On paper, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ offensive line showed improvement in Sunday’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. They ran the ball better than they have the entire season and allowed fewer pressures on Ben Roethlisberger. He was hit only five times, a much better number than the Raiders (9) or Bengals (7) performances. But the standard is set high in the Steelers’ locker room and for Kendrick Green, five still isn’t an acceptable number.
“We still think five is too many,” Green told reporters Wednesday afternoon. “Five is five too many. So we’re gonna keep building in the passing game as well.”
For the season, Roethlisberger has been hitting a whopping 27 times a number far greater than where it should be for a 39-year old quarterback. He’s been sacked ten times after being dropped just 13 times a season ago. It’s possible he ties or passes that mark in Sunday’s contest against the Denver Broncos who enter the game with 11 sacks, tied for the fourth most in the AFC.
The hits Roethlisberger’s taken this year have already begun to add up. Through the first four games, he’s dealt with pectoral and hip injuries, plus the general soreness from a nearly 40-year old who has been hammered far too often this year. The Steelers haven’t allowed double-digit sacks over the first four games since 2015 when their quarterbacks (Roethlisberger and Mike Vick) were dropped 12 times over that span.
For this offensive line, there isn’t much use in dwelling on the past. Their goal is to show improvement every single week. And the numbers say they are.
“I guess we’re still taking steps in the right direction. Just trying to really minimize, keep guys off of our guys. That’s our job.”
The Broncos’ pass rush is led by EDGE rusher Von Miller, still showing young legs after missing last season. He leads the team with 4.5 sacks this season. Denver’s capable of sending anyone after the quarterback too. Rookie safety Caden Sterns is tied for second on the team with a pair of sacks. Both came in Week 4’s loss to the Baltimore Ravens.