Where O' Where Could The Defensive Pass Rush Be: Breaking Down Quarterback Sacks and Hits

CINCINNATI - SEPTEMBER 19: Michael Johnson #93 and Geno Atkins #97 of the Cincinatti Bengals sack quarterback Joe Flacco #5 of the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium on September 19 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Bengals beat the Ravens 15-10. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

We spoke recently about the Bengals offensive line, during a post that talks about Andre Smith's path towards being more than a serviceable backup in the team's starting lineup. Hopefully, at least.

That being said, Cincinnati's pass rush is another area of concern. I would say that they're struggling, but sometimes they appear nonexistent.

However, just sacking the quarterback isn't the complete definition of a pass rush. For example, the most memorable this year is the constant pass rush on Baltimore's Joe Flacco, hitting the quarterback seven times, sacking him once, all in an effort to successfully cause enough of a panic that he'd make inadvisable throws which eventually led to four interceptions in the game. Guys like Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson, Robert Geathers, Rey Maualuga were just the front seven that rattled Flacco during the game.

Comparatively speaking, Carson Palmer is hit during an NFL game on average over six times. The Bengals defense is only averaging 4.5 hits on a quarterback per game.

Opponent Sacks Quarterback Hits
@ New England 0 2
Baltimore 1 8
@ Carolina 1 5
@ Cleveland 1 3

Much like he was in the preseason, Geno Atkins is probably the team's most productive pass rusher right now, having hit the opposing quarterback a team-high three times, while Frostee Rucker, second-most hits on the quarterback, is also the only defensive player on the front seven to actually register a full sack.

Opponent Sacks Quarterback Hits
Geno Atkins 0.5 3
Frostee Rucker 1 2
Chinedum Ndukwe 0 2
Pat Sims 0 2
Robert Geathers 0 2
Keith Rivers 1 1
Michael Johnson 0.5 1
Rey Maualuga 0 1
Tank Johnson 0 1
Leon Hall 0 1
Chris Crocker 0 1
Domata Peko 0 1
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