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5 Burning Questions: For Steelers and Rest of League, NFL = Not For Long

A week ago the Steelers had pole position on an AFC first round bye and at least one guaranteed home playoff game at Heinz Field Now tie breakers place them at third in the AFC North. Does anyone require more proof that the NFL really stands for "Not For Long?" The upside is that the Ravens sweep gives us plenty to talk about.

 Welcome to 5 Burning Questions "Not For Long" edition.

1. The Steelers played the Ravens without LaMarr Woodley, James Farrior, Chris Hoke, Emmanuel Sanders and they lost Hines Ward in the game. With all due respect to "The Standard is the Standard" which player(s) could have made the difference Sunday Night?

2. The Steelers secondary went from a lights out performance against the NFL's most elite passing attack to a "lights are on but nobody's home" performance against a far inferior passing combo. Diagnose what went wrong?

3. Given the Ravens recent history in stuffing the Steelers run, Rashard Mendenhall did quite well with the carries he got. Would Pittsburgh have won had they tried to rely on Mendenhall a little more?

4. Hesitation kills killer instinct. Regardless of whether the Steelers should have punted before the delay of game penalty, did Mike Tomlin's vacillation set the tone for the upset that followed?

5. Injuries ravaged the Bengals defense in 2010. However, the last time Mike Zimmer sent a healthy defense out to play the Steelers, he took them to school. What must Bruce Arians, Ben Roethlisberger and company do to avoid that trap?

There you have your Five Burning Questions for week 9. Please remember both to show your work and to answer using a Number 2 lead pencil. Looking at your neighbor's answers is not only permitted, but encouraged.