The Pittsburgh Steelers have certainly turned the corner, or as Mike Tomlin said, “Removed that September stench” off themselves. How did they do it? By getting to the quarterback, and protecting their own quarterback.
Everyone knows the usual data related to defensive pass rush, and that usually is based solely on quarterback sacks, but sometimes just hitting the quarterback can be effective. For instance, against Joe Flacco in Week 9, the Steelers just getting to the Ravens’ quarterback can cause him to deliver the ball sooner than expected, and disrupt the play.
It doesn’t equate in a sack, but certainly gets registered as a QB Hit.
For all NFL teams, through Week 8, the Steelers have an impressive ranking when it comes to hitting the opposing signal caller.
Check out the data, which has Pittsburgh second in the league with 55 QB Hits.
TOTAL QUARTERBACK HITS PRODUCED (Through Week 8)— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) October 30, 2018
ARI, NYJ: 51
CLE, HOU, KC, LAR: 49
BUF, NE, SF: 44
DAL, JAX, LAC, WAS: 43
CHI, IND, SEA: 40
CAR, NYG: 37
Those numbers are impressive, but protecting Ben Roethlisberger might be the most important facet of every game the Steelers play. Good news for the Pittsburgh faithful, the offensive line has been doing more than enough to keep No. 7 off the ground.
During the Steelers’ most recent three game winning streak, the offensive line has surrendered just one sack, and two quarterback hits. These are wins over the Falcons, Bengals and Browns during that stretch, and some of those teams sport some very aggressive defenses.
Just any defense wants to at least hit the QB, the Steelers rank in the Top 3, through Week 8, in regards to QB Hits allowed. Their 25 allowed trails only the Lions and Saints above them.
TOTAL QUARTERBACK HITS ALLOWED (Through Week 8)— Johnny Kinsley (@Brickwallblitz) October 30, 2018
CAR, CIN: 28
LAC, TEN: 31
NE, OAK, WAS: 36
BAL, MIA: 38
ATL, DEN: 54
MIN, NYG: 59
What does this all mean? Simple. The Steelers’ goals of getting to the QB, and protecting their own, have been put into practice and it has equated in winning more football games.
This will be a weekly struggle on both sides of the ball, but if they continue to win the battle in the trenches there is no doubt they will be on their way to not only a winning season, but a third straight AFC North division title and punching their ticket to the postseason.