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Steelers Gameday

Mike Tomlin ‘Didn’t Feel Good’ With Putting Pressure of Long FG on First-Year K Matthew Wright



PITTSBURGH — With the game hanging in the balance in the fourth quarter in what became a 23-17 loss to Washington on Monday night, Steelers head coach did not feel comfortable sending first-year kicker Matthew Wright out to try a go-ahead, 45-yard field goal.

The game was even with just under five minutes to play, when Tomlin could have turned to Wright, who was playing his first NFL game in place of injured starter Chris Boswell, to break a 17-17 tie.

The kick would have been just a yard shy of the longest kick Wright made a senior at UCF in 2018. He spent the 2019 offseason and training camp with the Steelers as an undrafted free agent, but was released before the season and had not been playing before getting added to the practice squad just last week.

Instead, Tomlin decided against putting that pressure, at that range, on the inexperienced Wright.

“I didn’t feel good about putting that on him,” Tomlin said. “I appreciate his efforts tonight. He was above the line, gave us what we desired. It was my decision to not put him in those circumstances late in the football game.”

Instead, the Steelers went for it on 4th and 1, with Roethlisberger attempting a pass down the sideline on a double move to rookie running back Anthony McFarland Jr. The pass was behind McFarland, hit him in the hand and fell to the turf.

“It a good play,” Roethlisberger said. “I think the thing that hurt us the most was they were running the guy out there late to cover him. Sometimes, you want the guy to be set to see what’s going on. I have to deliver a better throw. [McFarland] ran a great route, gave us the chance. It’s on me to deliver the throw.”

The play wasn’t the only short-yardage SNAFU the Steelers had on Monday. They also failed on five consecutive attempts from inside the Washington 1-yard line in the second quarter and had thrown incomplete on 3rd and 1 to set up Tomlin’s big decision.

“Possession-down ball was heavy in this football game,” Tomlin said. “We paid the consequences of it; failure in it. Such is life in our game.”

Steelers Gameday

Alex Highsmith Needs MRI after Ankle Injury Suffered vs. Browns



PITTSBURGH — Steelers rookie linebacker Alex Highsmith suffered an ankle injury that will require an MRI in Sunday’s playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns.

Highsmith left the game in the first half and was seen limping on the Pittsburgh sideline. He made an attempt to return to the game, but was unable to continue playing and did not see the field at all in the second half.

In-game, the Steelers announced that Highsmith was doubtful to return with an ankle injury. After the fact, head coach Mike Tomlin said that Highsmith suffered a high ankle sprain. Highsmith’s father posted on Twitter early on Monday morning that Highsmith will require an MRI on his injured ankle.

Given that Highsmith was able to walk and even run in short bursts after the injury, it does not seem likely that it will impact his offseason training plans.

The team’s third-round draft pick out of Charlotte, Highsmith was thrust into a starting role after starting outside linebacker Bud Dupree suffered  an ACL injury that required surgery.

On the season, Highsmith played in 16 regular season game and made five starts. He finished with 48 tackles, five for a loss, six quarterback hits, one interception and one pass defended.

With Dupree set to become an unrestricted free agent and unlikely to return, Highsmith should be expected to retain his starting role in 2021.

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Mike Tomlin Doesn’t Regret Punt, Will Talk to Ben Roethlisberger About Future



Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin answers questions from the media following his team’s shocking defeat at the hands of the Browns in the playoffs. Tomlin explained why he decided to punt on a 4th and 1 in the 4th quarter while trailing by multiple scores. He also touched on the timeline for when he will talk to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger about his future with the team.

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Steelers Gameday

JuJu Smith-Schuster Says He Doesn’t Regret ‘Browns Is the Browns’ Comment



PITTSBURGH — It was repeated so often in the five days between when JuJu Smith-Schuster said the phrase on Wednesday to Sunday night’s game at Heinz Field, that it nearly became the No. 1 talking point coming into the game.

“The Browns is the Browns.”

Before the game, after the game and probably during the game, many of the Browns made it clear that they had taken exception to Smith-Schuster’s characterization of the team.

Smith-Schuster said after the game that he had no regrets about what he said.

“You know, I don’t regret what I said,” Smith-Schuster said. “I said, ‘The Browns is the Browns.’ They came out and they played a hell of a game. You know, there’s been games where we feel we lose them and today wasn’t our night and hopefully the same Browns will show up next week against the same opponent and go out and do the same thing they did tonight and have a hell of a game.”

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