Steelers Ben Roethlisberger: “I hate using tomlinism but…
When the Pittsburgh Steelers made safety Miles Killebrew their first unrestricted free agent addition last offseason, the signing went largely unnoticed. But Killebrew, who has often been described as a ‘best special teams asset’ or ‘have special teams”- Introduced Steelers fans on Sunday blocking a third-quarter punt that was returned for a touchdown by linebacker Ulysees Grant. Ultimately, that splash play touchdown was the winning streak in a 23-16 Steelers victory.
Ben Roethlisberger: It was a “team victory”
The special teams touchdown was just one of the reasons quarterback Ben Roethlisberger described the double-digit comeback victory as a “team victory,” taking care to note that the attack, the defense and special teams all played a part in the result.
But he admitted the offense got off to a painfully slow start, gaining just 55 yards in the first half. He attributed the early difficulties to ‘just settling in’, noting that ‘we had a lot of newbies out there and (Highmark Stadium is) a hostile place’.
Roethlisberger then ticked off the factors that led to a 10-0 first-half deficit, including crowd noise, windy weather, the Bills’ defense and the Steelers throwing a handful of rookies in attack , including the ball carrier. Najee Harris, center Kendrick Green and left tackle Dan Moore Jr., first, third and fourth round picks in 2021, respectively.
“I’m proud of the guys … I hate to use a trainer tomlinism but ‘they didn’t blink’,” Roethlisberger said, a little funny in the sense that it’s not really tomlinism, although it’s something the Steelers have been running for a long time. the coach might say.
“They resisted not playing well early on,” he added, referring to the rookies he plays with, a group that also includes tight end Pat Freiermuth, who caught a pass for 24 yards. . “We didn’t make the big mistake either. It was huge. We didn’t make a big mistake at the start. We didn’t do what we wanted to do, but we didn’t return the ball. We haven’t done anything catastrophic.
TJ Watt: “I felt really fresh”
Indeed, the Pittsburgh defense kept a victory close at hand while the offense found its place. That includes outside linebacker TJ Watt, who signed a record contract extension earlier in the week and had three tackles in total, with two sacks and a tackle for a loss.
After the game, Watt said: “I felt really fresh.” The three-way rotation that we have with Alex and Melvin is going to be very special. We’re a very selfless bunch and that’s why I can’t wait to play with both.
Even more noteworthy is the performance of cornerback Cameron Sutton, who had five tackles, two tackles for a loss and two defended assists, including a 7-yard tackle for the loss of running back Matt Breida, which allowed the Steelers to recover the ball on the downs. at 13:42 remaining in payment.
Meanwhile, the special teams units were able to make up for the 75-yard kickoff return the Steelers allowed in the opening kickoff by getting the punt blocked for the touchdown.
Equally noteworthy is that kicker Chris Boswell was three for three on field goal attempts and also converted his two extra point attempts. It was a good start for Boswell, especially as he works with a whole new drums in the long snapper Christian Kuntz and the titular Pressley Harvin III.
Better yet, it looks like the Steeler came out of competition with nothing more than “the bumps and bruises associated with the game,” as Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin put it.
There was bad news on the injury front. ESPN’s Brooke Pryor said inside linebacker Robert Spillane suffered a shin injury during pre-game warm-ups, which is why he was inactive.
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