The Pittsburgh Steelers started December with a bang, crushing Cincinnati 42-21 and improving their record to 8-5. Yet more challenges lie ahead as the Black-and-Gold must keep winning to keep pace in the uber-competitive AFC North. But before they can do that, Steelers Nation must first grapple with these 5 Burning Questions.
1. As BTSC indicated, Stephon Tuitt's first start also ended an era in Pittsburgh (assuming Brett Keisel retires). How do you think the rookie from Notre Dame did?
2. In naming Winners and Losers from last week, BTSC editor Neal Coolong pulled no punches when it came to veteran Ike Taylor, concluding:
It will be interesting to see how the Steelers justify either keeping him on the field next week against Atlanta or announce that he won't be playing due to one of several injuries he's suffered in the last two games. But this simply doesn't work anymore.
In contrast, Dale Lolley pointed out that Taylor didn't have safety help on the 81-yard pass and prior to that had held A.J. Green to eight catches for 55 yards.
If he's healthy, should the Steelers start Taylor, or should Ike Taylor end his days with the Steelers on the bench?
3. The win against the Bengals was a huge milestone for Le'Veon Bell, who became the only player to rush for 200 yards from scrimmage since Walter Payton did it in 1977. Just how significant is this achievement?
4. The activation of Jarvis Jones was the big news heading into the Bengals game, yet it was Arthur Moats who came away with two sacks and 1 fumble recovery. Assuming James Harrison is back to full health, what should be the pecking order at outside linebacker?
5. CBS Commentator Dan Fouts went so far as to describe victory over the Bengals as a "Statement Win."
The problem with "statements" is that you've got to back them up. The Steelers are heading onto the road against an NFC South Team in the form of the 5-8 Atlanta Falcons who are coming off of a short week...
...And you know what that has meant for the 2014 Pittsburgh Steelers.
You are Mike Tomlin - what do you say or do differently to avoid another subpar effort vs. a team with a losing record?
There you go folks, have at it!