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Sometimes, 11-0 just isn’t enough.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin gave a somber press conference after the team’s latest win and implied the team merely got lucky.
“To be bluntly honest, I’m really disappointed in our performance tonight,” he said on Wednesday via the Associated Press after the game. “We did enough to win tonight, that’s all.
“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 or be excited about other than that.”
The Steelers won 19-14 opposite a COVID-19-ravaged Ravens squad, which was without quarterback Lamar Jackson, tight end Mark Andrews, running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mark Ingram, wide receiver Willie Snead and edge rusher Matthew Judon, among others.
Tomlin went on to criticize the team’s “junior varsity” level of play and called the defense’s performance, “unacceptable” in key situations. He attributed a number of squandered opportunities to his squad, “sucking.”
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger — who completed 36 of 51 for 266 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the Week 12 effort — also voiced his frustrations after the game in spite of the win.
“Obviously we won, but it sure doesn’t feel like it,” he said via ESPN. “Just not good football. It starts with me. It’s a mental game, it’s been a challenging and draining week but at the end of the day we need to step on the field and play good football when it’s time.”
Roethlisberger and Tomlin’s comments echo an overall negative sentiment from the team, specifically about its schedule, which was altered due to the Ravens’ acute COVID-19 outbreak (the Steelers also had members of their organization test positive for the virus). The highly anticipated AFC North matchup — originally scheduled to take place Thanksgiving night — was postponed almost a week to a rare Wednesday afternoon time slot.
“Nobody thought you would play three games in 12 days,” tight end Eric Ebron said on SiriusXM on Wednesday. “Think about that. That’s us. We play [Wednesday], we play Monday [against Washington], and we play Sunday [at Buffalo]. Oh my God. … They’re trying to see us fail, bro. Welcome to the National Football League.”
Ebron, along with a number of his teammates, took to social media last Wednesday and were vocal about their dismay with the league’s initial postponement.
“THIS IS BULLS–T,” Ebron wrote on Twitter.
“What a joke…” rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool tweeted.
“First the NFL takes away our bye week because another team can’t get their Covid situation together, now they take away our Thanksgiving primetime game for the same reason. Smh,” wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster wrote.
The Steelers hope to keep their record unblemished as they face off against the Washington Football Team (4-7) on Monday at 5 p.m. ET at Heinz Field.
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