5 Smoldering Questions on the Pittsburgh Steelers, Wild Card Edition
by Hombre de Acero
It looked bleak, very bleak there for a while, but the Pittsburgh Steelers prevailed over the Cincinnati Bengals 18-16 in one of the most improbable comebacks in franchise history since the Immaculate Reception.
Mike Tomlin refuses to talk about the Cincinnati game, instead favoring a focus on the AFC Divisional showdown with Denver. That’s a smart move on the part of the Steelers standard bearer, but before this corner of Steelers Nation can firmly fix its eyes forward, it must first struggle with these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers.
1. Our own Ivan Cole was one of the first to draw a comparison between this playoff comeback and the Immaculate Reception. Playoff comebacks provide the ultimate buzz, but not all are created equal. The Immaculate Reception and the 2005 AFC Divisional Playoff win were transformational, whereas the 1989 Steelers upset of the Oilers at the Astrodome and the 2002 Tommy Maddox were sensational but not paradigm shifting for the franchise.
Time will give us our answer as to the nature of the comeback in Cincinnati, but how do you see this one playing out in the long term, from where you sit today?
2. If we had opened the 5 Smolderings back in September saying “In the Steelers’ first playoff game this season their running backs will combine for 183 all purpose yards…” you’d have believed it and assumed it was the work of Le’Veon Bell, with a little help from his friends.
If I’d told you “Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman” would author this feat, you’d have asked “Who?” and then told Rebecca “The Hombre’s had too much Mendoza Red with his Tango lessons, get him out of here!”
But accomplish that feat they did. And that gives us our question.
Does Toussaint and Todman’s accomplishment vindicate Kevin Colbert’s ability to scouring the waiver wire and scout quality street free agents, or does it vindicate Mike Tomlin’s “Next man up” philosophy?
Students who try to have it both ways will be marked down. You must make a choice and defend it.
3. Writers from BTSC’s Tony Defeo, the Tribune-Review’s Joe Starkey, and MMQB’s Peter King have suggested in some form or fashion that Joey Porter took to the field to goad the Bengals into committing a penalty. Now, Dale Lolley has offered evidence to the contrary.
Who do you believe?
4. Ben Roethlisberger’s status for Sunday remains in doubt, and Mike Tomlin has confirmed that Landry Jones will get the majority of reps in practice. Given how uninspiring Landry Jones’ play was against the Bengals, do you think it would be wise to consider playing Mike Vick if Ben can’t make a go of it?
5. Your phone rings. The inbound number has a 412 area code. You answer. Mike Tomlin is on the other end. He asks you for advice on game planning for the best way to beat Denver. What do you tell him?
This is going to be fun. I’ve been coming up with game plans for the past three days…
Please submit your answers to the proctor, and don’t forget to show your work. Make us proud, Steeler Nation!