Mike Tomlin on Steelers' struggles: 'It starts with me'

PITTSBURGH -- In the aftermath of the Pittsburgh Steelers' worst loss in more than three decades, Mike Tomlin took accountability and owned his team's failures Tuesday.

"We were a disaster in all three phases, and we have to own that, starting with myself and I do," Tomlin said. "... When it's that bad across the board, it starts with me. We don't need to seek comfort, because there's enough blame to go around. We need to be solution-oriented."

After the 38-3 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday dropped his team to 1-4 with four consecutive losses, Tomlin said he would consider making any changes necessary to get the team going in the right direction. The loss to the Bills was the Steelers' most lopsided defeat of the season.

Even with a quarterback change, the Steelers recorded their lowest scoring output, while allowing the Bills to score 38 points -- the most allowed by the Steelers' defense this season. The Steelers are averaging 6.1 passing yards per attempt, second-to-last in the league, and have scored a league-low two passing touchdowns. They're also averaging a paltry 3.9 yards per carry and no runs of more than 20 yards -- one of just three teams in the league without one. Defensively, the Steelers are giving up 7.5 yards per pass attempt and 1,438 passing yards, second worst in the NFL.

Tuesday, when asked if among changes possible he would consider changing offensive coordinator, play-calling duties or personnel, Tomlin said while he was sincere in his words after Sunday's game, he wasn't going to make changes unless they could produce better results.

"I remain open to it, but I don't intend to change for the sake of changing, to shoot a hostage, if you will, or anything of that nature," he said. "If changes produce better outcomes or seemingly produce better outcomes, or we feel like it puts us in position to produce better outcomes, then I'm open to it, certainly."

After the loss in Buffalo, defensive back Arthur Maulet challenged teammates in the locker room, questioning their desire and effort. Tomlin said after watching game film he noticed his players' frustration and disappointment in the final minutes of the game, but he said he took more issue with his team's lack of execution than their demeanor. Asked about the high postgame emotions, Tomlin added he didn't have a problem with his players expressing frustration.

"When you're getting smashed like that, emotions and pissed-off-ness and all of that is a component of it," he said. "You're naive if you think that it's not. We don't like getting smashed. ... All of those things are normal expressions of frustrations, the questioning of desire and things of that nature. That's what competitors do, particularly when you get smashed. I'm not going to read too much into it."

While Tomlin and the Steelers are aiming for a different outcome in the Week 6 matchup against Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the coach acknowledged that his team has big-picture issues that can't be resolved quickly, and he preached unity in the face of adversity.

"We're not going to cure our ills in one or a couple of good days or a good plan or good performance for that matter," he said. "The state that we're in, we're going to have to put our heads down and work hard and diligently and stay together for an extended period of time as we grind our way back to respectability. I just think it's a mindset that we all need to have understanding where we are."

"They're not quick fixes. It's not going to be based on one good performance or one good plan. And I just think as we prepare and lean in for this next opportunity that we just say that we're going to be working our tails off.

"We didn't dig ourselves into this circumstance in one day. We're not going to dig ourselves out of this circumstance in one day or one performance."