivers:We've had that a lot in even game where we won, and at times where we're throwing more times than we hoped. We'll have different guys in there because of the tight-ends, situations, inflammations, and at different times, but nothing more than normal.
Re: Chris Johnson's injury:Chris's hamstring just got tight in the fourth quarter, in the last three or four minutes of the game. So, we just figured there's no sense in having him take a chance at hurting that more. If the game was in a different situation, he probably could have gone back in.
Re: Onside kick:That's what we think. I mean that's how we're going to look at that, as when things just aren't going your way. I don't know why that happens, that was a chance we had at getting back in the game. We also have a touchdown and block punt that's called back for a penalty. It seemed like even when we were trying to get out of this thing.
Re: Craig Stevens' ribs:Towards the end, when the game got in that situation when we were down three scores, that's when you have to been smart. The other guys are healthy and they can do things, you just have to be smart of who you're playing towards. The fact that he was sore, we thought there was no reason to keep him in there.
If scored in opening drive, would it have changed the dynamic of the game?You hope it's not just that. I hope we're not just going to go to the tank because we got helped with three points instead of seven. I think they came back and the fact that they scored right away, that got their defense started again. Their defense got rejuvenated.
QB MATT HASSElBECKWhat was the biggest problem on the offense today?On of the two biggest things was probably not getting the touchdown on the first drive. That was an opportunity for us to accomplish our goal for the day, which was to start fast and get up early. The biggest thing was our third down production in the first half. We weren't on the field long enough, we didn't convert. Besides the first drive, we didn't convert on third down. That was a problem. We just got so far behind. I think the second drive of the second half we were going two-minute at that point.
Re: Almost getting seven instead of three points on the first driveIt's a game of inches and we just didn't execute. We just didn't make those plays that we've got to make. We had opportunities. Nate [Washington] had one that looked like he caught it, and he came down on the ground and the ball popped out. We had injuries too with Craig Stevens, so he was in there. It was close, but he and I need to work on our continuity I guess.
Do you feel like you were overall less accurate today on your throws?I don't know what to attribute everything to. We didn't execute the way that we need to execute. I know we had different people playing different positions, but I don't think it was that necessarily. I think we need to be a little sharper and a little crisper. I know we got tired at the end; we were going 2-minute for the whole second half. You got guys in there that played a ton of snaps. Snap after snap, deep route after deep route. And then you got other guys like our fullback that just didn't play a lot of plays today. When you get in a 2-minute situation it's tough. I think really we made it really hard on ourselves in the first half.
Do you think it's still a work in progress on offense with timing and communication?I think more than that, what the Steelers did was they played us man outside with two safeties and kind of like a zone inside. Again, you got guys like Troy Polamalu who are just play-makers who just run to the ball, just running to what he feels, what he thinks. He's a great player and he was disruptive to us. He made some of our reads a little slower because we were trying to figure out what he was doing. He's a great player that makes it hard on you. I wish I had more answers. I just have more questions than answers right now.
With the Steelers having four of their front seven out on their defensive line, do you think you had a better running game today?We had a great first drive. We pretty much accomplished everything we set out to do on our first drive. We just didn't come away with seven points. That was the big thing. After that, we really stalled. We didn't look like we looked on the first drive.
Re: Cortland Finnegan's touchdown being called backIt would have been big, but like I said, I think the first half is where we really shot ourselves in the foot. We had to overcome penalties and all this stuff that's not being characteristic of us. I think they just did a really good job in all three phases. They made plays and executed well on all three phases. Anytime a team does that, it's going to be tough to beat them. We didn't play our best football, so those things combined makes it difficult to win the game.
Do you think the Steelers played with a greater sense of urgency than you?It's hard to say. We kind of looked like we looked in Jacksonville to be honest. For me, what I have to do is go watch the film and see what I can do better, see where I can improve. The good thing is that this just counts as one loss. Even though we played really bad, it only counts as one loss.
Re: The rest of the AFC South losing todayWhen you play a team in the AFC like Pittsburgh, you know you might have to meet this team again down the road. I think that's something that we know. They are a team that's usually in the playoff hunt, usually in the playoffs. We may see this team again, so we'll have to review ourselves.
Re: Not letting the praise get to you for the from the success of the first four gamesI think I just feel that you can feel people patting you on your back, and that's not what helps you in games. I think typically what helps you in games is hard work and feeling like you've got something to prove and feeling like you've got to give everything you got. I'm just slow to accept that stuff. I'm not trying to make a statement necessarily, I'm just trying not to pile on. It's a long season; typically we look at the season in four quarters. The first four games our goal is to come out of that 3-1. The next four games I think our goal is to come out of that 3-1. We just made it hard on ourselves. These next three games at home, we've got to take care of business.
Re: Woodley's interceptionThat was a great catch by Woodley. We were running a play. Zone coverage was coming to the tight end with the ball and he batted the ball at the line of scrimmage and the ball went up. Sometimes the ball doesn't bounce your way. It was a great catch by him. We had momentum because we just got an onside kick so that was huge, and they just stole the momentum right back.
RB CHRIS JOHNSONWhat happened after the first drive?After that, we had a couple plays that weren't too good, and then their offense put up some points and things like that. It kind of made us pretty much one dimensional. We came out in the second half still trying to get the running game going, but the score kind of got too out of hand. We continued to still try and run the ball, and we got into a one-dimensional passing game.
How much does this loss take away from the three-game winning streak?It takes a lot. It's kind of hard going into the bye week with a loss. We wanted to go into the bye week 4-1 and things like that and hopefully get momentum coming out of the bye week. Having this loss is going to be really tough. We have to think about this loss for two weeks straight, just until we can get back on the field and get a victory. It will be kind of tough.
How disheartening was it to settle for three points on the first drive?That was tough, being that we ran the ball like we did, and just moved the ball down the field like that. I think once we got back there it was two or three plays that moved us back, and for us not to get in the end zone and for them to come back and go right down the field and get in the end zone, it was kind of tough. They were doing things that we've got to overcome.
Would you have wanted to go back in the game if it were closer?I kind of wanted to go back in the game, but after meeting with the trainers and coaches and staff and stuff, since the game was really out of hand, they didn't want me to go back into the game and make anything worse.
Could you describe the pain level of the hamstring injury?Really, it just got tight on me. I caught a ball and ran it down the field and didn't feel anything there, then when I ran the next play it just felt a little tight and came out of the game to check on it and it was pretty good. I was set to go back in, but they didn't want to injury it more knowing that the game was pretty much out of hand.
When did it start to tighten up?Fourth quarter.
Did it hurt at the beginning of the game?No, I didn't have any problems with it.
*DB TOMMIE CAMPBELLRe: Thoughts on returning to Pittsburgh *I had some happy emotions on returning, with my family and everything, but I'm a little upset that we lost the game.
Re: His path to the NFL
I was a little excited. I never thought I was going to play football at one point, but I'm a little down because we lost the game.
Re: His comeback opportunityI just worked with every opportunity that God has given me, and moved forward and pushed forward. I just keep going on and don't look back.
Was it a good experience to come back to Pittsburgh as an NFL player?Most definitely, to see where I came from and where I am now. That's the only positive thing about this trip so far.
DT SHAUN SMITHRe: Steelers' offensive lineThey just beat us. There's nothing to say. They had guys substituting in, it doesn't make a difference. They get paid to play too. At the end of the day, we missed a lot of tackles. I can probably answer a little bit better tomorrow, but we missed a lot of tackles. They wanted it more than us today. We have to go back to the drawing board. We have a long two weeks ahead of us. It's a good thing that we have three straight games at home. Hopefully the 12th man can rally us and we can get to 6-and-2.
With the Steelers' offensive line banged up, did you think you'd have more success in getting pressure on Ben?It's not about that. They're professionals. We're all in the NFL. Whether it's the fifth lineman dressing, whatever, on Sundays you have to come out to play. They had guys banged up during the game. We just missed a lot of tackles overall. We gave up 38 points. We haven't given up 30 points all season. We have to go back to the drawing board. We have a long two weeks to see and correct some things.
They were able to create some holes up the middle.It wasn't holes. You can go back and see, we missed tackles. We missed a lot of tackles, and when we did tackle they fell forward for two yards. We just have to go back to the drawing board.
RB JAVON RINGERAssessment of the game:We didn't want to go into the bye week feeling like this. We just have to rebuild, stay together as a team, and come back strong after the bye week.
What happened after the first drive?I don't know. It's kind of hard to say. We just lost rhythm. Things just didn't go our way this game after the first drive. We just had to deal with things as they were going and trying to make up for it, but it just wasn't in our favor today.
Re: Accepting a 3-and-2 recordThe reality is that that's all we can do, accept it for what it is. We'll watch film tomorrow and try to correct the mistakes and move on to the next game.
LB PATRICK BAILEYWas the Steelers' opening kickoff a fake reverse?I think it was a fake reverse. I saw somebody flash behind there. It just looked like he bounced it back where the fake reverse was going. I don't know. I just got off my guy and chased.
Did they do the same thing last year?They did the reverse last year. It was more distinguished in that they went one way. This time they went straight up the middle and then he bounced it out to the side.
Re: Giving up two big plays on special teamsIt happens. Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you. They had something for us. They got us.
LB AKEEM AYERSRe: Difficulties getting the defense off the fieldIt was more of us making minor mistakes and not being where we were supposed to be. We hurt ourselves early, and we just came out and fixed the mistakes that we needed to fix and continued playing.
The Steelers had some injuries but you couldn't get to Ben.They did a good job protecting Ben when they threw the ball, and they did a good job of running the ball downhill.
How do you explain not playing well going into your bye week?They just came out prepared. They came out and did what they're supposed to do. We just didn't do the things that we needed to do. I put it more on us. I won't say it was so much of them coming out and dominating. It was more of us just not doing what we're supposed to do.
How much did the fake punt affect the game?It was huge. It was a chance for us to get off the field and get our offense the ball. After that, the momentum switched and they scored point after point.