The Pittsburgh Steelers needed six sacks this afternoon to set a new franchise record for the most in their history. They got six, giving them 56 for the season, one more than they have had in any other season since sacks became an official statistic beginning in 1982. They had twice recorded 55 sacks in 1994 and 2001.
The six sacks came from five different players, with free-agent addition Tyson Alualu, starting in place of Cameron Heyward, leading the way with two sacks. That brought his season total up to four on the year as a reserve, which actually established a new career-high for the eighth-year former first-round draft pick.
Alualu was far from being left out on his own, however, as a trio of linebackers and a defensive back joined the party. T.J. Watt recorded his seventh sack of the season, which is the second-most by a rookie in team history behind only the nine that Kendrell Bell recorded in 2001. Nobody else had more than four.
Vince Williams, who replaced Lawrence Timmons at the buck linebacker spot, recorded his eighth sack of the season, the third-most by an inside linebacker in a season in team history, behind Bell’s nine in 2001 and Chad Brown’s eight and a half, back in 1994.
Those years may sound familiar to you if you had been reading along the entire time. Brown’s numbers in 1994 and Bell’s in 2001 coincide with the previous two seasons in which the team recorded 55 sacks. With 56 this year, the team has gotten at least eight sacks from an inside linebacker in each of the three seasons in which they recorded as least that many.
Williams was not alone, however, as rotational reserve L.J. Fort also recorded his first sack of the season, the sack that gave them 55 (Alualu’s second gave them 56). It was the second sack of his career, and the first since his rookie season—in his first game—with the Browns in 2012.
Finally, second-year safety Sean Davis, who recorded a sack and a half during his rookie season, recorded his first of the year in the finale, rounding out the Steelers’ total for the game up to six. He also recorded his third interception of the season, tying Ryan Shazier for the team lead.
Today’s game was the 18th time since 2010 in which the Steelers have recorded at least five sacks in a game during the regular season. Seven of those games have now come against the Browns. Six of the 10 games since then in which they have had six or more sacks have come against the Browns.
Over the course of the past two seasons, the Steelers have recorded 25 sacks against the Browns over the span of four games. With six today and seven in the season opener, they have sacked DeShone Kizer 13 times. They also recorded eight sacks against Cody Kessler and Josh McCown, and then four against Robert Griffin III, a year ago.