With the Steelers facing a quick turnaround for Thursday night's game in Baltimore, Mike Tomlin's review of Sunday's harrowing win over the Cleveland Browns was more timely than usual.
From the Steelers' 30-27 win, Tomlin pointed out two areas in which the team fell short:
1. Penalties -- The Steelers were penalized 11 times for 96 yards, and the most critical, according to Tomlin, were "the way they affected the drive starts in the second half."
The Steelers started their first possession of the second half at their own 6, thanks to an illegal block by Terence Garvin on the kickoff return. A holding penalty on Heath Miller put them back at their 10 to start a drive in the fourth quarter. Those were two of five second-half penalties.
2. Issues with Communication -- Tomlin said the team must improve not only its communication on the field during an opponent's no-huddle attack, but its communication from the booth to the sideline and the sideline to the field.
Tomlin saw this as a problem against the up-tempo attack and the misdirectional passing game the Browns used for several big gains.
WHAT WENT RIGHT?
Of course, the Steelers won, so some things had to go right. Tomlin was most pleased with the "tremendous play in the waning moments, the most significant moments, of the game in all three phases."
Specifically, Tomlin was pleased with the play of slot corner William Gay, who broke up a third-and-7 pass to the tight end on the penultimate series, and then broke up the second-down pass and blew up the third-down screen pass on the final series, which allowed the Steelers to gain possession and kick the winning field goal.
The coach also praised wide receiver Markus Wheaton -- who caught six passes for 97 yards in his first career start -- for coming up with catches of 11 and 20 yards on the game-winning drive.
Tomlin's special-teams star was punter Brad Wing, who in his first pro game grossed 43.7 and netted 40.3 on six punts and also handled the placement of Shaun Suisham's 41-yard field goal as time expired.
Sounds like good news on the injury front. Rookie RB Dri Archer has a sprained ankle and reserve safety Shamarko Thomas has "an ankle-to-Achilles' sprain of some kind." Both are listed as questionable.
"They're Baltimore. We're Pittsubrgh. We understand what that means," Tomlin said in speaking for everyone associated with both teams. So instead of breaking down the entire lineup, Tomlin pointed out the Ravens' most important newcomers:
* Offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak prefers a zone-running scheme and misdirection in his passing game, two elements that trouble these Steelers.
* Wide receiver Steve Smith is 35 years old but the former Carolina Panthers star caught seven passes for 118 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens' 23-16 opening-day loss to the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.
"He is a difficult guy to get on the ground," Tomlin said. "He's a ridiculous competitor ... very similar to Antonio Brown ... he doesn't die easy with the ball in his hands."
* Tight end Dennis Pitta missed last season's games against the Steelers with a dislocated and fractured hip. He caught 10 passes for 83 yards Sunday against the Bengals.
* Jeremy Zuttah has replaced Bruce Gradkowski's brother Gino at center.
Tomlin was asked if he saw the surveillance video of Ray Rice slugging his then-fiance (current wife) in the face, which led to his current two-game suspension.
"I have and I have nothing to say regarding that video. Absolutely nothing," Tomlin said. "So don't ask."