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Tomlin on the Steelers' 19-14 win: 'It was really junior varsity to be quite honest with you'

Updated: Dec 4, 2020

(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)

The Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens, 19-14, and improved to 11-0 on the season. But overall it was an ugly performance and they should have played a lot better against a depleted Ravens roster, who were missing several key starters due to being on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Mike Tomlin was not happy about the performance by the Steelers, to say the least, even though it was in a winning effort.

"To be bluntly honest, I am really disappointed in our performance tonight," Tomlin said in his post-game interview. "We did enough to win, but that's all. It was really junior varsity to be quite honest with you. It was in all three phases. We couldn't run the ball effectively when we needed to. We dropped too many significant passes, catchable, makeable passes. We didn't make significant plays in the special teams game. Our kickoff coverage unit wasn't good enough. We turned the damn ball over. We gave up big plays in critical moments on defense. Can't have it. They converted a long run on a possession down before the half. Unacceptable. They had a 70-yard touchdown late in the game. Unacceptable.

"We're fortunate tonight. It's good to proceed with the victory. I acknowledge that. But not a lot happened tonight to be proud of and to be excited about other than that."

The Steelers were awful in the red zone, converting just one of four attempts. And the receivers had several drops.

"It was bad ball by all parties involved," Tomlin said. "Coaches first, players second."

Tomlin said the game being postponed three times had no effect on their play.

"We make no excuses. We seek no comfort," Tomlin said. "We didn't play or coach well tonight."

The Steelers have four days to prepare for the Washington Football Team. The game was moved to Monday at 5 p.m. Washington already has a head start in preparation being that they played on Thanksgiving and will have a total of 10 days to prepare for the Steelers.

"We don't have to reinvent the wheel. It's not some transformational thing that needs to transpire," Tomlin said. "We've got to coach better and play better when we get inside the bowl. I expect our group to do that Monday night, Monday evening, whenever it is that we play."

JuJu Smith-Schuster agreed with his head coach's assessment about the team having a junior varsity performance.

"We played like JV. We played down to their level," Smith-Schuster said. "They came out with a JV squad, and we were playing JV. We didn't come out and execute and play the way we wanted to play. And as you can see, it was a close game, which shouldn't have happened."

When Tomlin was asked by Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the reason for the red zone struggles and numerous dropped passes his explanation was simple and to the point, "Us sucking."

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