5 Smoldering Questions On the Pittsburgh Steelers, Week 10

via espn.com

 by Hombre de Acero

Week 10 saw Ben Roethlisberger step out of the bullpen to lead the Steelers to a 30-9 victory over the Browns as they head into the bye week. But before Steelers Nation can take its rest, we must first resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers.

1. Ten games into the season, which Steelers player has been the most pleasant surprise for you, and which has been the biggest disappointment? Explain your choices.

2. Two weeks ago the Oakland Raiders brought one of the NFL’s best run defenses into Heinz Field and DeAngelo Williams shredded them for 170 yards. Last week the Browns brought one of the worst rushing defenses into Pittsburgh and Williams was held to negative yardage for much of the game. What’s going on here folks?

3. Mary Lou Retton gave Antonio Brown a perfect 10 for his end zone somersault. Mike Tomlin approved of it. Yet, back in 2013 when Le’Veon Bell and Emmanuel Sanders put on similar end zone celebrations Mike Tomlin put a stop to it. Is Mike Tomlin erring in changing his tone? Defend your answer.

4. Neal Coolong of USA Today’s Steelers Wire, a well known writer to most on this site, has highlighted Jarvis Jones’ hit on Andrew Hawkins. The Browns are crying foul, claiming it’s an illegal hit.  You can visit his site and see it  for yourself.

Do you think Jarvis Jones should be fined by the NFL for an illegal hit?

5. In this column’s precursor, BTSC’s 5 Burning Questions on the Steelers, we had an annual question we posed to the community going into the bye week.

It was set up like this:  In February of 2000 I met up Todd and Laura, two friends from Baltimore’s legendary Purple Goose Saloon, then home of the Pittsburgh Steelers Fan Club of Maryland. Todd announced to me that they were going to Paris in the fall. My deadpan reaction was, “So, you gonna go during the bye week….” His future wife paused, and then did a double take and incredously remarked, “I just now realized what you were asking. I can’t believe you!”

Hence, came the question, have you ever scheduled an important life or family event around the Steelers bye week?

The best answer we got was from “Frank” who candidly admitted:

Waited for a bye week to kick my girlfriend out once. Sundays were the only day we were both home for extended periods., and I didn’t want to deal with it during a game. I know, i know..I’m horrible, but that was a long time coming. She was a very stressful person to be around at that time. I also needed another check to buy a new TV, we used hers when mine broke.

For four years running we’ve sought and failed to find someone who could top that. Can you either top that with a story of your own or, if not, perhaps with a story of someone you know?

That’s it, folks. Sharpen your pencils. Make sure to show your work. Reviewing your neighbor’s paper is, as always, strongly encouraged. After that, enjoy the bye week, but be sure to come back next week rested, tanned and ready to go as we’ll have five more Smoldering Questions as the Steelers prepare to head into Seattle.




  • Can’t top that tale, but always always take my holiday during Steeler bye week over here in China during the past 11 years. Currently in Vientiane, Laos and have been to Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal and all around China during our beloveds bye weeks. A time for all of us to heal I think.

    By the bye, ahem, no plans to break up with my wife and sure hope she has no plans to divorce me. 🙂


    • Nice! Been to Phuket a few times myself. I am currently in Korea so we are pretty close. Safe travels bro.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ‘Kamsa hamneeda’ Mike! Love S. Korea and enjoyed my years there in Daejon and Daegu. Hope you get to see some Steeler action on AFKN, or at least get all the games on your computer.

        Nothing like staying up all night on Monday mornings watching football and pounding back some soju especially if you can arrange your schedule so you don’t need to work on Mondays or at least until Monday afternoon/evening. Cheers!


        • cheonman-eyo chingu. I have NFL network. Got to set my dish up to get AFN but just have not had time. I also stream all the other games. Yea the time diff is funny for sure. I stay away from soju. Take care.


  • 1) Our entire D. Stunned this fan with their play. Dri Archer my biggest disappointment. I always felt he felt the fear running back kicks and it affected his vision and ability to hit holes.

    2) A bit perplexed by Williams’ lack of production last Sunday against Cleveland. Will chalk it up to a good day by Cleveland’s rush D. and Our Clean Landry’s early exit causing Iron Man to come in and mostly play shotgun. Williams seemed to do a good job blocking and protecting BR.

    3) I think Tomlin approves of any end zone celebration as long as we do not get a personal foul from it. And that somersault by AB while running at high gear was awesome! How can even Coach have a problem with that? Just hope AB doesn’t make a habit of it. Wait…… Ha ha!

    4) No fine. Give JJ a break please Roger! Por favor! I miss Neal by the way and hope he is doing well up in Minnesota. Vike Fever up there must be getting to him poor guy assuming he is still in Minnesota.


    • 2) The Browns threw everything they had into trying to stop the run and they stuck with that game plan. Against Vick it would have been good plan, against Jones it may have worked, against Rothliesberger it was stupid to stick with it. That was the kind of decision that gets coaches fired.


  • Re the AB somersault for the ages, does that top his drop kick of an enemy last year (forget who and which squad it was now)? I think it’s a toss up. Tough call. Both plays made me literally laugh out loud.

    Have to give it to the drop kick I guess on third thought just because it was not a celebration. It was a wild mad maniacal hilarious football play. Did Bruce Lee proud did Mr. Brown. 🙂


  • 1. Can’t pick just one. Among the original starters, Bud Dupree and Stephon Tuitt. They are just far ahead of where I thought they would be. Among the fill in starters, Bruce Cockrell, Alejandro Villenueva – simply outstanding. They may supplant Cortez Allen (most probable) and Beechum (at least possible as he is in a contract year).

    Disappointing. Shamarko stands alone. He can’t even beat out Rober Golden yet. Runner-up – Boykin. I’m mystified that he can’t get on the field. Considering that rookies and free agents get to play, I got to believe he hasn’t shown enough to the coaches to play.

    2. I have not a clue.

    3. I would actively discourage such displays. I’m old school and don’t like showy stuff. HOWEVER, considering what we’ve been through this season and the importance of beating the Browns last week, THAT WAS SO COOL. Now stop it. Especially you AB. Although you are Superman, I still fear injury and you need to calm down. If you can, do it on the stage in Canton.

    4. No he should not be fined, but he probably will. He left his feet but lead with his shoulder. I hate to be old school again, but here’s the deal. Football is an emotional game. If you run your mouth, be prepared to get hit. That will always be part of the game. The hit was not dirty, but was excessive. Sorry he’s hurt, but he sowed the seeds. Sorry, Momma. (Hangs head in insincere shame).

    5. I can’t top that, but we schedule around all Steeler games. We schedule around playoff games we aren’t even playing in. We have missed many social events (no weddings or funerals) for Steeler games. Not really feeling sheepish about it, either. LD and I unanimous on this, tho’ I once had to watch the Steelers on DVR so she could see a pet parade. …Women…, lol.


  • 1) Actually mine kind of cancel each other out. Pleasantly surprised by Robert Golden and disappointed by Shamarko Thomas

    2) Answered above.

    3) Actually, Tomlin approved of sticking the landing, how else was he going to answer that question. If I remember correctly, Bell and Sanders flipped into the end-zone, while Brown already had the TD before he flipped. All three were told not to do it again, Brown was told by Ben and he said that he wouldn’t.

    4) Nothing to fine him for, he didn’t violate the rules.

    Article 8
    There shall be no unnecessary roughness. This shall include, but will not be limited to:
    (a) striking an opponent anywhere with the foot or any part of the leg with a whipping motion;
    (b) contacting a runner out of bounds;
    Note: Defensive players must make an effort to avoid contact. Players on defense are responsible for knowing when a runner has crossed the boundary line, except in doubtful cases where he might step on a boundary line and continue parallel with it. (c) a member of the receiving team cannot go out of bounds and contact a kicking team player out of bounds. If this occurs on a kick from scrimmage, post-possession rules would apply if appropriate (9-5-1);
    (d) running or diving into, or throwing the body against or on a ball carrier who falls or slips to the ground untouched and makes no attempt to advance, before or after the ball is dead;
    (e) unnecessarily running, diving into, cutting, or throwing the body against or on a player who (i) is out of the play or (ii) should not have reasonably anticipated such contact by an opponent, before or after the ball is dead; or throwing the runner to the ground after the ball is dead;
    (f) a kicker/punter, who is standing still or fading backwards after the ball has been kicked, is out of the play and must not be unnecessarily contacted by the receiving team through the end of the play or until he assumes a distinctly defensive position.
    (g) If a player uses any part of his helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/”hairline” parts) or face mask to butt, spear, or ram an opponent violently or unnecessarily.
    (h) any player who grabs a helmet opening of an opponent and forcibly twists, turns, or pulls his head.
    (i) Illegal contact with the helmet against the knee of the snapper during an attempt for a field goal or kick try.
    (j) if a player illegally launches into a defenseless opponent. It is an illegal launch if a player (1) leaves both feet prior to contact to spring forward and upward into his opponent, and (2) uses any part of his helmet (including the top/crown and forehead/”hairline” parts) to initiate forcible contact against any part of his opponent’s body.
    Note: This does not apply to contact against a runner, unless the runner is still considered to be a defenseless player, as
    defined in Rule 12, Section 2, Article 9.
    Penalty: For unnecessary roughness: Loss of 15 yards. The player may be disqualified if the action is judged by the
    official(s) to be flagrant.
    Note: If in doubt about a roughness call or potentially dangerous tactics, the covering official(s) should always call unnecessary roughness.


    After looking at the play repeatedly in slow motion, with the help of a neutral fan (yes to my shame I raised a Bills fan) Jones did leave his feet, but he lead with his shoulder and Hawkins was not defenseless so leaving his feet was not illegal. Browns fans are likening this hit to Ward’s hit on Keith Rivers except that it was straight on, not a blindside block. Nothing Jones did violated the rules. It’s unfortunate that Hawkins was hurt, I hate to see anyone injured.


  • 1. Good surprise: I’m seldom surprised in a good way, as I expect all our guys to excel : ) Although a rookie getting serious snaps on defense is always unexpected, so I’ll go with former sack leader Bud Dupree (he was just edged out by Tuitt.) Bad surprise—Dri Archer, Cortez Allen, Shamarko Thomas – all guys I expected to see step it up this year.

    2. Two things—tape and determination. The Browns had a lot of tape to look at, and under the circumstances were correctly determined to stop the run and make Landry Jones try to beat them with his arm. A very good plan, in my opinion. The surprise was, they didn’t adjust the plan when they found Ben was clearly capable of badly exposing their depleted (or perhaps deplorable is a better word) secondary. Maybe they have so little trust in their team that they figured changing plans mid-game would only make things worse, and they might have been right. What I don’t get is why, since they were determined to have the majority of the defense at the LOS, they didn’t sell out to the blitz and hope to get to Ben a few times, rough him up, and reduce his effectiveness. But maybe that would have been even stupider. It’s hard to see how, though…

    3. I wrote about 500 words before I realized I was writing an article. No short answer is possible. (Which is usually the case for me anyhow : )

    4. I don’t know enough about what is a legal hit and what isn’t to say. All I can say is, I truly hope and pray Andrew Hawkins is okay. He’s a solid player, a solid man, and a really good dad. And I think this is one of the things we should remember when we debate about whether something is legal or should be fined or whatever. Yes, the players know the risks, and play anyhow, but I’m all in favor of doing the utmost to protect them from the most serious consequences of the game. It wasn’t at all clear to me that Jones needed to blow him up like that. A simple block would have sufficed. And if I’m correct about that, I hope JJ gets hit with a massive fine. It won’t help Andrew Hawkins, but it might help the next guy JJ is thinking about slamming into needlessly. For that matter, he’s putting himself at risk as well.

    5. Since I didn’t even know what a bye week was until about 5 years ago, and since I don’t schedule anything in opposition to games if I can help it (although I often can’t) I’m afraid I don’t have a story, good or otherwise.


    • 1. Rebecca’s nailed what I was going to write, for both the good and the bad. Thanks for saving me the time.
      2. Ditto.
      3. Tomlin respects the difference between calling someone out in public vs. having a talk in private. I expect AB was asked something like, “How big a fine do you think you ought to get if the next celebration stunt costs you a game or a season? I think an entire paycheck for every game missed sounds just about right…”
      4. No fine IMO. The hit was legal. Whether it was called for… I don’t know what was said. I must add that I like to see JJ showing some “nasty” on the field. Nothing against Hawkins in that, btw. I root for the Steelers, not against the other teams. But from that point of view there is a positive in what Jones did, so it’s basically a positive for me.
      5. Nothing that even comes close, and grateful for that fact.


  • 1 – Can’t limit it to just one. The front 7 has been more effective as a unit than I would have hoped – more pressure, more sacks. Most disappointing? Scobee.

    2 – Focus. The Browns prepared like Williams would be the primary offensive option with Jones at QB. The Raiders prepared like Williams would be a secondary option after Big Ben and a passel of receivers.

    3 – Has he changed his tone? I don’t think so. He changed how he expressed himself to the media about it. Tomlin did state he told AB to knock it off and AB said he agreed, that he needed to buckle down for the stretch run. It is just that Tomlin didn’t bite when the media asked.

    4 – I think Coolong is writing dangerously. He is making assertions based on no discernible fact. “Not to suggest Jones heard something he didn’t like, but there has to be some kind of vengeance in Jones’s motives here. ” There has to be vengeance involved? Really? Because Hawkins popped up after a Timmons hit and maybe talked smack? That’s a heck of a jump in logic by Neal. Then there’s “but the fact Jones hit him in the head after sizing him up is a point of contention, and one the league takes seriously.” Sized him up? Well he did seem to line up his block so that he got him center and didn’t miss. He hit Hawkins in the head, but he didn’t aim for it… you can clearly see Hawkins duck at the last second and take the forearm in the head.
    JJ will get fined because it was a hit to the head. Not because of a ridiculous assertion that JJ was actively head hunting.

    5 – Not on purpose…but I am signing settlement papers on a new house tomorrow and will be moving this weekend….so maybe subconsciously?


  • cold_old_steelers_fan

    1) I was casting about for the most disappointing player and Elpalito nailed it for me. Scobee wins this hands down for me. Biggest pleasant surprise would be a tie. Dupree on defence and D-Will on offence. A rookie on defence speaks for itself but, while I expected D-Will to a solid and reliable back I never expected the explosion he has shown. My big fear is the team will wear him out before the playoffs.

    2) Again, read what Elpalito had to say. Focus.

    3) AB has been told not to do it again by Ben and likely others. He won’t.

    4) It was a legal hit in a bang bang play. I am very sorry to see Hawkins injured but it was just one of those things that happen. I hope Hawkins is able to come back and play well.

    5) I don’t usually plan my life around the bye week but my first crew meeting* for the Grey Cup is on Saturday. I will probably be busy for the next two weekends and the week in between.

    * The people running the Grey Cup this year (it is being held in Winnipeg on Nov 29) approached the Winnipeg Folk Festival to organize transportation for all Grey Cup events (other than game day) because of it’s expertise and experience in dealing with that sort of logistical challenge. I, like all the other drivers, are unpaid volunteers as the CFL doesn’t have suitcases full of money laying about (unlike the NFL).


    • Homer chugged into Winnipeg early on the morning of November 1st on board the Canadian, and your town really knocked my socks off. It’s at the forks of the Red River and the Assinibione River, so I was immediately reminded of the ‘burgh. There was some terrific early 20th century architecture downtown from the Gilded Age (again like Pittsburgh), and some brand new and rather spectacular new stuff – including unexpected skyscrapers. Had no idea you have nearly 700,000 people there, and all the amenities. My first impression is that your town is sort like Canada’s Chicago – the heartland for agriculture and resources – and a lot more.
      Of all the surprises on Homer’s train trip across Canada, Winnipeg was the most unexpected. Hope to spend some time there, but probably not in February. June, when the days are warm and long and the beer is cold, seems a better bet.

      Enjoy the Grey Cup, but say a prayer for former BC Lion Doug Flutie. Losing both his mom and dad on the same day was so terribly sad.


  • 1) Surprise – Ross Cockrell playing lights out! Disappointment – Cortez Allen his arrow was pointing up before signing the big contract, not so much since. I was really hoping for him to get his mojo back this year!

    2) Browns planned for shutting down DW and taking their chances with LJ to beat them. It might have worked? When BR came in, they stayed with the plan, and were summarily torched.

    3) AB’s flip while amazing to see, please don’t do it again!

    4) JJ’s block was a legal hit and I’m sorry Hawkins received a concussion on the play. I hope he recovers and is able to return to play.

    5) The bye week is good for the players and gives us time to refresh our energy as we cheer them on to a playoff berth. If we can avoid any further major setbacks on the injury front, i believe 2015 could be a re-run of 2005?


  • 5 Steelers are wired answers?

    1. Mike Mitchell as the biggest surprise because many of us were starting to write him off but he has become one of the better safeties in the league this year. Dri Archer as the biggest disappointment, he was supposed to get looks with the offense this season but was cut despite being one of the better returners in the league this season.

    2. Because Ben was playing injured the Steelers played out of the shotgun for most of the game, Williams doesn’t run as well from that formation. Or at least that is the way it has been explained to me.

    3. I agree with Mary Lou, the Nation needs to lighten up and have some fun along with Coach T.

    4. It wasn’t illegal therefore there is nothing to fine.

    5. I got nothing.


  • 1. D-Will has been a helluva back-up, Bud Dupree has gone where no rookie has gone before, and Mike Mitchell has become what we thought he would be when we got him. And who put Ross Cockrell under the Christmas tree? On the downside, Scobee-don’t and Jacoby Jones. Nuff said.

    2. The Browns sold out to stop the run against Landry Jones, and were playing single coverage against the wideouts when Ben came in. Also, because of his foot injury, he took snaps out of the shotgun. Why take two yards a carry when they are giving you ten, twenty, or 56 yards in the air? If they can’t stop the pass, you pass. Especially if the run plays you worked on all week were from under center and you’re in the gun.

    3. Tomlin played it perfectly. Said nothing publicly, probably showed him a video of that Grammatica guy injuring himself and ruining his career with a celebration, and privately told him not to make this a habit. By the way, with this and the foot in the face of the kicker last year, isn’t AB a FACTORY OF HAPPINESS against the Brownies? I get the feeling AB generates fear and loathing in the Dawg Pound.

    4. He did launch himself, but hit him with his shoulder. He hit Hawkins in the head, but Hawkins is 5/7″ and was leaning forward. I’m not sure there was any way to hit him any lower. This was a turnover, and Jones went from defense to blocker in an instant, and it didn’t seem like there was much time for premeditation here. I don’t think he deserves a fine, but it was a particularly vicious hit to the head, and JJ did launch and Hawkins was concussed, so I could live with it.

    5.The only thing that makes the bye week bearable is the knowledge that this is a week for Ben and the others to heal and get healthy for the stretch run. For Homer, it’s like being a junkie and knowing the next fix is a week away. You sweat and itch a lot and become agitated. Yeah, it is a chance to reintroduce yourself to family and friends – and there’s this thing called brunch. And, yes, in past years, Homer has scheduled vacations around the bye week. It is what it is. Obviously.


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