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.