On Sunday, the Cincinnati Bengals did something we’ve all been hoping to see: They didn’t allow Joe Burrow to be sacked one time for an entire game.
The cherry on top, of course, is it coming in an impressive win over arch-rival Pittsburgh at Heinz Field. The line looked comfortable, cohesive and save for a few miscues, played the best line we’ve seen from a Bengals front five in quite some time.
The Steelers being without T.J. Watt certainly helped, but the starting unit deserves a great amount of praise for the performance.
The performance snaps the Steeler’s streak of 75 straight games with at least one sack. That’s right, a long-standing streak in the Bengals-Steelers rivalry was snapped today, and it was actually in favor of the guys in stripes. The vaunted Steelers defense went without a sack for the first time since Week 7 of the 2016 season.
First game the Steelers went without a sack in 75 games.— Drew Garrison (@Drew_LRT) September 26, 2021
Shoutout to the offensive line! #Bengals
It wasn’t perfect, as we saw Trey Hopkins struggle a bit in the interior as he rounds back into shape. There were a few times where Burrow had to escape a collapsing pocket, but compared to the first two weeks, we saw vastly improved protection and plenty to look forward to heading in to the Thursday Night Football matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
A player we’ve all had our eye on this season, Jonah Williams, spoke to the media about how they had such a successful day. One of the things he mentions that jumps out is that even though the line played well, Burrow seems to be getting the ball out of his hands quicker. His pocket presence was noticeably improved from last week.
In his first career start, rookie Jackson Carman looked like a guy you draft in the second round. After a rough start to training camp with conditioning, Carman took his opportunity and ran with it. On the day, he allowed zero sacks and zero pressures against an injured but still strong Pittsburgh defensive line.
The rookie drew strong praise from his quarterback in the postgame press conference:
A huge road win, a great showing from the future of the right guard position and a happy No. 9 are all things you love to see leaving Pittsburgh and heading home for a short week.