Back in late September, NFL fans remember the name Jonathan Dwyer as the running back whose costly fourth-quarter fumble in Oakland cost the Pittsburgh Steelers a football game. In the first week of October against Philadelphia, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin decided to send Dwyer a message by not only benching the third-year running back, but making him inactive for the game due to his mistake against the Raiders.
Well, fast forward to last Sunday. Injuries to both Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman gave Dwyer a chance to make up for his prior mistakes and he made amends. The result was a career-high 122 yards rushing in a 24-17 win over the Bengals.
Jonathan Dwyer joined 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh with The Fan Morning Show to discuss Mike Tomlin benching him for fumbling against Oakland, creating his own big plays by running defenders over, his style of running, Tomlin motivating him to play harder and his play against the Cincinnati Bengals improving his confidence.
How did it make you feel initially that in the meeting room Mike Tomlin had benched you for the fumble against Oakland?
“It made me realize I made a mistake and it’s something pretty much I won’t do again.”
How much production did you get from the offensive line and how much did you get from your own moves?
“They played well and, running the ball, not every play is going to be perfect, and sometimes you have to run someone over and make someone miss on your own. We all did a good job together as a group.”
Have you always been a big back that has used your body to run people over or did you just start doing that?
“It’s something I have always been doing. [Ryan Clark] has always been preaching it to me, not that I wasn’t doing it before. Now it’s sort of been recognized, I guess. I’ve always done it ever since I was in high school and I’ve always been physical early in the game until later in the game. If I do have a run, the safety has to think twice about hitting you up high and things like that.”
How much did Mike Tomlin motivate you to play harder and focus after benching you for the fumbles?
“It motivated me a lot. At times for me, it was time to redo everything and an opportunity for me to revamp myself from the last time I was out on the field I had a fumble, so this opportunity on Sunday night put that all behind me and no one would just think of me as a fumbler and that bad nature, to prove to myself and everybody around the league what talents I have and what can I do with an opportunity like that.”
What did the performance against the Cincinnati Bengals do for your confidence?
“It motivates me. It makes me believe more in myself. It makes me work harder, so that I can do more and do better. All it does is give more confidence to continue to play the way I play and continue to believe in myself and continue to want to do better every day I step on the field.”