5 Smoldering Questions: The Post-Cleveland Pre-Colts Edition


via CBSSports

by Hombre de Acero

They may not have earned many style points, but the Pittsburgh Steelers left Cleveland with that they needed:  A win. Now on a short week, the Steelers prepare to play on Thanksgiving for the 2 time in four years, but before we reach Turkey Day, this corner of Steelers Nation first must resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers.

1. The Steelers dominated time of possession, with three drives that threatened to break double digits. Yet, for all of their offensive domination between the 20’s, four trips to the red zone yielded only one touchdown. Do those stats leave your glass half empty or half full?

2. How much does the quality of the opposition temper your evaluation of the Steelers’ win over the Browns?

3. Sammie Coates is playing with two broken fingers, and in fact made three special teams tackles. Mike Tomlin defended his participation there, but do you think it is wise to play Coates on special teams given the Steelers’ urgent need to develop a sound No. 2 opposite Antonio Brown?

4. James Harrison broke the Steelers sack record vs. the Browns. Where would you rank Harrison alongside past great Steelers outside linebackers such as Jack Ham, Andy Russell, Bryan Hinkle, Kevin Greene, Greg Lloyd, Joey Porter, Alonzo Jackson (just kidding!) and Jason Gildon, the man whose record he broke?

5. The NFL is “honoring” the Steelers with their eighth Thanksgiving Day game. The Steelers are 1-6 on Turkey Day, including the Thanksgiving Day massacre in Detroit in 1983 and the infamous coin flip game in 1998. Do you think the Steelers can finally play a game on Thanksgiving without emerging as turkeys?

Bonus Question

6. Although its been 15 years since I’ve been on U.S. soil for Thanksgiving, it remains one of my favorite holidays, as it  managed to survive commercialization until the advent of Black Friday.

Hopefully, all of you have non-football things to be thankful for, and those are far more important than anything that happens on the gridiron.

But who or what about the 2016 Steelers are you thankful for?

Happy Thanksgiving Folks. Remember, the holiday season may be upon us, but normal quiz rules remain in effect. Answer using a No. 2 dark pencil. You must show work for full credit, but looking at your neighbor’s paper is not only allowed, we highly encourage it.


  • 1. Half-empty….. why won’t Tomlin use more ‘old blue collar’ formations and line up with a fullback? As good as Mr. Bell is, it helps to have a body in front of him as we saw when he scored to the right in the previous game with Nix leading the way. Scoring in the red zone… we jab… after a long drive a ‘knockout punch’ is necessary.

    2. Where’s the ‘knockout punch’? Why do we so frequently see good teams blow out weak opponents…. while the Steelers rarely blow anyone out. We should have defeated this winless team with their weak O-line by 4 touchdowns. The victory makes me feel ‘so what’ going forward.

    3. Does anyone understand Tomlin’s decisions? Or is this on Danny Smith, the obviously weakest link in the Steelers coaching chain?

    4. Lambert was the best…. Jack Ham next…. Harrison & Andy follow.

    5. Depends on which side “Luck” resides.

    6. I’m thankful that we may finally have had a decent draft that will pay benefits in nearly every round. And that we ‘burgh fans have been so fortunate to have had a competitive team to cheer for for decades!


  • 1. Considering how much we’ve complained about the Steelers not beating the opponents they are supposed to beat, and considering the weather conditions, my glass is definitely half full.

    2. To quote Tunch Ilkin, “a win is a win.” This is also a team which came perilously close to beating the Dalla Cowboys the week before. You can only play the teams on your schedule.

    3. I’m thinking its better to have him playing than not, so he’s in game shape when he’s ready to be slotted back into the offense.

    5. Lord only knows. I feel better about their chances after Sunday’s game, for sure.

    Bonus: Hombre, you preempted my planned Thanksgiving post so I’ll save my thoughts for that 😊


  • 1.) Half full. Steelers fans always want a grind ’em out running game lots of sacks and a good turnover ratio. Whaddya know, here we go. Although I don’t have the statistics, it seems like we’ve had more red zone touchdowns this season. They’ll even out. And, yes, I think we’ve seen too many trap game losses to inferior teams on the road to complain about a win.
    2.) See above. Plus if we’re so bad, how come the Pats and Boys didn’t blow us out. It’s never easy with the Steelers, they seem to play to the level of competition
    3.) Play. They must be confident he’s not going to hurt himself further, and with Shamarko out we need good special teams players.
    4.) At the risk of being pedantic, the question said outside linebacker, which which Lambert was not. I do revere Ham and Lloyd, but with the record and the greatest play in Superbowl history I’m not putting Harrison below anyone.
    5.) Well, I guess Luck is out and some DB injuries for the Colts, Steelers are healthyish and it’s in a dome, so the arrow is pointing up for us, which means we should be careful. Incidentally I was at the coin flip game and that day I would have traded then Lions QB Charlie Batch, who dramatically emerged from the locker room after an injury to lead them to victory for Kordell Stewart, who as usual, was playing not to lose.
    6.) yYes, thankful that finally some our defensive backfield picks are panning out. And we should be so thankful for Ben, AB and Bell, of course.


  • 1. Half full. They had the football three times in the first half and scored on all three. The weather took away the long passing game completely, and they refused to give the game away. If ever there was a trap game, this was it, with the wind n@.

    2. The quality of opposition and the weather very much temper my evaluation of the performance of the Steelers’ defensive backs.They had a good game, but against who – and in what kind of conditions?

    3. I’m okay with letting him play. They have lost a couple of special teams aces and Coates has been solid. They can’t afford breakdowns in ST coverage units, so you roll the dice and go with Coates.

    4.Ham was the best OL to ever put on a Pittsburgh uniform. He was as close to perfect as I’ve ever seen, in terms of being in position and technique. And he made it look easy. I’d put James up there with Greene and Porter, maybe slightly ahead of them. He may well be the most beloved OLB in the history of Steeler Nation, and I’d put him number two among our pantheon of OL’s.

    5. I’ll believe it when I see it, and this is the year I think I’ll see it.

    6. I’m thankful we’re getting production – real production – from three rookies on defense. Burns, Davis, and J-Wobble have been doing a lot of maturing right before our eyes. They’re not there yet, but it’s exciting watching them get there. This might well have been one helluva draft.


  • Pingback: Paying It Forward: Steelers Who Are Making the World a Better Place | Going Deep:

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