Head Coach Joe Philbin: I thought it was a heck of a football game. Pittsburgh has a good football team. They played very well today. Coach Tomlin and his staff do a great job. I thought our guys played well. It was a team win. We talked to the guys last night that this was the start of the fourth quarter of our season. Fourth quarter play in the fourth quarter was going to be important and that we’d have to step up and make some plays. That’s exactly what happened. Our guys stepped up and made some plays.
What is going through your mind on that last crazy play?
Please step out of bounds.
Do you feel like your team is peaking right now?
Again it’s the same group of guys. I think we’ve been consistent. We’ve prepared well during the course of the week. I thought today our guys gave good effort. I think they’ve been giving good effort during the course of the season. We made some plays. Again I hate to be overly simplistic about our season up to this point in time, but I think this was our ninth game that was decided, well I guess this was six points, but nine games that have virtually gone down to the last play of the game. Our guys stepped up and made some plays when we had to.
What was your initial reaction when you saw
Score. Keep running. Keep running. He did a nice job. It looked like it was pretty well blocked. He made a nice cut. It was a good run. Much needed.
Re: Coaching back in western Pennsylvania:
It’s a great part of the country. The people in this area are good, solid, salt-of-the-Earth people. I went to college here, coached here at Allegheny College. Some of the guys that played for us I think were here today. It’s a great area. Ken O’Keefe is delighted that he’s part of our staff. He’s an excellent football coach. It’s good to be back.
Re: Daniel Thomas and Charles Clays’ plays in the fourth quarter:
They made plays. They were basic plays that we’ve run a bunch. The outside zone play that Daniel hit, we’ve had that play in for two years. It’s not a new play. We executed it well. We got some guys out there in front of him and guys downfield making blocks. That route that Charles ran was away from the three-receiver side. Again those are routes we’ve been running for a couple of years. We executed them well. Guys broke tackles and made plays.
What did you guys do differently to be able to come up with stops and get it done?
I think we just stepped up. The guys stepped up whether it was with the rush at times, whether it was the coverage,
Re: Difference between the first and second halves:
I think the field conditions settled down a little bit. I think the guys got used to the footing maybe. It snowed a little bit more than I thought it was going to maybe the first half and they had to get used to the footing a little bit. And then it calmed down. The wind wasn’t too big of a factor. The field I think they got used to their footing and they were able to execute.
Re: The resiliency of this football team:
It’s always good to win when you’re behind in the fourth quarter. We were behind. The guys didn’t panic. I think they scored. There was a period there. We came out had a great drive I believe to start the second half. They answer in four plays, go 83 yards. We throw a pick on second down. And all of a sudden, things could have caved from there but our guys just kind of stayed in the game and just kept playing. I think they’ve been demonstrating that ability throughout the course of the season.
The guy comes to work hard everyday. He likes competing. He goes out and enjoys playing. He’s a good teammate, and he’s a talented guy as he shown.
Re: Your end of game thinking:
I definitely wanted to run the ball three times because I felt like at the worst I would have given consideration if we were fourth-and-one or something or at the one I may have given some consideration. At that point we felt like we wanted them to use all of their timeouts. We wanted to use as much time as possible. To get the ball with a minute or so and score a touchdown with no timeouts isn’t easy with our pass rush. That’s really all it was.
Re: This game being a turning point for
I thought he played well. Obviously we can’t give up the pick six. I don’t think it was all his fault. I thought he did some good things. I thought he showed some good presence in the pocket. I thought he threw the ball accurately. I thought a couple of the deep balls were close plays. Those balls downfield, I thought they were well thrown. Sometimes they’re going to well defended, but I thought the ball location was pretty good.
Re: Your decision to kick a long field goal to end the first half:
We were kicking around. There were a lot of things we could have done. We had a timeout or two. We could have gone for it on fourth-and-two. We could have punted the ball and gone into halftime where we were at. The wind wasn’t substantial at that point in time. We thought if we gained three or four yards the play on third down we were going to punt the ball but then we gained a couple.
Re: The rotation at left guard:
That was something we planned on doing the entire game before we played down here.