Steelers' search for answers continues

Steel City wake-up: morning links

The Steelers can’t consistently run the ball. Nor have they been able to protect Ben Roethlisberger.

The Steelers quarterback is on pace to get sacked more than 60 times, and Roethlisberger will be in the crosshairs of Bills defensive end Mario Williams on Sunday. Running the ball in the 1 p.m. game at Heinz Field won’t be any easier than keeping Roethlisberger upright given the strength of Buffalo’s front seven.

The Steelers desperately need a win on Sunday, and taking a look at the bigger picture they have to figure out where things went wrong in their attempt to improve the running game and do a better job of minimizing the punishment that Roethlisberger absorbs.

Answers won’t be provided by general manager Kevin Colbert, at least until after the season. Colbert has a longstanding policy of not talking to the media during the season and questions have been raised about the Steelers’ draft process following some dubious selections.

The Steelers will have a lot of tough decisions to make during the offseason, and one of those will be what to do with strong safety Troy Polamalu.

The perennial Pro Bowler will be going into the final year of a contract that will pay him more than $8 million in 2014, and the 11th-year veteran strongly hinted on Wednesday that he wants to play next season.

One issue the Steelers don’t have moving forward is how wide receiver Antonio Brown will respond to being benched late in a 55-31 loss at New England. Brown said he has no problem with coach Mike Tomlin’s decision and vowed to do more to help the Steelers try to win.

The Steelers have had their struggles inside opponents’ 20-yard line, and they play a team on Sunday that is one of the worst in the NFL in the red zone.