Locker Room Buzz: Pittsburgh Steelers

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Observations in the locker room after the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 55-31 loss to the New England Patriots:

Seeing red: Mike Tomlin, his jaw clenched, offered terse answers after one of the more embarrassing losses in his seven years as head coach. “I’m angry," he said. "Those people that are lacking effort won’t be playing. It’s just that simple.”

Soul searching to do: The quietest voice in a hushed locker room delivered one of the most candid answers after the Steelers’ defense collapsed in a 55-31 loss to the Patriots. When asked how the Steelers fix their problems on a defense that gave up more than 600 yards to the Patriots, Troy Polamalu said, “I don’t know. We’ll see if we can.”

Clark takes blame: One locker over from Polamalu, free safety Ryan Clark drew a sizable crowd as he dressed slowly. The first question to the Steelers’ free safety pointed out that 55 is a lot to give up. “Oh, you are a genius,” Clark said. Despite playing arguably his worst game as a Steeler, Clark answered the requisite questions and took the blame for several breakdowns in the secondary. “It’s embarrassing for ourselves, but more so for the organization,” Clark said of the loss. “It’s not an organization that does that, that gives up points like that.”

No trick (or treat): The fact that the Steelers are 2-6 at the midway point of the season comes as a shock to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders. “If you would have told me that in the offseason, I would have told you 'no way,'” the fourth-year veteran said. “We’re the Pittsburgh Steelers.”