It would just be easy to point out that the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line has given up the second fewest amount of sacks this season and end it there, but that would miss a great deal of their true proficiency. With an offensive line that is equipped with both players playing in their prime and players coming into their prime, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is finding himself in the grasps of defensive lineman less than ever.
Roethlisberger has only been sacked 14 times this season but is also only averaging 37.3 pass attempts per game, his lowest total since the 2013 season. To get a better perspective on how often Roethlisberger is going down compared to pass attempts, sack percentage is a better benchmark to use. It is when you take a look at Roethlisberger’s sack percentage that you notice that his 2016 sack percentage of 3.6 per cent is a career low.
Thanks to his offensive line, Roethlisberger is going down on just 3.6 per cent of his drop backs, a career best and good for 5th lowest in the NFL this season. This career low is just another stop on the drastic three-year decline on Roethlisberger’s sack percentages, a testament to just how well the Steelers have invested in their offensive line over the years.
Pro Football Focus is another believer in how well the Steelers offensive line has performed this season, as the lowest mark by a Steelers lineman is 74.0 by tackle Alejandro Villanueva. Not a bad grade by any means, Villanueva’s is just the byproduct of playing alongside four other All-Pro caliber linemen.
Come season’s end, it will be increasingly likely that the Steelers MVP is awarded to one of Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown or Le’Veon Bell, but if the line’s stellar play continues, a second consideration should be given to the group who protect the multi-million dollar investments.