5 Smoldering Questions: The Post-Giants Pre-Bills Edition
by Hombre de Acero
Eli Manning’s latest visit to Heinz Field resulted in the Pittsburgh Steelers first home win over the New York Giants since 1971, as the Steelers extended their winning streak to 3 games and improved their overall record to 7-5, which allows them to keep pace with the resurgent Ravens.
But before the Steelers can think of felling their winged rivals from the sky, they have a challenge to overcome on the ground in the form of Rex Ryan’s Buffalo Bills. As this corner of Steelers Nation anxiously awaits Mike Tomlin’s sixth matchup against Buddy Ryan’s offspring, we must first resolve these 5 Smoldering Questions on the Steelers.
1. In crafting last week’s question about the how the recent matchups vs. the Giants serve as milestones for the personnel transitions the Steelers have undergone during the Tomlin era, another factoid occurred to me:
The 2008 Steelers lost to the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants after a bad long snap by emergency long snapper James Harrison that capped off a bumbling afternoon. The Steelers of course rebounded to win the Super Bowl.
In 2012, the Steelers again played the Giants and mustered an impressive 4th quarter comeback fueled by big plays on offense and defense. (Hey, it was Red Zone Redman’s career day!) They defeated the defending Super Bowl Champions and extended their winning streak to 3. Super Bowl dreams seemed realistic then, yet the Steelers would close the season by going 3-5.
With that juxtaposition in mind, what does the 2016 Steelers win over the Giants tell you…?
2. Ladarius Green’s breakout performance is garnering him praise, as he was a very real difference maker. With that understood, how do you rate the development of and contributions from Jesse James?
3. When word of Le’Veon Bell’s second suspension due to missed drug tests broke, a number of commentators suggested the Steelers should take advantage of the opportunity to re-sign him. Whether the move was discussed or not is unknown, but the Steelers obviously opted not to go down that road. Yet a fact that Rebecca Rollett shared caught my attention:
Hall of Famer Jim Brown (125.5) is the only player with a higher career average than @L_Bell26 (124.5) in yards from scrimmage per game.
— Chris Wesseling (@ChrisWesseling) December 5, 2016
With that in mind, does anyone want to Monday Morning Quarterback the decision by the Steelers brain trust?
4. By now most of you have probably seen the incredible documentary “Chuck Noll: A Football Life.” What did you learn, or what stood out to you about the Emperor?
And do you think that efforts like this and the book “His Life’s Work” will allow Noll to get the recognition he deserves as one of the greatest coaches of all time?
5. While Mike Tomlin prides himself on keeping his players from riding the emotional roller coaster, Rex Ryan follows in his father’s footsteps as a coach who leans heavily on emotion to motivate his players. As Washington sports broadcasting legend Ken Beatrice used to warn, coaching tactics like those of Ryan’s father and Jerry Glanville resulted in both tremendous highs but also tremendous lows in performance.
We perhaps saw the full range of that dynamic on display in a single game in the AFC Championship a few years back.
Given that Mike Tomlin is only 3-2 against Ryan, what do you expect for Sunday’s game?
You know the drill. No. 2 pencil, color the little bubbles in completely, and no copying from your neighbor. But you can certainly take into account what your neighbor has to say...