Quotebook

The Steelers beat the Titans, 13-10, in overtime of the NFL opener last night. One of the stars, Santonio Holmes, talked about his Super Bowl-like performance.

Santonio Holmes, wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: Do you realize you had the exact same numbers tonight as in the Super Bowl?

A: Really? Wow, that's sweet.

Q: You picked up exactly where you left off, didn't you?

A: I said it's time to be great. I told coach situational football is what I like, man. Once those lights come on everything refers back to Friday nights. High school, that's where it all started for me.

Q: Why the screens?

A: They were blitzing us a lot so we figured it's a better way of getting the ball out of our hands and get some positive yardage.

Q: You missed a couple preseason games and Arians was quoted as saying it'll take a while for you to get going. Was that what you were thinking?

A: I really didn't think so. Preseason is for the birds. It's to get better, get the young guys ready, and get going. I honestly thought to myself I was ready to play ball. I was here an hour and a half earlier than normal, got ready, got my body right, and I was ready to go.

Q: After you saw what Ben did in the Super Bowl, was tonight just routine?

A: What was he? Thirty three for 43? He played outstanding. He took some big hits, threw two interceptions, but hey we play football. We had to stay positive and keep making plays and that's what he did.

Q: Why was Ben successful with the two-minute offense?

A: When those defensive linemen get tired, he's able to scramble and make plays. He's able to call the plays he wants to run. B.A., Coach Arians, he lets him have his way on the field when it comes down to situational football.

Q: When you won the coin toss, did you think you'd win?

A: No question. No question. That's not to be cocky or to have a big head or anything, but when we get put in these situations, we're looking to win, and whatever it takes to win that's what we've got to come out and do.

Q: How close did you come to taking that slant all the way?

A: Oh, man, I felt that one, man. I didn't think he was that close to me. I thought he was just going to try to clip at my legs, but he kind of hit me in the thigh and slowed me up just a little bit. I think once I get my legs under me throughout the rest of the season, those plays are going to be there for us.

Q: Another play, the third down play that set up the tying points. What went on there?

A: The play kind of broke down. They dropped back in coverage to cover all the zones and I just kept working. I slid in the one hole, the defender saw it, and I slid right behind him and I was able to catch the big play in the middle.

Q: Was it déjà vu the way the defense kept you in it?

A: Honestly, that's there job. They speak to it every day. They go out and do it every week. So that's their job, to go out and hold teams to minus points and let us score more points.

Q: Will it be important to get the running game going?

A: First game of the season we played against one of the top defenses in the NFL, you can't ask for anything else. All we can do is go in the lab and correct the mistakes.

Q: How much do Ben's pump fakes help you?

A: It helps out a lot because they know once Ben's ready to throw he's ready to throw the ball. To get those people engaged in a pump fake, it frees us up. We know no play's done until the whistle blows.

Q: Is he more distinctive with it now than in past years?

A: Probably. Probably, because he has the opportunity to have four and five wides with a tight end and a running back who are all capable of making big plays. He can pump it downfield and throw it short to get the first downs.

Q: What about splitting the cover-2 safeties with the touchdown?

A: It was a beautifully designed play, man. I saw it. I had a smile on my face I think when the ball was let out of his hand because I saw how wide open I was. I was excited to get behind those guys. I put a good move on them, pumped them, got them going to the outside. And I knew when I saw the safety jump the in route I knew I was going over the top of those guys.

Q: Why not run the two-minute offense earlier?

A: We just have to get a feel, get whatever we can get early in the game. If it's not working for us we'll just go to our bread and butter, and that seems to be our bread and butter right now and we're going to stick with it until they stop us.

Q: Why did you start overtime with it?

A: Like I said, it's our bread and butter. Until teams stop us, that's what we're going to do.

Q: You were talking to Hines after his fumble. That's usually the role he plays. What were you saying to him?

A: Right when the guys took the knee, I looked at him and walked up and bumped him and told him, ‘You always tell me to keep my head up. Plays like that happen. Go out and make up for it in overtime.' I gave him the same advice he always gives me. He shook his head and said, ‘All right.' And that was that.

Q: How down was he?

A: He was hurt. I don't know how many catches he had without a fumble, and it happened in a critical point when he was trying to win the ball game. I know he was trying to be great. He was doing his job. But it so happened that he stumbled and the guy came in and stripped the ball.

Bruce Arians, offensive coordinator, Steelers

Q: Mewelde Moore gave you some big plays. Could you talk about him?

A: Good solid runner, good pass protector, and a fifth wide receiver. He's a special guy. It's all hands on deck and everyone has to contribute, whether it be Limas, Willie, Rashard. Mewelde understands his role and is doing whatever it takes to win.

Q: Why so many screens early?

A: Just get off to a good rhythm and get each guy involved in the game. Your stars need to touch the ball and there are ways of getting it to them quick and getting them in the game and then asking them to block, so you get them all a catch. But we've got to improve our running game.

Q: What do you say about the running game right now?

A: We won. Let's go back to the drawing board and see what's wrong. We were getting our asses kicked or we were making assignment and technique mistakes. We've got another big defensive line to work against next week so it'll be another great challenge.

Q: How much of the no-huddle stuff do you guys go over every week?

A: Oh, a ton. It's more of a walk through. We practice five plays on Friday, but we walk through them Thursday, Friday and Saturday. We have about a hundred plays out of the no-huddle that he (Roethlisberger) can use and he does a good job of mixing it up.

Q: Is he getting more distinctive now in his pump fakes?

A: Yeah. When they're in zone coverage you can pump guys and move them. Of course, you've got to have protection to do that and the guys did a heck of a job.

Q: Looks like you took a peak at Mewelde as a short-yardage runner, didn't you?

A: Yeah, he was the guy in the game and we let him roll. No, that's one area that's a concern. There were three 3rd-and-1s that we didn't make. We'll go back and look if it was us, our plan, our players, or did we ask someone to do something he couldn't do. We'll go back to the drawing board.

Q: Will Ben begin being looked at as one of the best 2-minute guys?

A: I would think they would start giving him that (laughs). Super Bowl, now this first overtime, yeah, I think people would start giving him his due.

Q: Did you go no-huddle in overtime because that's what you do best?

A: Yeah, we had them a little tired I thought from that last drive, and I knew they'd gas pretty quick, and they started all-out blitzing because they couldn't get there with four. We picked those up and we made plays that we didn't make earlier in the game. I was really pleased with that.

Deshea Townsend, cornerback, Steelers

Q: Troy's out 4-6 weeks with an MCL sprain, but he was walking OK before halftime.

A: We always can walk. It's the running part that gets you. No, but I'm just hoping it's not season-ending.

Q: Well, he was on the cover of the Madden game, wasn't he?

A: Don't start that talk now. I think last year the guy didn't get hurt, so last year the jinx was broke.

Q: Are you upset about Tennessee talking too much before the game?

A: They said some things before the game about being the best defense, and of course they were stomping on the towel. We play the game one way. We don't really talk in the media about what we want to do. We just go out there and play ball. It was still a good game. They played hard and we played hard. If you have to find words to motivate you, you won't last long in this league. You have to find ways to motivate yourself.

Q: Were you having trouble with Britt?

A: No. He's a feisty guy, and of course we won't let anyone push us around.

Q: It looked like you guys were poised after Hines's fumble.

A: We have a team that's been here together a long time and we've played some crazy games together. It was just another game. We don't care how it looks, we just want to get it done.

Mike Tomlin, coach, Steelers

Q: How serious is Polamalu's injury?

A: I don't know at this point. It's an MCL sprain. They are reading the scans and so forth. Those things have a range of three to six weeks. It's speculation at this point.

Jeff Reed, kicker, Steelers

Q: Did you see what happened on Tennessee's missed field goals?

A: The first one, it was a bad snap. It was way behind the holder. It was actually a good hold and a great attempt. The second one, we actually worked on the field goal block drill, believe it or not. And every once in a while it pays off.

Aaron Smith, defensive end, Steelers

Q: Could you describe your blocked field goal?

A: I just pushed through the A gap and got my hand up. I jumped, but my vertical probably isn't that good.

Chris Johnson, running back, Titans

Q: Did the better team win tonight?

A: No. I know that the better team didn't win. Not at all.

Jason Jones, defensive tackle, Titans

Q: How did the Steelers adjust?

A: They were doing quick passes and taking us out of the rush. He's doing one-step passes, and that's not enough time to get to the quarterback. That kind of hurt us.


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