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Dink & Dunk Steelers Offense? Why Not Call It The Upright Offense Instead?


Many like to call the new offense of the Pittsburgh Steelers a “dink and dunk” one, but perhaps a better name for it would be an “upright” offense. Upright because that is exactly what quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has been for a good part of this season.

Through the first 7 games of the season Roethlisberger has been sacked only 13 times. He is on pace to be sacked 30 times in total and that would easily be a career low for him outside of his rookie season when he was sacked 23 times after taking over for the injured Tommy Maddox.

The Steelers as a team have been sacked 14 times this season and even that equates to a season number that has not been seen since 2005, Roethlisberger\’s second year in the league.

When you look at Steelers sacks per drop back stats dating back to 2000, you can see the true pace that the new “upright” offense is on. Through the first 7 games the rate is 1 sack per every 20.6 drop backs (sacks+attempts+scrambles). That pace, if continued, would easily be the best of the years I pulled for this post.

Have the changes come at the expense of the deep pass attempts? Sure, but the explosive plays in the passing game still exist as the offense has registered 24 of them so far. Should that pace also continue they will put up 55 of them, which is not a bad total at all, and only 9 short of what they posted in 2009, a season that ended with them not making the playoffs. A season that saw a Steelers quarterback sacked a whopping 50 times.

Call the offense whatever you want to call it moving forward. The media loves the “dink and dunk” term as it helps them try to create friction between Roethlisberger and offensive coordinator Todd Haley. At least it is “working” and that is the what matters the most.

YEAR SACKS SCK/YDS ATT SCRAM SCK/DB 20+
2000 43 220 439 23 11.7 37
2001 31 182 454 22 16.4 49
2002 34 204 551 14 17.6 51
2003 42 244 532 5 13.8 46
2004 36 250 358 23 11.6 47
2005 32 178 379 10 13.2 44
2006 49 293 523 16 12.0 49
2007 47 347 442 22 10.9 43
2008 49 306 506 18 11.7 39
2009 50 348 536 10 11.9 64
2010 43 289 479 19 12.6 62
2011 42 279 539 15 14.2 60
2012 14 79 269 5 20.6 24

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • Cols714

    Because it is a dink and dunk offense. And so far it’s been pretty effective. Although I do really miss the big plays to the WRs of the Bruce Arians era. Maybe we need to combine Haley and Arians into one OC.

  • Jim

    dink and dunk… how about ball control? why does no one see that? theyre trying to minimize the time the defense is on the field. weak defense and a fast scoring offense is the recipe of the colts all thru the 00′s, it got them 1 super bowl with the best QB to probly ever play the game.

    our dink and dunk offense is helping make other offenses more one dimensional. the steelers have the play makers to score quickly, and they will on occasion but theyll be a better TEAM if Ben, and wallace buy in and start dinking and dunking all the way down the field. its worked for the patriots the past 3 years. i think we have better playmakers on O and a better D than they had. i couldnt be more excited about what I’m seeing. I thought this was a lost season and now I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    When I look at that sack number (14, and if I understand one was actually on Sanders on Sunday) I think about other things….the number of hits Ben takes. Ben used to scramble around and make stuff happen, and he still can when he needs to, but it isn’t typical any more. His body will be happy about that.

  • SteelerFanInMD

    I didn’t like the dink and dunk at first, but I am beginning to see the advantage. Ben is healthy and that keeps the Steelers a threat to get to the Superbowl. The fast receivers aren’t getting big plays that they were getting before, but the team is still getting over 200 yards passing each game. More receivers seem to be involved now, making it harder for defenses to key on any one. Isn’t this is the same type of passing offense that the Patriots are running with Brady throwing those short completions to Wes Welker? They had plenty of success with it and so can the Steelers.

  • Brendon Glad

    I think the offense looks great. I love the way Haley calls a game. I also saw a state of note last night. Big Ben is NOT in the top 5 for pass plays made under duress or with a hit. I can’t recall that happening much at all.

  • Steve Duncan

    They aren’t all that fewer big plays, and they are translating into more points. Is it less exciting? Yes. Is it better football? Yes.

  • Chris92021

    We control the ball, we control the clock, the offense stays on the field, the defense stays on the sidelines…we are all winners. I seriously doubt Big Ben has a problem with the offense…he probably has a problem with his golf buddy being jettisoned to Indy. Oh well. That golf buddy was gonna get Big Ben killed. This offense will better ensure one, the Steelers win and two, Big Ben actually remembers that the Steelers win.

  • PA2AK

    Offense looks 10X better than the D. Problem is we don’t seem to have a 2-minute offense right now. When, not if, the D lets another team back in the game, we have a hard time playing catch-up when needed. Ben is one of the best in those situations, but if the offensive scheme isn’t accommodating…it’s not going to happen with a great probability of success. I like the dink & dunk…mainly because it works in most situations. I still think it is short sighted to not use the best weapon on the team…Ben at QB. He has so many weapons to get rid of the ball to. It should be opened up. Need balance in the run/pass area, but you also need a balance of ball control/explosive plays in the passing game. Don’t misconstrue this for wanting Arians back….that was an early Christmas present for me.

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