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Mike Tomlin: We have to get our preseason mojo back

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CBS News Pittsburgh Live

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - A win is a win in the NFL, even if it is an ugly one.

Mike Tomlin and the Pittsburgh Steelers hosted the Cleveland Browns on Monday Night Football. By night's end, Tomlin would improve his Monday primetime record to an impressive 20-3 mark. And perhaps more importantly, the Steelers avoided going into Week 3's matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders with a goose egg in their win column.

Monday night's 26-22 victory came with a few highs, such as T.J. Watt taking sole ownership of the franchise's all-time sack record, surpassing James Harrison's mark of 80.5 sacks, and earning the top spot on the leaderboard with 81.5 sacks and counting. The Steelers also have won 20 straight regular-season games against the Browns when playing in Pittsburgh.

With peaks come valleys.

Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick left Monday's game against the Browns with a chest injury. The star defensive player left the game in the third quarter after tackling Browns running back Jerome Ford and did not return.

Cleveland's star running back, Nick Chubb, was carted off the field in the second quarter after suffering a gruesome knee injury. Coach Kevin Stefanski announced that Chubb will miss the rest of the season. 

"Well wishes go out to Nick Chubb," Tomlin said. "You like to compete against guys like him, but you certainly don't want to see catastrophic injury."


Highlighting his team's performance, Tomlin praised his team and the stadium and "electric" environment at Acrisure Stadium for helping the Steelers through 60 minutes of football.

"We have to get our mojo back. We gotta get that mojo we had from the preseason where we're playing fast and fluid with confidence, individually and collectively," Tomlin said of his team's offensive performance. "We've lost that, to be blunt, in the last several weeks. We're not getting the type of fluidity we want in our starts."

This offensive fluidity comes with constant preparation, and Tomlin said he and the coaching staff will shoulder some blame as a result of these lackluster offensive performances.

"It's a procedure that transpires over the course of six days."

Wide receiver George Pickens was one of the few highlights on offense Monday night, notching four receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown. However, the rest of the offense was not as fortunate.

"I appreciate their passion," Tomlin said of Pittsburgh's raucous crowd, who could be heard on the broadcast chanting, 'Fire Canada,' in reference to offensive coordinator Matt Canada.

When questioned about whether or not Tomlin shares the same level of concern over Matt Canada's offensive playcalling, Tomlin said he was not worried.

"I don't share their concern because of my perspective. I'm part of the process. When you're a part of the process, it's less troublesome to you," the coach added.

Jaylen Warren could see an increased snap count due to his performance against the Browns. The run game, overall, was not to Tomlin's liking, but additionally, the offensive line needs to be able to multitask by helping Pittsburgh's offensive skill players while also taking away key defensive players, such as Nick Bosa and Myles Garrett.


Without wideout Diontae Johnson and Cam Heyward for at least a month, the Steelers' injury list didn't get any shorter following the game. Tomlin was proud of the collective of players who were given expanded roles without the presence of Cam Heyward.

Gunner Olszewski is in the concussion protocol. 

Minkah Fitzpatrick was taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure due to a chest injury.

Other players suffered "bumps and bruises," as Tomlin often says, that comes with the physical nature of the sport. All players will be monitored on a shorter week of preparation.


The Vegas offense begins and ends with Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams, according to Tomlin. He drew comparisons between Las Vegas' star playmakers and those he had faced just 12 hours prior with Nick Chubb and Amari Cooper.

On defense, powerful edge rusher Maxx Crosby and former Steeler Robert Spillane were players Tomlin singled out, singing their praises as disruptors.

"It's about the upward trajectory of our group, the continued growth and development. We got a lot of irons in the fire, we got a short week to prepare, and because of that, we're preparing with an edge."

Pittsburgh heads out west for a Sin City showdown on Sunday Night Football. Kick-off is set for 8:20 p.m.

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