On the final drive: “It’s tough to find anything to exploit against that defense. They’re a stingy group. They have a great pass rush. They’re really physical on the back end. You just have to go through your reads, especially in a two-minute situation. In the corners minds, there’s always the possibility of getting beat, being the guy that gets beat for the touchdown. So we took advantage of some of the underneath routes and we knew with Janikowski, if we could just get him past the 30-yard line or around the 30-yard line, he’s pretty consistent from hitting there. So really just they brought a couple blitzes and we took advantage and hit some hots on some of their blitzes and just got completions. It started off rough with the first two plays, but just got a couple of completions there in the end and got Janikowski within his range.”
On no-huddle early in the game: “Yeah, get us in a rhythm, it opens up some of the run game, but also really tires out their big guys. Their front seven is 300-plus pounds across the board and when you get in that no huddle you can tire guys out and we knew that would be an advantage for us. We got some of that no huddle going early and they did a good job stopping it a couple times and we came back to it later in the second half and really ran it well and did a good job.”
On the win: “We kind of felt coming in that we were already written off and we know we’re a good team. We just had some unfortunate things happen the first two weeks and we didn’t handle business and play well enough. We knew we could win this game. We knew we were playing against a good opponent, but we knew we were the only ones that really believed we could win. We were just fortunate, we got some turnovers on defense, the defense played great, got us the ball back, got us some short fields, we hit some big explosive plays and we’re fortunate to get the win.”
On beating the Steelers: “We were in a position where we needed to get a win. We have one more game and then a bye week. We want to get to 2-2. I played against those guys a bunch and there is no easy win; there is no pretty win. It’s a physical fistfight, four quarters every single time you play against them. You have to respect Coach LeBeau is a phenomenal coach. Coach Tomlin, they’re really well coached. They draft great, they hit on their defensive picks, so there’s good players over there. You can’t play them enough to know them. I played them 20-something times probably and it’s always a fist fight down in the trenches and it’s physical on the back end every time.”
On the meaning of the win for Coach Allen: “Oh yeah, the first win for a first-time head coach is huge. I’m proud of Coach. I’m excited and happy with the opportunity, honored to play for him. I think he is a great coach, but he’s going to be a great coach. He’s not going to take any credit for anything. That’s just his style; I noticed that day one. There is no ego. This is about team. He preaches team all the time. We don’t talk about anything other than team when we get in huddles and break huddles, so I’m not surprised to hear him deflect the attention. I’m happy for it.”
On the offense’s potential: “We have a long ways to go. Our third game in, our schedule is extremely difficult. We play good defenses week in and week out. But the sky is the limit, there’s no doubt. But there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. There’s a lot of things that need to be ironed out, some situations we put ourselves in where we hurt ourselves today. Just things that when it’s your first time running a completely new scheme, it’s going to take some time. It’s going to take a lot of work, but our group is ready for the workload.”
On Marcus Allen: “It’s awesome. Big fan of him growing up and going to SC and you see him on the highlight reels and playing in Rose Bowl after Rose Bowl after Rose Bowl it seems. I’ve gotten a chance to know him over the years and I’ve heard stories. Coach Knapp told me a story of when Coach Knapp was playing here and Marcus was first class from the get go to Coach Knapp who was a ninth string quarterback, but that’s who Marcus is, first class. It was great to have him back. It’s great to see him around here. And being an SC guy and a Heisman guy, I’ve been a fan of his for a long time, since I was a little kid.”
RB Darren McFadden
On the touchdown run: “It was a great hole that opened up for me and I just hit it running. I saw the end zone and I made one move on the guy and just hit it running. I was glad to get there.”
On if he was expecting the hole to open up: “When I run the ball, I expect to hit it every time. It was one of those things when I saw the hole, I just hit it running and the safety came down and I made him miss and just took off and used my speed.”
On if this game was a relief: “It feels good. For me, I always tell myself that first big one always feels good. It’s like a weight off your shoulder. It feels good out there. We just want to go out there, keep working hard, and just keep getting better each week.”
On the win: “It’s a great win for us. It’s one of those things; it’s a confidence booster for us. We want to go out there and just keep building on this and keep stacking wins.”
On Palmer in the huddle: “He’s very poised. He did a great job in the huddle. He always takes control of the huddle. And that’s one thing I like about him. He’s very poised when he’s out there and that’s something he did great today.”
On the no huddle: “I think it was something we used to our advantage, tried to tire their defense out and just keep an up-tempo game.”
On beating the Steelers: “They did a great job out there. For us, it’s just a confidence booster. We want to just keep stacking them. We don’t get too high off a win and we don’t get too low off a loss, so we’re going to keep building on it and get better each week.”
On getting up for the game: “No one wants to start out 0-3 and we just prepared how we always prepare. We go out there and work hard at practice and it showed out there today on the field.”
WR Derek Hagan
On his performance today: "Whenever your name is called, you've got to be ready. My number was called in the fourth quarter. It wasn't called in the first half, but in the fourth quarter, that's when the game is on the line. We talked about that all week, just coming out and making sure we're bringing the wood. We played four quarters of football. That team, the Steelers, they played one heck of a game. [We're] definitely glad we got the first victory."
On QB Carson Palmer in the 4th quarter: "Carson just knows how to keep his composure. He's a veteran. He's been in this league for a long time. He's played the Steelers many, many times. I think he's played the Steelers the most out of anybody else on this team. He knows what they were going to do today. They pretty much did the same thing they did six, seven years ago when he was playing with Cincinnati. Obviously, they've got a legendary D-coordinator over there. He's been running certain things that other teams have seen, that we've seen. We knew their tendencies and we were able to hit them with some big plays when it really counted."
On the team: "We played the ball through Carson's head. The biggest thing with Carson is that hes a mind and when you just let him do what he's [capable of doing], you don't know what he's going to call. He's got a good feeling as to when to call out the safeties, the linebackers and changing the plays. But the no-huddle worked real well today. We got a lot of good runs out of it."
On the no-huddle offense: "We worked on that but we never got in a situation of really running it but today was a good job at running that. Because a defense like [Pittsburgh's] that like to move around a lot and likes to blitz we kept them off balance a lot. We had the chance to get some big runs...I think [we've] got a feeling on Carson. He's a big part of this team and he's saw Pittsburgh a while back and he knows how to pick them apart."
On his own performance: "It's a big game. You've got to win, that's the biggest thing. That's all I care about - getting the win and that we did our jobs as tight ends."
On the game: "It means a lot especially for our first win. I know that Coach and the new people here - to me it's emotional because it's our first win and I'm just happy to get the win and happy that our defense, even though we didnt do a whole lot of things, we still stuck in there and played with energy and made some plays."
On getting pressure on final defensive series: "That was huge. Seymour got the sack and that was huge. He was one of our captains and he was stepping up and making a play. That's what he's supposed to do and that's what he did. He came through for us."
On forcing two fumbles: "I just wanted to try and get the ball out, as well as with [WR Antonio Brown]. I just feel we've got to get on that ball and get those recoveries. I feel like that's what we've been coached to do - go and strip the ball out. We needed, so we had to go out and get it."
On the team's will to win: "We never questioned it because we know that we have great coaches. They coached a great game. Even though we won, coaches were calling great calls and we weren't executing them all of the time but we still nplayed with passion. We still played with energy and that's all they really care about. As long as we play with passion and energy, everything will take care of itself."
On the team: "Personally, I guess adversity hit us kind of quick with the first two losses. I'm just happy that we came out here and showed that we can get it done. Coach told us that it was going to be a 60-minute game and I'm glad that we played 60 minutes."
On team motivation: "0-3, myself and Reece were talking about it on the sidelines. Because every time their offense went down and scored, our offense went down there and scored. I was telling Reece that it's on us. I told him that let's make it to the piont that it's not the line's fault. So, we picked up our play. Seymour got a big sack, we picked up a couple of holding calls on that last drive so we made the plays that we needed to win the game."
On the first win: "We just wanted to get that first win out of the way. You don't want to wait three to four weeks to get your first victory because it messes with the morale of the team. So beating Pittsburgh and the type of team that they have and you know what type of players they've got and plus, we dug ourselves in a hole and to come back was big."
On Pittsburgh using screens to avoid pass rush: "They tried to tire us out up front in terms of quick passes. They didn't run the ball much but those quick passes were, in my opinion, part of the running game. So we looked at it that way. We're going to enjoy this win. We beat a really good football team. Like I've told the team, time again, we never get too high on wins and we never get too low on losses. We're definitely going to enjoy it. We know we've got a good football team. I was confident even in the two losses that we had. It was just going to come down to attention to detail. I was just the little things that we [weren't] doing early on. I knew the offense would get it going, a play from breaking a big one and they exploded on to the scene today. Hats off to those guys who kept us in it and defensively starting with us, we've got to do a better job than what we did today."
On QB Ben Roethlisberger: "He does a really good job of extending plays. He definitely ad-libs, a unique ability, and has a cannon of an arm. He's a confident guy that he can fit the ball in anywhere and he made a lot of great throws here today. It really came down to the last two minutes of the football game on the last four-minutes of offense and defense and were fortunate to come out with the win."
On the team's resiliency: "It feels good when you fight for a win and you have to claw, you're banged up and you get a win. I think that it's good for a young football team to see that if you do it the right way, you never know when it's going to pay off, but eventually, it'll break open. You hit it long enough and it will break. I'm happy for the team that we got the win. I'd rather a tough win at home against a really good football team and I think it's a confidence booster for everybody. We needed this one and we're fortunate to get it. We beat a great organization. You talk about the Raiders and the Steelers, two historic franchies and that doesn't really get any better than that. That was a well-coached football team that we played today."
On the win: "[The Steelers] are obviously a great football team. They have playmakers on offense, defense and special teams, so for us to come out of here with a win...obviously in the past, these types of games, we've found some way to lose it in the end, so for us to find a way to win it, I think, is big."
On playing QB Ben Roethlisberger: "He's definitely tough, especially on third down. He just finds a way. Let's say you blitz him, let's say you tackle him in the back, he'll find a way to shrug it off and find the open receiver. He's definitely one of the toughest quarterbacks to deal with."
On his range today: "58, maybe, that direction going south end zone. 58 because it was into the wind."
On when he thought game would come down to field goal: "You never think that way. Last two minutes, if they punt then we get the ball back. I was getting ready, trying to kick on the sideline."
On feeling after kicking game-winner: "It's a great feeling. I don't know how to explain it. It's just really exciting to get the first win and just keep moving."
On the first win: "It can put us on a roll and you can just keep going and get more."
On the team's response to
On the win: "It's the first one of the year. We kind of thought that we could have played better down in Miami, and we thought we could have played better against the Chargers. Some unfortunate things happened with the deep snapping situation in that game, it may have been a reason here or there, but this is one of those games that you win and you win against a very respected team in the league. It builds confidence, but to build confidence you've got to put a win on top of a win, I think."