While all sacks are created equal in a game book or on a stat sheet, not all of them really are when you look at why and how each one happened. Throughout the offseason I plan on looking at each of 51 sacks the Pittsburgh Steelers defense registered during the 2018 regular season and attempt to contextualize each of them. This process should help identify which defensive players earned their sacks more than others.
We’ll now move this series along by looking at and contextualizing the one sack that Steelers inside linebacker L.J. Fort registered during the 2018 season.
Sack #1 – Week 5 vs. Falcons – 1Q – 3-6-PIT 38 – (5:58) (Shotgun) M.Ryan sacked at PIT 45 for -7 yards (L.Fort). – TIME 3.01
Later in the first quarter of the Steelers Week 5 home game against the Atlanta Falcons, Fort rushed through the c-gap via a green dog blitz and quickly sacked turtling quarterback Matt Ryan on a third and 6 play. The Falcons pass protection was slid to the offenses’ right on this play that resulted in five linemen on three Steelers pass rushers. The Falcons tight end Logan Paulsen blocked Steelers outside linebacker Bud Dupree on the opposite side and curiously enough, so did running back Tevin Coleman. With both Paulsen and Coleman staying in to pass protect, that gave Fort and Steelers defensive back Cameron Sutton the green light to go after Ryan through the open gap. Coleman was late to recover and Fort easily went by the running back for the easy sack of Ryan.
Summary: This was the one and only sack that Fort had during the 2018 season and it was essentially a gimme and a result of poor scheme/assignment performance by the Falcons offense. This play started off with four Steelers rushers against seven Falcons pass protectors and quickly ended with a 3-second sack. That simply should not have happened.
Contextualizing The Steelers 2018 Sack Production: DT Daniel McCullers