The Pittsburgh Steelers will finally get a chance to atone for their Week 5 home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. Ahead of that rematch happening, however, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked Tuesday during his weekly press conference if that Week 5 loss to the Jaguars is looked back at a lot from a coaching standpoint in order to help the team prepare for the second meeting.
“You don’t look at it a lot,” Tomlin said of his team’s Week 5 loss to the Jaguars. “There’s a lot of trending in ball. We’ve evolved a lot since then, they’ve evolved a lot since then. It is a good physical reference in terms of the matchups you get to see – Calais Campbell versus our people, for example. I think that’s the value in it. But I think we all evolve over the course of the season. I’m talking about teams and you get a hardening of division of labor, you find your space in terms of how you operate and I’m sure they’re as different as we are since the last time we’ve seen them.”
Tomlin also was asked if he was surprised by anything that the Jaguars did in that Week 5 game.
“I don’t know that I was surprised by anything,” Tomlin said. “I think that they have as clearly a defined mode of operation as anyone in this field in terms of how they play. They run the ball, they control the clock, they possess the ball, they have corresponding play action passes and so forth. They play formidable defense, they create turnovers with that defense and that’s how games unfold for them and that’s how they’ve unfolded for them.”
The Jaguars certainly did do all of those things Tomlin mentioned in that Week 5 30-9 win over the Steelers that included quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing five interceptions of which two were returned for touchdowns. Additionally, the Jaguars offense, while they didn’t win the time of possession stat in that Week 5 game, they certainly didn’t need to thanks to the way they ran the football as they finished with 231 net yards rushing.
As for Roetlisberger’s five-interception game back in Week 5, Tomlin was asked if he needs to guard against his quarterback wanting to atone for that performance this Sunday and thus maybe forcing a few passes that he doesn’t necessary need to.
“Not at all,” Tomlin said. “Ben’s played ball a long time, man, this is not his first rodeo. His attention will be properly focused on winning the game, not responding to some regular season October performance. He’s just been in too many stadiums for that.”
More than anything else on Tuesday, Tomlin made it clear that this Sunday’s rematch against the Jaguars is more about him getting his team ready to not beat themselves just as they pretty much did back in Week 5.
“The big thing for us, with all due respect to Jacksonville, it’s not about who we play, it’s about how we play,” Tomlin said. “We’ve got to play good football, we’ve got to prepare for that. We’re in the process of doing it, look forward to continuing to do that as we push forward toward game time.”