Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Dec. 29

Let's get to it:

MATT YOUNG FROM BALTIMORE, MD:
As a Steelers fan living in Baltimore, I was especially thrilled with our big win on Christmas. I think a lot of the credit goes to our offensive line. I was wondering, when (if ever) was the last time Ben Roethlisberger was not sacked in a Steelers- Ravens game?

ANSWER: In fact, Ben Roethlisberger not being sacked in a game against the Ravens has happened just three times in his 13 NFL seasons. The first was on Dec. 26, 2004 when Roethlisberger, in his rookie season, completed 14-of-19 (73.7 percent) for 221 yards, with two touchdowns and one interception in a 20-7 Steelers win. The second was on Nov. 28, 2013 when he completed 28-of-44 (63.4 percent) for 257 yards, with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 22-20 loss in Baltimore. The third time was last Sunday.

MATT GUNTER FROM RAPID CITY, SD:
My social media has been bombarded with the "Dak breaking Ben's rookie wins record" stuff lately, and I'm wondering how it is that Tommy Maddox was injured in the second game of Ben's rookie season (so I know Ben doesn't get credit for that since he didn't start), but there should be 14 starts after that game that Ben started and won right? How is that number only 13 for Ben?

ANSWER: In the 2004 regular season finale against the Bills in Buffalo, with the Steelers already having clinched home-field advantage throughout the AFC Playoffs, Coach Bill Cowher rested several starters, including Ben Roethlisberger. Tommy Maddox started that game, which the Steelers won. That means Maddox's record as a starter in 2004 ended up being 2-1, and Roethlisberger's was 13-0.

DANIEL VALENCIA FROM SANTIAGO, CHILE:
Do you see Le'Veon Bell as a big part of the offense from now on? Maybe using him as the running back and Le'Veon Bell playing as a wideout on some plays? I think he wasn't on the field for any snaps against the Ravens.

ANSWER: DeAngelo Williams played one offensive snap in the game against the Ravens, and he hasn't had as many as 10 touches in any game since Sept. 25 in Philadelphia. Williams also was on the inactive list seven times as a result of a knee injury that eventually required some type of procedure to fix. In Le'Veon Bell, you have a guy who has five 100-yard games and one 200-yard game over the last seven weeks, a guy who's averaging 4.9 yards per carry, a guy with nine touchdowns over the last seven weeks. And you're going to take touches away from Bell to give them to Williams? Why? To save Bell for the playoffs? The playoffs are here. For the last two years, Steelers fans have been lamenting the fact the team didn't have Le'Veon Bell for the playoffs. Well, now they do, he's healthy, and I'm getting him the ball as often as I can. Or until he says he's tired, which will never happen.

STEVE SAPIRO FROM SALINAS, CA:
Is Martavis Bryant eligible for the playoffs?

ANSWER: OK, boys and girls, one more time and one more time only: Martavis Bryant was suspended for a year, as in 12 months; not a year, as in an NFL regular season. My advice to you would be to forget about Martavis Bryant, and then if/when he is reinstated by Commissioner Roger Goodell we will re-open the floor to questions about him.

LARRY MARCUM FROM BLOOMINGBURG, OH
Is there a chance that Cameron Hayward could be back for the playoffs?

ANSWER: No.

STEVE KITCHEN FROM AVIS, PA:
As the winners of the AFC North, if the Steelers play a Wild Card team in the playoffs and that Wild Card team has the better record, where is the game played?

ANSWER: Division winners always have priority over teams that enter the playoffs as a Wild Card, regardless of won-loss record. A Wild Card team only can host another Wild Card team.

MIKE CONNELLY FROM NORTHUMBERLAND, PA:
When the offense is trying to hurry plays, and usually after a long gain, the offense hurries to the line of scrimmage and lines up, and the quarterback takes the snap and spikes the ball to stop the clock. How is this action NOT intentional grounding? He's between the tackles, no receiver nearby, and the ball does not clear the line of scrimmage.

ANSWER: It's not intentional grounding because there is a specific rule that allows spiking the ball to stop the clock.

ALLEN FRIEND FROM VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA:
Has there been a historic danger that resting your starter(s) can disrupt the team's momentum heading into the playoffs?

ANSWER: Teams that have been bitten in the butt by the tactic you reference usually did it for more than one week. Resting players for a game and then having another game in six or seven days is one thing, but resting players for a game that's followed by a bye is another issue altogether.

STEVE BARRIERO FROM DAYTONA BEACH, FL:
In Mike Tomlin's press conference he was asked about Terry Bradshaw's recent comments and his characterization of Tomlin as a "cheerleader guy." I cracked a smile on Tomlin's final comment. "But what do I know? I grew up a Dallas [Cowboys] fan. Particularly, a "Hollywood" Henderson fan." Wasn't Hollywood Henderson the Cowboys linebacker in the 1970s who criticized Bradshaw's intelligence, or lack thereof, and Bradshaw's ability to spell "cat" even if spotted the "c" and the "a"? Did Tomlin do his version of a mic drop on that one?

ANSWER: Yes. And in my opinion, yes.

SAM CLONCH FROM KANSAS CITY, MO:
On the reach by Antonio Brown, it seems pretty clear that Eric Weddle has a whole handful of facemask. A penalty stops the clock. If Brown doesn't make the goal line, it's likely the clock runs out, giving the win to the Ravens. Do you think the officials kept the penalty flags in their pockets BECAUSE he made it? Do you think if he's short, they give them the (deserved) flag, and another shot? Or would it have gone down as one of the worst missed calls of the year?

ANSWER: Yes.

JIM SPEHAR FROM BERLIN HEIGHTS, OH:
I know the number of players who can be inactive against Cleveland is limited, but I see this as a great opportunity to see what we have in Justin Gilbert, both as a cornerback and a kickoff returner, with no risk. What do you think his chances are to get some significant reps?

ANSWER: I also would like to see Justin Gilbert play, both on defense and as a return guy, but Artie Burns and Stephon Tuitt both are young, developing players who need repetitions as well. Don't overlook that aspect of this game against the Browns, because it's going to be Burns and Cockrell who must come through at that important position for the Steelers to make a deep run into these playoffs.

DAN DUFOE FROM HERSHEY, PA:
Which questions do you never want to see submitted again?

ANSWER: Let's start with this one.

KRIS HUFFMAN FROM SALISBURY, NC:
The Super Bowl has been turned into a media circus, and I can't stand the fact that some teams get the chance to play the Super Bowl at home while others don't because their stadiums and/or cities do not meet the criteria. I would love for both teams to be given a chance to play one half of the Super Bowl in their own stadiums. The top seed team gets second half. What are your thoughts?

ANSWER: Please be careful crossing the street alone. Always remember to wait for the light, and to look both ways before stepping off the curb.

JAMES REBOVICH FROM AKRON, OH:
For my own sanity I have to hope that many of the questions and comments I see on here are sent to intentionally get a rude response. Otherwise I can only wonder how people that dumb can use a phone, tablet, or computer when they can't turn it on. My question is do you like mixing in a few to entertain, or is it really just what you get? Feel free to lie to me if the truth is too painful.

ANSWER: What you see is what I get.


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