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Asked and Answered: Nov. 20

Let’s get to it:

GREG NOVICKOFF FROM PHILADELPHIA, PA: If it was the case that the call on the field for the Steelers’ final play was a touchdown, and the video review came back to overturn it, does that eat the last Steelers timeout, or is there a clock run-off? Or does the run-off only happen if the team is out of timeouts?
ANSWER: Because the review was initiated from the booth, as is the case with all scoring plays at any point in the game, there is no clock runoff if the call on the field is overturned. What would have happened if the call on the field, which was that Ben Roethlisberger had gotten the ball across the plane of the goal line for a touchdown, had been reversed, the officials would have restarted the game clock once the ball was spotted. But because the Steelers had one timeout remaining, they would have been able to stop the clock, which would have shown five seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. That’s why Coach Mike Tomlin was out on the field talking to one of the officials during the review process – he was informing the official that if the play was overturned he wanted to call his final timeout of the second half.

SEAN THAL FROM KAYSVILLE, UT: I appreciate the access that fans get because reporters have a lot of access, but what are the postgame rules/schedule for reporters gaining access to the locker rooms, and why are they allowed in when players apparently haven't even had a chance to dress yet?
ANSWER: This is an NFL rule, that locker rooms are to be opened to the media approximately 10 minutes after the game ends. The league believes as you do that the media brings postgame reaction from players and the head coach to the fans, and the NFL believes that is important enough to have implemented this rule. Some players are interested in getting their media obligations out of the way first, and there are other guys who prefer to shower and get dressed before facing the cameras and microphones. That is a personal choice, but when the locker rooms are opened is not.

KEVIN SUNDE FROM MOREHEAD, NC: During the Jacksonville game, T.J. Watt knocked the ball out of Blake Bortles’ hand, and it was recovered by the Jaguars for a loss. Does Watt get credited with a sack on that or just a quarterback pressure?
ANSWER: As long as Blake Bortles had the ball knocked out of his hand while in the pocket attempting to pass, it’s a sack.

ZELO NETO FROM CAMPO GRANDE, MS, BRAZIL: I became a Steelers fan because of a comeback victory against the Cowboys on Dec. 7, 2008. If I'm correct, we were losing by 13-3 and won 20-13. I was suffering and had a epiphany like: “Guess I like this team.” Last game against Jaguars was one of my favorite comebacks. Could you tell us what is yours?
ANSWER: Just to fill in a few details of that comeback win over Dallas in 2008: The Steelers trailed, 13-3, at the start of the fourth quarter, but they chipped into that deficit with a 41-yard field goal by Jeff Reed that made it 13-6 with 7:15 left in the fourth quarter. After a defensive stop, Ben Roethlisberger directed an eight-play, 67-yard drive that he ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Heath Miller that tied the game with 2:04 remaining. After the ensuing kickoff, the Cowboys were playing for overtime, but when the Steelers began calling timeouts in an effort to get the ball back, the Cowboys changed tactics, which is when Deshea Townsend intercepted a Tony Romo pass intended for Jason Witten and returned it 25 yards for the deciding touchdown with 1:40 remaining in the game. The Steelers intercepted Romo three times that day – Townsend, Troy Polamalu, and Ike Taylor – and sacked him three times – James Harrison, James Farrior, and Travis Kirschke. My favorite Steelers comeback occurred in the final game of the 2008 season: Super Bowl XLIII.

QUINTIN WASHINGTON FROM PITTSBURGH, PA: I noticed this year that kickoffs are now blown dead in the end zone without the receiving team downing the ball. In years past the ball was live until a player took a knee or the ball was kicked out of the end zone. Did the rule change?
ANSWER: Yes, it did. As the NFL continues to try to make kickoffs safer, the rule now is that the referee is to blow the ball dead as soon as it hits the ground in the end zone. It’s an immediate touchback.

DAVE HORCHAK FROM CHERRY TREE, PA: I’m watching the game against the Jaguars and was just wondering if Ben Roethlisberger has ever played quarterback? Or ever played a game in the NFL?
ANSWER: I’m going to assume this insightful comment was made before the end of the fourth quarter.

RICHARD MITCHELL FROM FAYETTEVILLE, NC: What is it about the Jacksonville Jaguars team that we just can't get a win? Are they in the heads of all the players, because it's not just the offense but also the defense?
ANSWER: Ah, more “analysis” before the full 60 minutes had been played apparently. Just so you know, in their first four offensive possessions of the fourth quarter, the Jaguars went three-and-out each time, and their combined total net yards of offense for the entire quarter was minus-3. Who was in who’s head?

KEITH MILLER FROM WAYNESVILLE, NC: We thought the Steelers’ first-round draft pick was a reach. Then we thought they needed to draft a linebacker. Then we thought they needed to pick up another free agent on defense. Then we thought they needed to trade for a linebacker. Is it possible (I know this might be far-fetched), but is it possible that Steelers management and coaches actually knew what they were doing?
ANSWER: That’s crazy talk right there.

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