While much of the attention today will be on the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers enter this game riding a 68-game sack streak, and have the opportunity to tie the all-time record set by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1999 to 2003—which head coach Mike Tomlin was a part of—an equally compelling streak is taking place on the other side of the ball.
For the first time in franchise history, the Steelers have not allowed a single sack in four consecutive games, and have allowed the fewest sacks of all teams so far in 2020. Considering that they lead the league in sacks defensively, perhaps their defensive counterparts give them a lot of good work in practice.
But Pittsburgh will have its biggest challenge so far during this streak, and perhaps of the entire season, as today, they are hosting the Washington Football Team, who come into the game tied for the second-most sacks in the NFL. the Steelers have 41 of their own. Washington has 36.
“I never want to disrespect anyone that we play, but arguably these guys they’re rushing four guys”, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said of Washington. “Every once in a while, they will bring five, but they put their stock and their money and their picks in their four down guys. They’re some really good and really talented guys and maybe, arguably, the four best in terms collectively”.
“Who knows? You’ll have to ask the linemen”, he added. “They’re the ones blocking them, but my guys up front have done a great job this year so far, especially the last few games of protecting me. I’m always thankful for that. I’m going to have to look into expanding my Christmas gift ideas”.
Roethlisberger has only been sacked 10 times this entire season. The fewest sacks that he has had in anything even coming close to a full season was in 2010, when he was sacked 20 times over 12 games played. Unless he is sacked 10 times today, he will make it through 12 games this year being brought down less often.
He is only being sacked on 2.3 percent of his dropbacks in 2020. Not only is that the best mark in his entire career by nearly a full percentage point, it is also the best rate in the league. The only other quarterbacks who are being sacked on fewer than three percent of their dropbacks are Philip Rivers (2.5%) and Aaron Rodgers (2.8%).
The Steelers still have to face three more teams over their last five games who are currently in the top five in sacks this year, so they have their work cut out for them to get to the finish line with a clean quarterback, but so far, they have been more than up to the task.