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Brice McCain gets a hand -- and fist bump -- from Rooneys

10/5/2014

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Pittsburgh Steelers' 17-9 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

  • He twice shook hands with Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and bumped fists with team president Art Rooney as he stood in front of his locker. If cornerback Brice McCain, who signed with the Steelers in March and did not play in the first two games because of a groin injury, had questioned his place on the team, he doesn’t anymore. McCain turned in the play of the game when he returned an interception 22 yards for a touchdown that stretched out a lead that had been whittled to one point. The cornerbacks played really well as a group as Cortez Allen had the Steelers’ other interception while McCain, Allen and William Gay combined for all six of the defense’s pass breakups. “Picks come in bunches, so I hope this is the start of something big for the secondary, for our defense,” McCain said after the Steelers improved to 3-2. “That’s how the Steelers are supposed to play. You’re supposed to make plays all day and come down and hit people.”

  • Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, dressed and ready to leave Jacksonville, found time for a quick teaching moment while exiting the visiting locker room at EverBank Field. Engaging the pint-sized Ivan Taylor, whose father Ike has played cornerback for the Steelers since 2003, Tomlin told him, “Keep your eyes up and see what you hit.” That is one of the most important fundamentals in football, and Tomlin preached it after a game in which the Steelers were pretty solid when it came to the basics. They blocked and tackled well and had just seven penalties for 50 yards. The Steelers had been penalized an average of 11 times through their first four games. "I'm pleased that they were down," Tomlin said. "We had a couple of things I didn't like, but I'm not looking for perfection in that area. We're not going to play a perfect game, but I do want to see fundamental things, and I thought I did today."

  • An illegal hands-to-the-face penalty against left tackle Kelvin Beachum wiped out a 17-yard catch by Antonio Brown and ultimately prevented the two-time Pro Bowler from a 100-yard game against the secondary that has been the worst statistically in the NFL. Brown finished with 84 yards on five catches, including a 30-yarder that he took away from Jaguars cornerback Will Blackmon on a key third down. Brown said after the Steelers outlasted the Jaguars that he did not care he had come within a penalty of his third 100-yard receiving game of the season. “Just chasing victories,” Brown said. “Winning is everything.” Brown extended his streak of catching at least five passes for 50 yards to 21 games, which is an NFL record.