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Steelers Offensive Line Had Solid Outing Last Time Out Against Baltimore

The last time these two hated rivals met - in Week 14 at Baltimore - the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line had a much better day than people gave them credit for. The Ravens had three sacks on the day, sure, but Ben Roethlisberger also threw it 40 times for 246 yards. Because the Steelers mustered only 13 points and gave up 3 sacks for the day, the offensive line was again criticized as being the weak link behind the offense. There's some truth to that, but it doesn't tell the whole story.

The first two Ravens sacks came on stunts drawn up by Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan. The first sent Ray Lewis free up the middle; the second sent both Lewis and Ed Reed up the middle. Let's take a look at both of them and see who the guilty party was on each play.

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Sack #1


In the frame above, I have highlighted three Ravens defenders. The LB is Ray Lewis who is blitzing on the play, and ultimately the one who got to Big Ben. The bottom Raven will be picked up by Willie Colon, who I show picking him up with the gold arrow. Next to him is Darnell Stapleton, who unnecessarily chases the third boxed Raven. He didn't need to though - his buddies to the left - Justin Hartwig and Chris K had that under control. The result as you'll see was..

Stapleton just makes a bad read here. He thinks that he needs to help out Hartwig but as we can see...


Not the case. Stapleton's attention was needed on Ray Lewis, who was coming right towards him. Stapleton's left blocking nobody as Lewis runs by him.

Good work by Rex Ryan designing a blitz that exploited the relative inexperience of G Darnell Stapleton. It's a good thing that the Steelers offensive lineman have been spending extra time in the film room together because you can bet on Ryan trying to confuse the Steelers offensive line with new blitz looks.


On this play, the Ravens sent 7 guys at Big Ben.


As you can see though, there are 7 Steelers in there to block (#5 for Pitt is Starks, not Holmes; #7 for Baltimore is Ed Reed not yet pictured). This means there should be enough Steelers to pick up the 7 guys Baltimore is sending.

As you can see, I've highlighted both Ed Reed and Mewelde Moore, who needs to be the last line of defense for Ben Roethlisberger. Is he?

He is not. Moore is doing nothing on the play. As you can see as well, the Steelers offensive line had done its job otherwise. This was a simple blown assignment by Moore.

Here's hoping everybody asked to block this coming Sunday is on the ball both mentally and physically. As I've shown, two of the three Ravens sacks the last time we met came on mental miscues by Darnell Stapleton and Mewelde Moore. Neither were the result of being overmatched physically.

We can do this! Go Steelers!