Sacks are overrated.
Anyone who truly watches and understands football knows that. While sacking opposing quarterbacks is the best way to ensure the offense fails on that particular play, you can also cause offensive failures by simply pressuring and/or hitting the QB.
That's something the Bengals were better at doing this year, but most box scores only show how many sacks they had, which was an NFL-low 20. While that number does need to rise, it also doesn't tell the whole story, as Marvin Lewis told the Cincinnati Enquirer.
"The pass rush is overrated by what people are saying," Lewis said. "If you look at the number of pressures, completion percentage is down, interceptions are up. Those are things that are important. Sacks don't win games. You can have 50 sacks every year, it has never equated to championship teams. Not once.
"The key element is that you disrupt a quarterback to win a game. For that, yes, we have to get to get better. We have to be more disruptive. When people are protecting with six and seven guys, you're not going to get the QB."
Though sacks don't tell the whole story, the Bengals pass rush was bad in just about every aspect. They finished with Pro Football Focus' worst pass-rushing grade by a wide margin. Their -53.1 grade was nearly 32 points worse than the next worst team in Tampa Bay.
If Cincinnati's defense is going to improve next season, it starts and ends with the pass rush.