Pennsylvania coins the "Blitz Me" state; depression for Bengals pass protections

Now we can say that the Bengals offense has faced opponents ranked into the top-six, relative to quarterback sacks. Against the state of Pennsylvania, the Bengals have allowed 15 quarterback sacks (7.5 per game). Against the state of New Jersey, the Bengals have allowed 11 sacks (5.5 per game). The average sacks allowed when the Bengals faced the league's best defensive sack teams (again, top-six) is 4.8 sacks allowed-per-game.

  Season Game
Philadelphia Eagles 36 8
Pittsburgh Steelers 36 7
NY Jets 34 5
NY Giants 31 6
Dallas Cowboys 29 2
Tennessee Titans 28 1

The Bengals visit Pittsburgh Thursday night and figure to have that average seriously challenged, if the Bengals can't stop the Blitzburgh (not named Michael) defense, which would be like believing that Area-51 doesn't exist; even though the Bengals went through a three-game stretch of only allowing one sack in both 2007 meetings and game #2 of the 2006 series. Aside from a six-sack performance on September 24, 2006, the Bengals have lost every game during the Marvin Lewis era in which they've allowed multiple sacks; not that it means anything considering the Bengals are 2-4 since 2003 against the Steelers allowing only one sack or less.

Game Sacks Allowed Result
Steelers (10/19/2008) 7 L 10-38
@ Steelers (12/2/2007) 1 L 10-24
Steelers (10/28/2007) 0 L 13-24
Steelers (12/31/2006) 0 L 17-23 OT
@ Steelers (9/24/2006) 6 W 28-20
@ Steelers (12/4/2005) 1 W 38-31
Steelers (10/23/2005) 2 L 13-27
Steelers (11/21/2004) 3 L 14-19
@ Steelers (10/3/2004) 1 L 17-28
@ Steelers (11/30/2003) 1 W 24-20
Steelers (9/21/2003) 4 L 10-17

It shouldn't be all doom and gloom this Thursday. Of those seven sacks we allowed against the Steelers on October 19, only one came from an offensive lineman (Stacy Andrews), giving an idealistic edge of misguided (and misplaced) hope that the Bengals can neutralize the Steelers blitzing schemes. How well we protect Ryan Fitzpatrick comes is answered by how well Kenny Watson, Daniel Coats and Reggie Kelly pick up the blitz. Though considering the state of "injury" with our offensive line, it might not matter.

Of the 38 sacks allowed through the season, 29 came against the league's top-six defenses; that's 2.25 sacks-per-game, a decrease of 2.6 sacks.

Looking past Thursday's game against the Steelers, the Bengals schedule eases up big-time against some of the worst defenses relative to the quarterback sack.

Team Rank Sacks
Baltimore Ravens 14th 20
Indianapolis Colts 28th 14
Washington Redskins 27th 15
Cleveland Browns 28th 14
Kansas City Chiefs 32nd 6

Now maybe we'll see a 40-yard pass.

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