Mike Tomlin: Diontae Johnson can’t let emotions from one play affect him on the next one
Steelers wide receiver Diontae Johnson thought he caught a touchdown in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against the Bengals, but officials ruled that he didn’t complete the catch before going out of bounds and the Steelers didn’t get a good enough look at a replay to challenge what appeared to be an incorrect ruling.
That miss was made all the more painful on the next play when running back Jaylen Warren fumbled and the Bengals recovered. Johnson was on the field for that play and he caught notice for failing to try to make a tackle or otherwise react to the turnover.
Johnson said after the game that he didn’t see what happened, which was difficult to believe based on how things played out. On Tuesday, head coach Mike Tomlin said he’d let Johnson offer further explanation with the team and the media before making any comment of his own.
“We gotta take care of the ball,” Tomlin said. “It is our desire, it’s how we construct victory so Jaylen’s gotta do a better job there. Diontae can’t let the emotions of the previous down affect his next down, but I’ll give him an opportunity to address that with you guys. I’ll give him an opportunity to address that with his teammates. I’m not gonna add any additional color. I think plays like that are best described and outlined by those involved and less so by guys like me. I keep my attention on challenging things, things that await us this week, schematic preparation for Arizona and the readiness of this group. It’s something that he needs to answer for, so I’ll give him an opportunity to do that. His teammates will give him opportunity to do that and won’t provide any color until he does.”
The Steelers had their best offensive day of the year against Cincinnati despite the fumble and Johnson’s reaction. That makes it easier to downplay the significance of a moment that would have looked a lot worse if the Bengals had wound up winning in Week 12.