Steelers quotebook:

Post-game reactions from Mike Tomlin, Hines Ward, Willie Colon, James Farrior, Brett Keisel, and Larry Foote.

MIKE TOMLIN

We just didn't get the job done today. That loss was similar to a lot of our losses. We had some self-inflicted wounds early and the spirited effort we displayed throughout the game wasn't enough to bring us back in the end. Disappointed by the loss but proud of these men the way they fight and the way they continue to fight in the face of adversity. The self-inflicted wounds I referred to earlier? We've got to do a better job of securing the ball. We can't turn the ball over and we have to take advantage of opportunities when we get them. We felt like we had some. We had a ball on the ground. We had an opportunity to intercept a few passes. We didn't get that done. We have to do a better job securing up breakout runs, specifically when we apply pressure make sure we have gap integrity. There's nothing mystical about our issues in terms of securing the run. We've got to get back to the fundamentals of making sure we're in our proper gaps when we apply pressure. I think these guys will get that corrected. We'll attack that early in the week as we move in for post-season play.

The injuries: Max Starks has a left knee sprain and we're hopeful he's going to be okay; James Harrison had a shoulder contusion and he came back into the game. Bryant McFadden had another ankle re-injury of the same injury and he didn't make it back. Willie Reid has an AC shoulder and we'll see where he's at during the week. James Farrior had a stinger and it shouldn't be a major thing. Santonio Holmes got kicked in the shin and he came back in the game.

Where do you assess your team's playoff readiness?

Ready or not, here we come. That's the reality of it. We're a 10-6 team. We won our division. We have a game against the five seed. We look forward to preparing for it.

Are you worried, considering the way you played today?

No. We don't tote baggage from performance to performance. If we came out and played stellar today, it wouldn't mean nothing in terms of what we've got to do next week. We'll prepare, evaluate, move on the way the way we always do.

Does having played them recently help lessen the prep time?

By no means. We've got to be razor sharp. We didn't like our performance the last time we played those guys. Taking nothing away from them. We know what kind of football team they are. We've got work to do. I know you would think at this point in the year you'd think you are a finished product; none of these teams in the playoffs thinks they're a finished product. We've got to put in a good week, make sure we're gap sound, make sure we're assignment perfect, get guys healthy and be ready to play.

Why are you giving up so much rushing yardage?

It looked to me like we were out of our gaps when we tried to apply pressure. That's part of it. That's the high risk/reward from applying pressure, but we make no excuses.

HINES WARD

Should this performance today affect anyone's thinking about this team as it heads into the playoffs?

No it shouldn't. We fought back hard and had a chance to win at the end. All our guys weren't in there. I wasn't in there; Ben wasn't in there; Faneca didn't play the full game. It's playoff time. You can't go by this game. Just like Jacksonville; they lost to Houston. Is that going to affect the way they come out and play? No it's not.

They physically beat you guys up last time. Can that be overcome?

We can. I don't see Fred Taylor doing that to our defense twice in a row. They've got a great team and it's going to be a challenge, but we'll see them Saturday night.

WILLIE COLON

What's your feeling about playing Jacksonville?

Everybody knows they're Pittsburgh Steelers south. Last time they came into our house they won by running the ball and playing tough defense. We've got to come back and answer the bell. It's Round Two for us and we've got to get the job done.

Is there an advantage in playing a team again so quickly?

Not for us. We got back over the mistakes we made and we realize we've got to play harder and faster. They hit us first and we didn't hit back.

JAMES FARRIOR

Are you concerned about the defense?

Yeah we gave up some yards. We're definitely giving up too much. We're not accustomed to giving up that many yards, but I feel good about my group and we're going to try to correct the things we're not doing right and get it going.

Why do you feel good about your group?

Because I don't have to go home for the off-season right now. We've got a chance. That's all we wanted. It's zero-zero right now and I've got a lot of confidence in this defense. We know how to play and we know how to play well.

What makes you think you can stop Fred Taylor?

They got us pretty good but we're going to be ready this time.

What about playing them so quickly?

I don't think it's an advantage to either team.

Could they be overconfident?

They should be. They should be coming in here with a lot of confidence. They beat us and they beat us convincingly. We're going to have to make it right.

BRETT KEISEL

What's going through your mind about the defense?

It's disappointing to us, especially this team that loves to stop the run and prides itself on stopping the run. We haven't been able to do that. Teams are going to keep attacking us like that, especially Jacksonville.

Can you figure it out in six days?

It had better, or we're going to be watching the playoffs.

Did the loss to Jacksonville leave a bad taste in your mouth?

They run the ball well and any time a team runs the ball well it leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but we have a chance to correct that.

What's your attitude about playing them so soon?

Obviously anyone likes a chance to get at someone that knocked you out. That's what happened last time; they were the more physical team. We've got to make some corrections and get back to the drawing board and hopefully we can shut them down.

Ravens ran on you. Is that becoming a trend?

Hopefully it's something that happens now and it's something we can correct and not let it happen to us during the playoffs.

Was Hampton upset?

I think all of us were pissed off. None of us likes teams running on us. They did that today and it was frustrating. You've got go forget about it and you've got to move forward.

Hines said Fred Taylor can't do it two games in a row to you. Why is he so confident?

Because we have to. We have to find a way right now. We have no choice, or we'll be watching.

The fact the town will be down on you all week will help, won't it?

Probably. We kind of like being the underdog. We played well in that role before and hopefully we can again.

LARRY FOOTE

On the playoffs:

All the six teams in the AFC are tough. This might be the toughest bracket ever.

Where's the defense stand with Aaron Smith gone?

It ain't just his replacement. It's a combination of things. We're not executing. Guys are trying to do too much. That's all behind us right now. It's zero-zero and next week we'll be ready to go.


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