What the Steelers Said After Defeating the Ravens

Head Coach Mike Tomlin

“I’m just really appreciative of the effort of the guys. Obviously, this is a tough place to play. That’s probably three or four years in a row right there, that we’ve been able to come up here and get it done. We’re thankful for that, for the efforts. It was a tough environment today, from a climate perspective. The ball security component was a challenge, but it was a challenge for both teams. I thought it was significant in terms of how the game unfolded, particularly in the first half for us. We were down there in scoring territory a couple of times and came away with no points because of a lack of ball security. Thankfully we made enough plays to secure a victory.”

On his update regarding T.J. Watt’s injury:

“T.J. is being evaluated with a knee injury. I’ll have more information probably the next time we get together. Obviously, we’re disappointed in that. But there are challenges in the game of football. There are challenges in life. We’ll deal with it, whatever it may be.”

On whether the offensive gameplan was to feature Najee Harris:

“Especially considering the conditions, yes.”

On whether Watt attempted to return to the field after being evaluated for injury:

On Mason Rudolph remaining confident after having a couple of balls knocked out of his hand earlier in the game:

“Like I mentioned several weeks ago when we put him in the lineup, he has an unshakeable confidence in himself. It is real.”

On Calvin Austin’s long punt returns:

“They’ve got a talented punter. He created opportunity for us at times. So, I’m thankful for that.”

On defending the Ravens’ running game:

“We knew there would be a commitment to it, not only because of their style of play, but environmentally. So that was an asset to our calls. No doubt.”

RB Najee Harris

On if he knew the team was going to put the game on his shoulders:

“Yeah, man it’s not the first time that it’s happened. We all talked about it. The biggest thing that we were worried about is … ball security. My first play, I tried to tuck it away and it just slipped right out of my arms, so I knew that was one thing that needed to be emphasized a little bit more. So, I’m on the sideline, I tried to get like two towels, kept trying to rub my arms and things like that. We knew that ball security is going to be a big issue, and that’s going to be the outcome of the game.”

On the Ravens resting a few defensive starters:

“I wasn’t really too worried about who was going to be playing. We knew they were going to rest some of their guys, but the main thing for us to do was to get the win so we can even get into the playoffs. That’s all that matters. We did that today. We didn’t really care about who was out there or how long they were going to play. We wanted to play so physical that if they did play their ones, their guys, we wanted (Head Coach John) Harbaugh to say, ‘You know, we’ve got to get them out of there because of how physical we’re playing.’ I think we did that today, and hopefully we get to … I think we’ll play them again, right? If things work out, we’ll come back.”

DT Cam Heyward

On the feeling in the locker room after bouncing back from a three-game losing streak:

“We’re just trying to stack wins. We understand that we needed this game to help our fate. It wasn’t easy. It’s never easy when you come to this place, no matter who’s out there, but I’m proud of the guys. They gutted out that win, and we’ll see what happens from there.”

On if they could replace T.J. Watt:

“We better be able to. That’s a tall ask. It’s not going to be one guy. We’ll have to mix some things up, but as a pass rush crew and a D-line and an outside linebacker crew, we must step up. That goes to guys like Alex Highsmith, who I thought played well today. Nick Herbig [and] Markus Golden, these are the guys we relied on for depth all season, and they’ve done a good job. No one is going to go out there saying, ‘Hey. I’m T.J. Watt,’ but collectively, we’ve got to pick it up.”

On the team’s confidence and Mason Rudolph growing each week:

“Every week he handles it. He handles his composure very well. If you look at that game, you were just looking for a spark on that third-and-4, and he finds it right to Diontae Johnson for the touchdown. You need that from the quarterback position. We’ll rally around any quarterback, but Mason’s played really well as of late.”

WR Diontae Johnson

On how big his touchdown was:

“We got the right coverage we were looking for, great call. Mostly it gave me a chance to make a good play and I was able to come down with it and take it to the end zone. It was a big play. I just had to make a big play for the offense. We needed it and it was a game changer.”

On how good the throw was on his touchdown:

“It was perfect, right through two defenders. It was on me, right where I needed it. I was able to body catch it and keep striding to score.”

On the conditions of the game:

“It was cold, it was rainy, a little bit of snow. It was tough, but we’ve got to do a better job at ball security. Anything can happen, those turnovers can change the game and luckily, you know, we were able to stay on top of the ball and just finish the game.”

On if his touchdown was off script:

“Oh, no. That was in the gameplan. We worked on that play during the week, earlier in the week. It’s just a matter of opportunity and when the play gets called, it’s something you have to complete. They told me on the sideline before the play was even called. I was already ready, preparing myself, what I was going to do in that moment. I executed it.”

On what it’s like beating the Ravens twice this season:

“It’s AFC North football rivals. They have a great defense on that side of the ball. You can’t take them lightly, never when you play them. It was a big win … when we play them, you know what type of football you’re going to get. Hard-nosed, physical football. We won on the line of scrimmage today and we came out with a ‘W’ today.”

QB Mason Rudolph

On getting done what needed to be done despite the weather:

“This was probably the most challenging weather I’ve had to deal with in my career. For the most part, [we] took care of the ball and put one on the ground to Jaylen [Warren]. We were able to recover the one at the end, which was huge, Broderick [Jones] did a good job. So, [I’m] just proud of the way we ran the ball up front, and we thought we controlled the line of scrimmage pretty darn well. We knew we would have to ride the wave of our offensive line, and they paved the way for us.”

On if he saw something pre-snap on the pass to WR Diontae Johnson:

“They took Pat [Freiermuth] away. They were dropping defensive linemen or just hugging him immediately with a linebacker. So the ball went to Diontae Johnson. He did a great job after the catch and split those guys and ran fast like he always does and scored.”

On if there was a weight lifted with that play:

“Absolutely. It was back and forth. It was a punting match in the third quarter for a while. It was a big energy boost for our team and for our defense to get the lead and know that Baltimore was now going to be in a drop-back passing situation.”

On if they did anything particular to take George Pickens away:

“Yes, absolutely. They double-covered most of the game. I told him I was very proud of the way he handled it. I thought it was very mature – team first attitude. He was not whining or asking for the ball. He knew schematically they were trying to take him away. I think that’s a form of flattery from a defense. They know how explosive he is. We blocked hard all day. He was excited for his teammates, and that was awesome to see.”

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