Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
The Cincinnati Bengals offensive line and even Andy Dalton himself have been part of a problem that's led to poor pass protection.
It wasn't a good game for the offensive line.
It wasn't a good game pass protecting for the offensive line. After all the Bengals rushing offense generated 157 yards, the fifth straight game with 125 yards or more rushing as a team and the fourth 100-yard performance in five games for BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Against the Cowboys and Eagles combined, Andy Dalton has been sacked 11 times, including six against the Philadelphia Eagles, tying a season-high against the Cleveland Browns from Week Two. We've been careful all season drawing a line between pass protection issues and Andy Dalton's anxiety, who tends to abandon a stable pocket when the alarm clock goes off in his head, ironically scrambling directly into pressure. But against the Eagles, it was on the offensive line.
"I think the line was very frustrated in the first half because we missed some of our assignments with blocking," said Kevin Zeitler. "The Eagles have some very talented pass rushers and they had us really frustrated. We gave up some sacks and we need to improve on our play, but we did come out and play better in the second half. I think the Eagles have a new defensive line coach and he did some things we had not seen on film and we had to adjust."
Andre Smith (3) and Clint Boling (2) deserve the lion's share of the blame, allowing a combined five quarterback sacks and seven additional pressures against the Eagles. Andrew Whitworth also generated an allowed sack.
"We just need to watch some film and see where we made many of our mistakes in the first half and just make the necessary changes before playing Pittsburgh," said Zeitler. "The Eagles really came out in the beginning of the game with a ton of energy and it paid off for them. [DE Brandon] Graham was very quick and posed some problems for us. Also [DT Cullen] Jenkins threw about every tactical move on us and many of them worked and he brought a ton of pressure on our quarterback much of the game."
That obviously doesn't help with Dalton's anxiety issues. Pro Football Focus recorded 15 total pressures during 36 of Dalton's drop backs against the Eagles, including the six quarterback sacks. During those pressures, Dalton only completed one of six passes for eight yards.
More pressure means more anxiety, a quicker alarm clock that abandons passing progressions. None of which doesn't bode well against Pittsburgh next week.