Polamalu looking to rebound against Bills

PITTSBURGH – Pittsburgh Steelers fans weren’t the only ones criticizing Troy Polamalu after he got caught out of position several times in a 55-31 loss at the New England Patriots.

The only difference between frustrated fans and Polamalu is he probably used less, um, adult language in chiding himself after the Steelers surrendered more than 600 totals yards of offense against the Patriots.

“I’ve always been my own worst critic,” said Polamalu, who blamed himself after the loss.

What was most troubling about how easily Tom Brady scorched the secondary is that the Steelers’ defensive backs looked slow, Polamalu included.

“Time will tell if it’s a one-game anomaly or not,” Polamalu said.

Coach Mike Tomlin is approaching the Buffalo Bills game as if Polamalu’s play in New England was indeed simply a rare bad day at the office.

Tomlin said there are no plans to limit how much Polamalu moves around the field by having the 11th-year veteran play more like a traditional safety.

“Troy has a unique skill set. We need that skill set to do a variety of things for us,” Tomlin said. “Obviously he didn’t play as well as he would have liked or we would have liked in the last football game. But we’re not going to have a knee-jerk reaction to that performance.

He’ll continue to play safety for us, continue to play linebacker for us. He’ll continue to play deep, he’ll continue to play in the box and blitz as well. He’s done that for us in this league for a long time. We look for him to continue to do it.”

Free safety Ryan Clark said it would be foolish for the Steelers to reign in Polamalu, a future Hall of Famer.

“He’s the best player on our defense. Period," Clark said. "Troy is allowed to do what he’s done because he’s special. You have to allow special players the freedom to be special or you’re wasting them. The guys around him, we have to do our jobs well enough to put him in situations where he can make plays.”