I saw in another post that someone had broken down the sacks and attributed some of them to crowd noise forcing the O-Line to watch the ball and miss blocking reassignments. I'm not going to be able to address that here, but I thought it would be fun to analyze those 9 (actually 10, since we had 1 sack nullified by penalty) sacks. The Steeler O-Line of LT Smith, LG Faneca, C Hartings, RG Simmons, and RT Starks was in for each of the sacks (happy film study, guys), and I have noted only additional blockers by uniform number as a shorthand. When referring to the 5 linemen, I'll refer by position. The first line of each is in the format [Quarter, time remaining, down/distance, loss on play, (sackers), approximate elapsed time by my count]. Here is my analysis, by play:
1 1:18 2/8 -11 (JJ, Scott) 3 sec
Rushers: Scott, Johnson, Landry, Lewis, Pryce
Dropped from the line into Zone Coverage: AD, Suggs
Blockers: LT (whiffed on Johnson, became observer), LG Landry, C Lewis, RG and RT Pryce, 39 (whiffed on Scott)
Description: LT Smith expected Suggs to rush and set up to block him. As TSizz dropped into coverage, Johnson was by him. Scott was in a mismatch with Parker, a familiar tune for the day. Result was a fast-developing shared sack.
2 10:02 1/10 -9 (Suggs) 4.5 sec
Rushers: Gregg, Ngata, Suggs, Landry, Pryce
Zone Cov: AD
Blockers: LT and LG Ngata, C Gregg, RG and RT Pryce, 39 Landry, 35 Suggs
Description: Ngata and Pryce each absorbed a double-team, Suggs beat the mismatch on FB Kredier to register a sack that took some time to develop.
2 3:31 2/8 -8 (Scott) 3.5 sec
Rushers: Scott, Pryce, Johnson, Landry (delayed), Lewis (delayed)
ZC: AD (after touch, seebelow), Suggs, Ivy
Blockers: LT Johnson, LG Lewis, C Landry, RG Pryce, RT AD then Pryce
Description: AD put his hands on the RT, then dropped into coverage. RT was confused, then blocked inside on Pryce. Scott blew by this confusion untouched to record the sack we will all remember from this game.
3 4:58 3/5 -13 (Ivy) 3 sec
Rushers: Ivy, Pryce, Suggs, AD, Sapp
Blockers: LT (went for Johnson, then whiffed on Ivy), LG and C Pryce, RG Suggs, RT AD, 39 Sapp
Desc: LT bit on Johnson, who stepped first towards the LT/LG gap, then dropped into coverage. By the time LT turned, Ivy was by. Roth pump faked, then as he recocked, Ivy dislodged the ball and AD returned 57 yards for the TD.
3 3:35 1/10 -10 (Pryce) 4.5 sec
Rushers: Johnson, AD, Pryce, Suggs, Lewis, Landry
Blockers: LT Johnson, LG Pryce, C Landry, RG AD, RT Suggs
Desc: Lewis came unblocked as the Ravens enjoyed their only sack with a numerical advantage of rushers over blockers. Lewis missed at about 3.5 sec, but Roth did not have time to reset after the dodge and Pryce cleaned up.
4 13:33 1/10 -3 (Thomas, JJ) 4.5 sec
Rushers: Johnson, Ngata, Suggs, Thomas
Blockers: RT and 85(WR) Johnson, RG and C Ngata, LG Suggs, LT and 39 AD
Desc: 2 double-teamed players share a slow-developing coverage sack vs. a max protect package. Simple 4 man rush with 7 left to cover 3. IMO, Thomas deserved the entire sack.
7N. (Nullified by Penalty)
4 12:17 3/10 -5 (Suggs) 4 sec
Rushers: Suggs, AD, Thomas, Ngata
Blockers: RT Suggs, RG AD, C and LG Ngata, LT and 85 Johnson, 44 (are the purple guys the ones I am supposed to block?--seemingly disinterested spectator)
Desc: Another 4 on 7 sack called back by penalty. Suggs beat the RT outside on speed rush.
4 11:54 1/10 -8 (Lewis) 4 sec
Rushers: Sapp, Suggs, Johnson, Ngata, Landry, Lewis (delayed)
Blockers: RT Suggs, RG and C Ngata, LG Johnson, LT Landry, 39 Sapp, 83 (slipped out for a pass)
Desc: Lewis delayed pressure up the middle capitalized on the Ngata double-team. Sapp's leap caused Roth to delay.
4 10:49 4/10 -4 (Suggs) 6 sec
Rushers: Suggs, Pryce, AD, Johnson
Blockers: RT Suggs, RG Pryce, C and LG looked at AD who did not really rush, LT Johnson, 39 (went to wrong side on Suggs in attempt to chip)
Desc: Parker allowed Suggs to slip offboth blocks back through the pocket to contain (with AD) Roth. Roth went down without a hit after a short scramble, and the sack was credited to Suggs. Coverage sack all the way.
4 1:44 3/10 -7 (Pryce) 4.5 sec
Rushers: AD, Suggs, Pryce, Johnson
Blockers: LT Johnson, LG (observer, wanted to see the "big picture" before committing to a block), C Pryce, RG Suggs, RT (watched AD, who did not rush hard)
Desc: Another plain vanilla 4-man rush beats 6 blockers this time. As you can see from the above, Pryce took a lot of double teams in this game, but he made good on this single.
Wow, that was a ton of fun to watch again. The Ravens pressured the Steelers with deception (false steps and touches before dropping into zone coverage), numbers (just once), delayed pressure, and mismatches vs. all 3 running backs. They had 4 coverage sacks (3 plus 1 nullified) with simple 4-man rushes (now that is remarkable for 1 game). They registered 4 sacks with 5 rushing, and 2 with 6 rushing. If you could sack for the cycle, the Ravens did it in this game.
If you are one of our upcoming opponents, how do you game plan against a team that can create pressure in so many different ways?