Steelers CB Taylor weighs in on Denver loss

Ralph N. Paulk
| Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012

Ike Taylor still feels the pain of the AFC wild-card loss to Denver at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

The Steelers' high-priced, shutdown cornerback can't dismiss the image of Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas catching a Tim Tebow pass, then sprinting toward the end zone on the first play from scrimmage in overtime Sunday.

Taylor has watched the play time and again. It's an inescapable nightmare.

"Unfortunately, one of my worst games of the year came at the wrong time," he said Wednesday on TribLive Radio. "I reflect back and think of me being highly upset after the game."

Taylor shunned reporters afterward, in part, because he didn't want to make excuses, he said.

"It was a terrible game, for sure," he said. "Will it be the last• I don't know. But you have to shake it off."

Taylor has been the target of criticism and finger-pointing. Thomas finished with seven receptions for a 204 yards — including an 80-yard touchdown that ousted the Steelers from the postseason.

"Just knowing how hard we worked to get to that moment, then everything happened on one play," Taylor said. "It hurt. It still hurts.

"But you have to move on. For me, that's getting back at it."

Taylor has returned to his Orlando, Fla., home to prepare for next season, bitterly disappointed that one of his best seasons didn't net a single playoff victory.

"This was probably the second-best season I've had since I started in 2005," he said. "I say that because people have noticed more of what I do. I told myself I was going to take some time off, but I'm back in the gym.

"As a professional, you never want to go out like that. But you know there are going to be days like that. You don't know when it's coming. For the most part, it happens.

"I remember the play, but it happened so fast, it's like '(Wow), the season is over.' "

Taylor, who signed a four-year contract prior to training camp, said the loss to the heavy-underdog Broncos was as painful as any he has experienced during his nine-year career.

"For me, this is worse than losing the Super Bowl," Taylor said. "I take a lot of pride in what I do. As bad as I feel, I have great people around me. Even on Twitter, I've been getting lot of support."

Taylor rejected suggestions that the lack of a pass rush enabled Tebow to throw for a career-high 316 yards and average more than 30 yards per completion. But it put added pressure on Taylor and William Gay.

"If you don't get Tim on the ground, he's going to make his plays," Taylor said. "He is a running back who can throw the ball. He did what he had to do to help his team win the game.

"We didn't play our best game on defense. They played good enough to beat us."

Taylor refused to criticize defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who called for a scheme on the game-winning play that put 10 defenders near the line of scrimmage. As a result, safety Ryan Mundy, who replaced Ryan Clark in the starting lineup, wasn't in position to prevent the big play.

"Whatever they call, I'll roll with it," Taylor said. "I would never make an excuse. I'm behind Coach LeBeau all the way."

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