Sack Breakdown: Steelers Vs Bengals

Breaking down the pair of sacks the Pittsburgh Steelers allowed in their Week 11 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. It sure beats the six they had been giving up. So that’s something.

1. 3rd and 12, 13:13 4th. 11 personnel. Five block vs four man rush.

One of those heavy/Cover 0 blitz looks the Bengals have increasingly run, putting a ton of stress on offenses like the Steelers. Same look here, Cincinnati with players in every single gap. Kenny Pickett motions RB Najee Harris out to – I assume – try to displace one of those guys on the line of scrimmage.

But with that and still one more potential rusher than what the team has blocking, now just the five o-linemen, this means the throw has to be “hot.” The protection isn’t “safe” in that they have enough blockers to pick up all the potential threats. Here’s how it looks pre-snap. The unblocked man is LDE Sam Hubbard and he is the free rusher on the play. Pickett knows this.

On the snap, Pickett takes an awkward-looking seven step drop out of the gun, pretty uncommon. This also hurts LT Dan Moore with the RDE having a better/easier angle to rush the quarterback.

As you’ll see below, the reason why I think Pickett took an awkward and deep drop was him knowing Hubbard would be rushing. You’ll also see Pickett slide to his left a bit, also showing he knows the rush that’s about to come. He’s looking to throw hot but with the Bengals dropping out and only rushing four, bailing their interior rushers to cover up and take away the interior/hot options, forces Pickett to hold the ball. By now, the rush converges and Pickett goes down.

A nice defensive wrinkle by the Bengals and being in 3rd and 12 always gives them the advantage. Now, Moore’s technique could be better and his hands are a bit high and he doesn’t make good contact. Pickett’s drop doesn’t help so this one is a little tricky to assign blame. I’ll put half on Moore and half on the really good scheme from the Bengals that I feared prior to this game.

Blame: Half on Moore, half on Defensive Scheme

2. 1st and 10, 3:13 4th. 11 personnel. Five block vs three man rush + spy

End of game stuff here. Two-deep look, the Bengals getting depth and carrying/matching everything vertical. Nothing there for Pickett. LT Dan Moore gets walked back by Trey Hendrickson, he still has an issue with power/bull rushes, and it forces Pickett to climb. LG Kevin Dotson continues to struggle while uncovered. He does look for work here, something I got on him for last week, but he also sees #94 Sam Hubbard dropping right in front of him. With no other immediate threats, Dotson really had no work to find and Hubbard ends up rushing in as Pickett climbs to clean this one up.

I know this may sound hypocritical but Dotson never even makes contact with anyone else so it’s not like he really even helped. And the man he saw loop over chips in on the sack. Dotson just struggles to make the right decision when he’s uncovered and I’ll put half on him while putting the other half on Moore for poor hand use/punch to rebuff the bull rush.

Blame: Half on Moore, half on Dotson

Sack Breakdown (Game)

Dan Moore: 1.0
Kevin Dotson: 0.5
Defensive Scheme: 0.5


Kenny Pickett: 6.5
Mitch Trubisky: 4.0
Kevin Dotson: 3.5
Dan Moore Jr.: 3.5
Scheme/Defensive Coverage: 3.5
Chukwuma Okorafor: 2.5
Matt Canada: 2.0
Mason Cole: 1.5
Najee Harris: 1.0
Pat Meyer: 1.0
James Daniels: 0.0

Penalty Breakdown (Game)

Dan Moore: 1
J.C. Hasseanuer: 1


Kevin Dotson: 7
Dan Moore Jr.: 7
James Daniels: 3
Chukwuma Okorafor: 3
J.C. Hassenauer: 1

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