Steelers Post Game Quotes Part 2

<b>HINES WARD</b><p> <b>How hard is it to swallow considering the domination in the first half? </b><br> <b>HW:</b> Our chances were there. We didn't capitalize on them. We had opportunities and the interception at the end of the half, that kicked our momentum. You have to tip your hats. They're a great team. But you can't turn the ball over against a great team.

How do you fix the red-zone problems?
HW: Keep working at it. Getting down there is not a problem. We've just got to find ways to get it in the end zone. And when they keep us out of the end zone, it demoralizes the offense. We're getting down there enough; we're just not putting up touchdowns. It's something we have to work on in practice.

Did Dyson seem more confident to you today?
HW: He played good today. He's getting better.

Did the safety turn momentum?
HW: I think so. I mean, we had opportunities to take it but the offense gave up 16 points. Against a great team like Tennessee, you can't do that. You can't expect to beat a team like that by giving them 16 points like that.

Does it make it more demoralizing when you give them the points?
HW: Yeah it does. It's disappointing. Offensively, the whole first half I thought we played a dominant game. The first drive we had the ball like 10 minutes. That was our whole goal coming into this game was to keep their offense off the field, and to come up with three points, that's kind of demoralizing because of how long we held the ball. We need to start putting up touchdowns instead of field goals.

If you don't give up the touchdown at the end of the first half is it a different game?
HW: I think so. Like I said, momentum, that killed us. Samari made a great play on it, taking it back for a touchdown. It just demoralizes a team when somebody does that.

Did they beat you physically today?
HW: We played physical. We knew it would be a physical game. I got a pretty good hit on. I'm still hurting right now. Like I said, it was nothing they did. They're a great team but we had a lot to do with it.

Is the team too dependent on the passing game?
HW: I don't know. It's hard to say. We had to pass late because we were down. I think we did an excellent job in the first half. We mixed it up with the run and pass. Amos got loose and scored a touchdown. We have to learn how to play a full 60-minute ball game like that. By giving up the touchdown at the end of the half, that demoralized us. We never could get back on our feet after that.

Did their pass rush affect Maddox?
HW: Their front four is good, but at times we gave Tommy enough time to throw it. At times he got pressured. They're a great team. They're great. We had opportunities. We had the whole first half won. We dominated their defense. For us to go down at the half like that, it hurt the offense. Mentally, we knew we were dominating them and the score didn't show it. We ended up trying to play catch up all day and it hurt us.

Did the safety make Maddox more skittish?
HW: When you're down in the red zone like that, things are going to happen more quickly, especially when you're backed up on your own one-yard line. The guy got pressure up the middle and got a safety.

TODD FORDHAM

What happened?
TF: The hardest thing is, offensively, if you can control the ball, you've got to make plays. We made too many mistakes. We can't make mistakes.

What's holding you up in the red zone?
TF: Usually it's ourselves, a guy here, a guy there. When you get down there you've got to score points. It comes down to executing the whole way down.

Is it a death sentence against that team when you can't run?
TF: It's tough, but the first half we were able to do what we wanted to. We ran the ball some; we passed the ball some. When you do it like that you can keep them on their heels and dictate. And then when you get in the pass mode it's tough against that group of guys because they are good. But you've still got to get it done and we made too many mistakes.

How difficult is it to block their three pass rushers on the line at the same time?
TF: It's tough; it's always tough. Heck that's a good rushing team. So it's always tough.

How good is Kearse?
TF: He's a great player. He plays hard, he runs to the ball, he's athletic, he's physical, he's a great player. He's even better when when he knows what you're going to do when you're down. He's playing one thing and that's what he's good at is pass rushing. He's a tough player, but heck there are a lot of tough ones out there.

Is it difficult when they rotate different players?
TF: It's tough sometimes. Every guy rushes a little bit different. You've got to adjust your game to whoever's in there. Sometimes it's pretty tough because it seems like every two or three plays there's a different guy you're going against. It is tough but heck that's part of the game.

TOMMY MADDOX

How difficult is it to lose after dominating?
TM: It's difficult any time you do the things you want to do. In the first half, it was all day. We moved the ball very well; we did the things we wanted to do; we controlled the clock, made first downs. When you give a good team 16 points and get beat by 17 that pretty much sums it up. On the safety I was just trying to get out of the end zone and slipped. Once I did that I was kind of caught back there. You just can't do those things. We played very well the first half. The defense goes out and plays great, gives us another opportunity to put some more points on the board before halftime, then you make a mistake and all of the sudden you're down at the half. You know, we came out fighting. We moved the ball back down, had a chance to kick a field goal and didn't do it. We kept moving the ball back down, felt like we were in the red zone all day but didn't capitalize on it.

Did Rolle expect that route and jump on it?
TM: Yeah. They were in man. They played 22 man. I thought Plax was going to get inside of him. Obviously, looking back, I wish it was a throw I wouldn't have made, but I thought Plax was going to get inside of him and catch it. We would've needed a couple more completions to be in field goal range, if not score a touchdown. They made a good play.

What happened on the second interception?
TM: They blitzed off the corner and we were rolling out. Believe it or not I was actually just trying to do the smart thing and throw it away. I was trying to throw it at Jay's feet, get rid of it, huddle up and go from there. The guy kind of tripped me up at the end and obviously I threw it a little more inside than I wanted to. At that point I got tackled, thought I threw it into the ground and before I knew it the guy was running the other way. Those are frustrating plays. I was actually trying to do the right thing, take the sack and huddle up. It was one of those days. It's a frustrating thing. The defense played great. They kept them stymied all day except for a play here or there. The offensive line stepped up and played hard. Like I said, everyone played good. I wish I had three plays back. You can pin those on me and we'll go from there.

What have you learned about this team after four games?
TM: The thing that I love about playing with these guys, and it doesn't matter whether it's the two games we won or the two games we lost, everybody plays hard. Everybody loves playing together and plays hard. And if we do that, we'll be all right. It's a long season. To coin a phrase, you're going to have days like this. You wish you wouldn't, but you do.

How would you describe your experiences against Tennessee?
TM: Huh. It's frustrating. Obviously that's a team that the last two years, we've played them three times, and you know two out of three times I felt we should've beaten them. That's the hard thing. You go out and prepare all week, prepare as hard as you can, and I can't say enough about the guys today. We went out and did all the things we talked about doing. We talked about controlling the line of scrimmage; we talked about controlling the clock and moving the ball. You can't give them two plays like that. Right before the half you give them a big play and we're still really in the game, and you give them another big play. It's one thing to have turnovers. It's another thing to have turnovers they score on. You can't have that.

What did their pass rush cause?
TM: It didn't cause a whole lot until we got behind and obviously we had to start throwing. That's a tough position to put the offensive line in. When you're going against guys who are very good pass rushers and they know you've got to throw the ball, they pin their ears back and come. But in the first half our guys did a great job. I think on our first two or three drives, I didn't get touched. Oliver stepped in and played great at left tackle. They fought hard all day. Even at the end when they knew we were throwing the ball, they got a couple cheap ones. But our guys played really good up front.

Did you find yourself rushing after the safety?
TM: No.

You lost to the two best teams you played. Does that matter to you guys?
TM: Yeah. I mean, those are things you've got to learn from. Obviously, you look at how we prepared for both games; you look at how we came out of the blocks, doing the things we wanted to do. We got up on both of them. We've just got to sustain that throughout the game. I think that for whatever reason, and that's what we've got to look at, you give them a play here or there that gets them back in the game instead of slamming the door when you have to. If we stick it in the end zone a couple of those times we're down there, and don't give them a safety because the defense is playing really good, it's a whole different game. Yeah, ifs, ands or buts. It's early in the year and you learn from those things. You take what you learn from those things and you move on. Hopefully, the next time we get in that situation we do slam the door. I think in this league, and the way our defense is playing, if we get up 10, 13, 17 points, we're going to be pretty tough to beat.

Is the red zone a mystery at this point?
TM: The red zone is really about making plays and we're just not making plays right now. We're not making the throws we need to; we're not making the plays we need to. Obviously, it gets tough down there. They play coverages we haven't seen, but we've got to figure out a way to score more touchdowns than field goals. That's what's frustrating. The coaching staff is putting us in good position to make those plays. We're just not making them.

Jim Wexell
SteelCitySports.com


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