Mike Tomlin says Steelers have evolved since loss to Jaguars

NFL


PITTSBURGH — His team sitting at 13-3 and fresh off a bye week, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin knows much has changed since that 30-9 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 5.

The Steelers, who host the Jaguars in Sunday’s AFC divisional round at 1:05 p.m., aren’t about to evaluate regular-season games now.

“We’ve evolved since then. They have evolved a lot since then,” Tomlin said. “(Revisiting that game) is a good physical reference in terms of the matchups. You get to see Calais Campbell versus our people, for example. I think that is the value in it, but … I am sure that they are as different as we are since the last time we’ve seen them.”

Those differences didn’t stop Tomlin from selling Jacksonville’s qualities from the podium Tuesday. While several Steelers have said they wanted another chance at Jacksonville, Tomlin is removing emotion and taking the opponent at face value.

The Steelers defense “better be on the screws” — Tomlin’s phrasing — to stop the tailback quartet of Leonard Fournette, Chris Ivory, T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant, which combined for 1,983 yards in the regular season.

Tomlin praised a Jaguars defense that produced 55 sacks and 21 interceptions.

“The people that play on the back end deliver the splash as exemplified by the interception numbers,” said Tomlin about the defense. “The people up front deliver the goods as exemplified by their sack numbers. They create a lot of turnovers.”

Since drafting Ben Roethlisberger in 2004, the Steelers have losing home records to two NFL teams, according to ESPN Stats and Info: Patriots (2-5) and Jaguars (1-4). But Tomlin isn’t concerned with Roethlisberger trying to atone for his five-interception performance in Week 5, arguably the worst game in his career.

He knows Roethlisberger is solely about playoff wins this time of year. Tomlin, too, plans to embrace the moment.

“We don’t take it for granted. There are 24 teams on vacation. There are eight teams remaining,” Tomlin said. “It’s great to be within that eight. We are singularly focused on this week, and specifically the journey that is the preparation of this week.

“We are excited about stepping into Heinz Field and playing playoff football in front of Steeler Nation, but boy, a lot has to transpire between now and then. We have a couple of days of prep in front of us. Obviously, we are playing a good team in the Jacksonville Jaguars. We are going to utilize that time well.”



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