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The six sacks against Pittsburgh

The six sacks Sunday against the Steelers surprised me. I've claimed, for the past two season, that Cincinnati has the best offensive line in the league. Injury is taking its toll and you've seen that in the past two games. Since Rich Braham was carted off the field against Cleveland, the Bengals offensive line has allowed 10 sacks (11 all season). I'm not here to tell you that one player played poorly. I'm not here to tell you that youth created miscommunication. I'm just here to show you what I saw.

Sorry for the poor drawings, but I did the best I could -- for you, my people -- with the crappy software I have.

Sack #1. 3rd-7-Cin40.

After reviewing this play, I think the Steelers did a great job with execution. Ike Taylor, very late in the snap count, began prowling to the line of scrimmage. As soon as the ball was snapped, Taylor came blitzing. Troy P. went inside taking on Willie Anderson while Haggins went around the outside. Haggins was picked up by Reggie Kelly with a little help from the running back. Taylor came, unblocked, and forced Palmer to duck taking his eyes off his receivers. In that time, Haggins worked himself off Kelly and slapped the ball out of Palmer's hands.

Taylor's disguise, I think created this sack. If it wasn't for him coming unblocked forcing Palmer to shake a brief second, the pass may have already been off. It was five seconds before Taylor got to Palmer so this could have very easily been written down as a coverage sack.

Sack #2. 1st-10-CIN48

This is an instance where a young center just didn't account for a blitzing linebacker. The guy that lined up over Eric Ghiaciuc (I think #76) went on a stunt that was picked up by Bobbie Williams. As Eric Ghiaciuc was watching that, Larry Foote, like a flash of bright light, ran right past Ghiaciuc and sacked Palmer.

Ghiaciuc ended up not blocking anyone on the play. He was looking at the defensive linemen and perhaps expected one of the guards to pick up Foote; if he even accounted for him.

Sack #3. 3-3-PITT 22

This was just another great Dick LeBeau call (give credit where it's due). Townsend started sneaking up to show blitz. At the snap #51 and #53 blitzed while Townsend came a brief second later. Willie Anderson picked up the end while Bobbie Williams blocked inside. The running back picked up another blitzing linebacker and Townsend came free. LeBeau just overloaded one side and Townsend came free for the sack -- and fumble.

Sack #4. 1-10-CIN 21

This sack I call "ownage". Big Hampton (#98) was lined up on Ghiaciuc and #91 was lined up on Big Willie Anderson. At the snap, #98 took all his weight and drove Ghiaciuc back five yards. At the fifth yard, #98 lunged at Palmer. Carson avoided the initial hit but #91 finished him off. Willie looked bad on this one. #91, at the snap, sprinted up field, stopped, and took a lateral line towards Palmer. Willie, when #91 turned laterally, had lost his balance and couldn't recover enough to take him anymore.

Sack #5. 1-10-CIN 31

Haggins just out-ran Willie around the edge. This was the play that Levi had come out because he was rolled up from behind.

Sack #6. 3-10-CIN 32

At the snap, #99 took on Eric Steinbach and drove him back a good five yards. Joey Porter, on Levi Jones, took an inside step thinking Jones would be looking or leaning to the outside. Jones would have none of it. He buried Porter into the ground. Yes, that's good. But it took away Palmer's pocket and forced him to step out to the left where #99 had taken Steinbach.

In conclusion..
I don't think one or two players can be blamed for this. It was a collective effort of bad play by the offensive linemen with great play-calling by Pittsburgh's defensive coordinator.

I just hope this sack thing stops... soon. Like now.