Asked and Answered

Asked and Answered: Dec. 8

Let's get to it:

DARRELL GRANT FROM RICHMOND, VA:
Considering the Seahawks defense came into the game against the Steelers ranked No. 2 against the pass and No. 8 against the run, is there any sane reason why the Steelers would go so pass happy and almost abandon the run game?

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Here's one sane reason: Because it was working. Ben Roethlisberger had 456 yards passing; the no-huddle was working even though the game was in the most hostile environment for a visiting team in the NFL; Markus Wheaton set a CenturyLink Field record for receiving yards; and the Steelers scored 30 points on the road against – as you point out – one of the best defenses in football. If your point is that by running the football the Steelers could have limited Seattle's 39 points, I disagree. These aren't the ground-and-pound Steelers anymore, and just because fans might long for a return to that style, it's not going to happen. It's a passing league, a scoring league, and the Steelers have the quarterback and the weapons to ring up the scoreboard with the best of them. It's up to the defense to allow fewer than 39 points in a game in which the offense scores 30. It's not up to the offense to limit the opponent's possessions in the hope of helping hold its offense under 39 points.**

KENNY YOUNGERS FROM KINGMAN, KS:
How would you evaluate the Antonio Brown vs. Richard Sherman matchup last Sunday? Were you surprised, disappointed, or impressed with either player? And of course I have to ask: do you think the officiating played a part in the outcome of their matchup?

I have seen every NFL game Antonio Brown ever has played, and I have seen him do amazing things routinely. In that particular game in Seattle, however, I was impressed with Richard Sherman. I didn't believe he would be able to stay with Antonio Brown, one of the quickest receivers in the NFL, a player who actually has been timed as running faster coming out of his breaks than going into them, a very rare quality. I don't know that there's another cornerback in the NFL who could stay with Brown the way Sherman did during the Nov. 29 game in Seattle. As to your second question, I will say this: One of Antonio Brown's most distinguishing physical abilities is his balance. He never loses his feet. So for him to magically go to the ground on that play to allow Sherman a clear path to an interception is strong evidence that he got some help to the ground. Sherman played a great game, but on that play he committed pass interference.

CURT SPRINGMAN FROM RANCHO PALOS VERDES, CA:
For starters, I really enjoy visiting Steelers.com to view your videos and news articles. I usually listen to games via the link to WDVE. My question is about the tempo of our offense and use of personnel. A lot is made of controlling the tempo of games, and the Steelers have talented playmakers among their running backs. Roosevelt Nix and Will Johnson have shown receiving ability in limited opportunities, but I don't  remember seeing them or hearing of them getting an opportunity to run the ball. In essence, why aren't the decision makers slowing down the tempo of the game to use up the clock by putting these guys to use? This would be a way to keep control of games.

My answer to you is going to be similar to my answer to Darrell Grant a couple of questions ago. The Steelers are a passing team now, and with all due respect to Roosevelt Nix and Will Johnson, giving them the football on running plays instead of having Ben Roethlisberger throw it to Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton (201 yards receiving in Seattle), Heath Miller and the rest would amount to coaching malpractice. Had Le'Veon Bell not been lost for the season to a knee injury, I believe the Steelers running attack would be more a part of the offense and more of a factor in determining the outcome of games. But that was going to be as the result of a combination of Bell – a first-team All-Pro in 2014 – and DeAngelo Williams, a proven veteran running back who came to Pittsburgh with a career 4.8-yard average on 1,432 carries. And even with them the Steelers still are a passing team now. Controlling games can come in other ways besides running the football and milking the clock. A team can take control of a game by scoring touchdowns on its first three offensive possessions, for example, or by answering every score by the opponent with a score of its own. That is what Steelers football is now. Embrace it.

ANTHONY PELLONI FROM PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA
No questions. Just wanted to say that I'm a huge fan of Asked & Answered and way impressed with the Steelers this season despite the overwhelming injury list that has plagued the team.

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Glad you're a fan of Asked and Answered. When I was in high school back in the early 1970s, Phnom Penh was in the news a lot, and for teenage American boys it was a very scary place that all of us hoped we never would have to see. Thanks for the kind words, and I hope all is well for you in your little corner of Southeast Asia.**

GUSTAVO ZAPIAIN FROM GATINEAU, QUEBEC, CANADA:
I've noticed Coach Mike Tomlin and other people have started calling Heath Miller by his first name of "Earl" instead of "Heath." Is there a reason for that?

I don't know. Respect for their elders?

ZACHARIAH  MANDELL FROM BUFFALO, N.Y.:
How did the "no-research" rule for your shows come about between you and Mike Prisuta?

Icould lie to you and say it was born of a desire to test your knowledge without the benefit of all of the information available nowadays, but what's closer to the truth is that it has more to do with laziness.

EDWARD KING FROM OKLAHOMA CITY, OK:
I read your section every week and I cannot help but get the idea that you do not think the questions posted in Asked and Answered are intelligent, and I get that based on the tone in your writing. Why are you so annoyed with questions from the fans? Is there someone else that could take over this section?

You're painting with too broad a brush. Not every question is stupid and/or annoying, but then there's something like this from the Nov. 19 Asked and Answered: "How about trading Dri Archer to the Patriots for a healthy Tom Brady as an extra backup? The Patriots need a running back. Or is this not allowed with Archer on the practice squad?" I see the purpose of Asked and Answered as really being twofold: it is informational, but it also has to be entertaining. The questions that really annoy me often are nothing more than rants designed to spur a reaction, much like the trolls on Twitter, and those never see the light of day. Steelers fans are known as being among the best informed, and there are some whose contributions to Asked and Answered are way below that line. And no, there is no one else to take over this section. It's part of my penance.

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