Oh, how the times have changed. A month ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers sat at 4-5 with a putrid 13 sacks in 9 games. The mob of crazed fans, upset about the abduction of ‘Blitzburgh, stood outside Heinz Field demanding the head of defensive coordinator Keith Butler. Okay, maybe it did not happen exactly like that, but the disappearance of Pittsburgh’s pass rush aggravated many.
Now, exactly a month to the day of that crushing defeat to the Dallas Cowboys, the Steelers have buried those distant memories by accumulating 18 sacks in the last 4 games. From being the bottom dwellers of the league in the pass rush category at one point, the Steelers are now creeping up on the Top 10 as their 31 sacks total 11th overall in the NFL. The Top 20 may not be able to keep the Steelers out for much longer.
This Sunday, the Steelers go up against the Cincinnati Bengals and their 28th ranked offensive line. The Bengals have allowed 36 sacks this season, the 5th most in the NFL. The Bengals may learn very soon that over the last month the Steelers defense has had a particular craving for bad offensive lines. Just take a look at how the Steelers have treated bad offensive lines in the past month.
When the Bengals traveled to Pittsburgh earlier this season, they left mostly unscathed, only suffering one sack at the hands of linebacker Arthur Moats. But much has changed since that early meeting, the Bengals offensive line will be up against a revamped – in form Steelers defense.
The Steelers are blitzing more frequently and as seen in Sunday’s matchup against the Buffalo Bills, the Steelers are relying on their top pass rushers more. James Harrison and Bud Dupree played almost all the defensive snaps at outside linebacker, leaving the likes of Anthony Chickillo, Jarvis Jones and Moats in linebacker purgatory.
This spells trouble for the Bengals offensive line who are scheduled to be the next victim in the Steelers’ offensive line eating spree.