Steelers Versus Vikings Sack Breakdown

By Alex Kozora

Sack breakdown of all five sacks allowed by the Pittsburgh Steelers versus the Minnesota Vikings.


1. 2nd and 10, 11:47 2nd. 12 personnel. Five blocking vs a four man rush. Simple breakdown here. Bad first punch from Mike Adams working against Jared Allen. Not strong enough and Allen, who isn’t square and doesn’t let the left tackle to get into his chest, blows through.


Adams follows that up by doubling over and bringing his head down. Bad case of flatback.


The Viking end drags Ben Roethlisberger down from behind for his first career sack of Big Ben.

Blame: Mike Adams

2. 2nd and 6, 8:41 2nd. 11. Vikings rush four with the Steelers keeping five plus Le’Veon Bell chipping and releasing. Half-hearted playaction from the Steelers. Cover 2 shell from the Vikes. Ben’s first read is backside to Antonio Brown and there is a window if Ben throws to Brown’s outside shoulder.


Not the easiest throw from the far hash but a makeable one, especially with the FS having his hips turned the opposite side. Makes it harder on any throw having to flip and take a proper angle to the ball in one fluid motion.

But Ben decides against it and looks to his second read. Emmanuel Sanders settles down and shows his numbers.


Two defenders in the area but there is a window to Sanders’ right side. Ben again decides against it. By this point, he takes his eyes off the field, sees the impending rush and essentially gives himself up on the play, taking the sack.


Blame Ben for this one. Two open receivers and doesn’t pull the trigger on either. Sure, neither were wide open but good luck finding much of that in the NFL. Can’t take your eyes off what’s happening down the field either.

Blame: Ben Roethlisberger

3. 3rd and 3, 4:10 2nd. Shotgun, 11. Four man rush vs five blocking. Tackle/end stunt on each side. On the left, Adams whiffs vs Allen as he loops inside. On the right, Marcus Gilbert doesn’t pass off the end to pick up the tackle.


Adams somehow ends up in another world and barely stays on screen on the replay during the broadcast.


Gilbert doesn’t see Kevin Williams until the very end of the play and probably only because the end was slanting to hard Gilbert physically couldn’t follow any longer.


Jared Allen is literally never blocked and brings Ben down. All because of one simple T/E stunt.

Lot going wrong on this play but going to put the blame on the left side of the line for missing the stunt. Half of the blame on each. Gilbert looked bad but Williams did not get on the sack so no blame for the right tackle.

Blame: Ramon Foster, Mike Adams

4. 3rd and 6, 3:42 3rd. Shotgun, 11. Rush six with six blocking. Mesh route (Haley’s “gotta have it” play on third down). Antonio Brown is open on it but pressure comes before Ben able to get it away. Little more complicated blitz here from Minnesota.

At its core, still the same concept of a tackle/end stunt. But the three tech slants to the closed side and the Vikings run LB Chad Greenway through the “B” gap. He essentially “picks” Adams and Allen loops inside.


One of two things will happen with the successful pick.

– Bell doesn’t pass off, stays on the LB, and Allen comes in scot-free.

– Allen will be solo on Bell. A big mismatch in favor of the defense.

The latter occurs and Bell is a fly on the windshield to Allen. Adams never sees the pick and Greenway is able to get under Adams, push him away, and get additional pressure. Allen brings Ben down.


Another tough decision because the concept is really good. So have to give some credit to Minnesota. But seeing Adams get jolted back by Chad Greenway is borderline sickening. So half of the blame on him on yet another failed stunt. Not going to blame Bell for not picking up Allen. Unrealistic to expect that.

Blame: Defensive scheme, Mike Adams

5. 3rd and 6, :19 4th. Shotgun, 11. Five rushing (LB on “hug blitz”, blitzes if RB stays to block) versus six blocking. Think Ben wanted to hit the No. 2 receiver on a dig but the LB sitting down in the middle of the field takes that away.


On the line, Kelvin Beachum short-arms Everson Griffen and doesn’t move laterally with him either. Griffen uses a rip to get under him and get to Ben first with Chad Greenway cleaning it up and forcing the fumble.

Blame: Kelvin Beachum

Sack Counter (Game)

Mike Adams: 2

Ben Roethlisberger: 1

Kelvin Beachum: 1

Ramon Foster: .5

Defensive Scheme/Coverage: .5

Sack Counter (Season)

Marcus Gilbert: 3

Mike Adams: 2.5

Ramon Foster: 2

Ben Roethlisberger: 2

LaRod Stephens-Howling: 1

Defensive Scheme/Coverage: 1

Kelvin Beachum: 1

Defensive Coverage: 1

David DeCastro: .5

Isaac Redman: .5

Todd Haley/Bad Playcall: .5


Just one. A Mike Adams hold.

So on the season…

Marcus Gilbert – 1 (1 trip)

Ramon Foster – 1 (1 hold)

Mike Adams – 1 (1 hold)

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Kevin Gobleck

    Well to look at the bright side of things, Bell looks like he is improving in pass protection, and we only have three offensive penatlies. When last year we’d have three in one game

  • TJimmy

    Adams doesn’t look so bad when you break it all down like that.

  • Alex Kozora

    Maybe a tick better since he wasn’t responsible for all three but I wouldn’t call this article a glowing endorsement by any means.

  • Pete

    From your breakdown on pass protection, it looks as though Gilbert is just as guilty of poor play as Adams. So why the focus only on Adams? The Steelers knew these young tackles needed time to grow. Should be interesting when the Steelers play Suggs and Ngata. They move around and Gilbert will see plenty of both.

  • Alex Kozora

    Well Gilbert didn’t give up any sacks. Adams gave up 2.5. So the focus was on Adams though I didn’t absolve Gilbert entirely in this post.

  • NW86

    I’ve been wondering that all week. Just 2 weeks ago, everyone was ripping Gilbert, saying we needed to get rid of him and get someone of the street. Adams definitely had a bad game this week, but then again it was against Jared Allen and Greenway, two of the best in the league. Meanwhile, Gilbert still has more sacks allowed on the season.
    Not defending either or saying one is better than the other, I just think it’s funny how reactionary this whole board can be over 1 or 2 games.

  • cencalsteeler

    I’m not saying our line does not have issues, but Ben needs to help out this line as well. He has to get rid of the ball quicker to help not only him, but his line as well. If you look back at that third gif, there is a nice pocket that the line has created. Both receivers are open if Ben throws the ball between coverage of the corners and the safeties. In that picture of gif #3, Ben should not still be holding onto the ball. Sometimes, Ben himself is making the oline look bad by holding on to the ball too long and the proof is in that gif.

  • Jeff

    He doesn’t show the other plays where Adams was absolutely abused, but Ben still sidestepped some people and completed the pass. Adams had a horrible game.

  • TheBlitz

    Ben doesn’t see it that way. He would rather them playing nasty even if it means racking up penalties.

    I’d rather have them perfecting their technique and mental errors with less penalties.

  • Impact3697

    Adams has had three bad games in a row, after being pretty decent in the opener. Gilbert has been pretty good the last three games, after stinking in the opener. The fully story isn’t told in these breakdowns as the article is only showing the sacks allowed, not the multiple other pressures or hits on Ben

  • Christopher Wilkes

    For this Sack Breakdown series to truly be accurate I think you need to add pressures into the stats. Just a thought.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    ….and allowing QB hits would help too.

  • dgh57

    Speaking of Ben needing to get rid of the ball sooner, remember the Bengals game where Ben took a 15 yard sack after a Gilbert tripping penalty? He could’ve dumped it off to Redman going to his right or moving to his left he could’ve thrown the ball away or ran with it. Poor judgement there as it was already 3td down and we ended up punting even deeper in our own territory because of it. You would think after getting injured last season against the Chiefs that sometimes trying to extend a play isn’t the best option. So it looks to me like he’ll never learn when to just throw the damn ball away!

  • Bob Loblaw

    Yeah, Ben had to step up multiple times because of pressure from Adam’s side. Adams would have been responsible for more sacks had Ben not been Ben.

  • Bob Loblaw

    …so a breakdown of every offensive play?

  • FrankDrebinLives

    This is where Ben’s biggest asset is also his biggest liability. Ben’s been able to make a lot of big plays over the years by scrambling around the pocket when plays break down and throwing downfield at the last second. He needs to realize that 1. he’s not as young as he used to be and he can’t keep taking the huge hits anymore and 2. realize his OL, which hasn’t been very good for the last few years, is even worse this year and he’s got to unload in a hurry.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    In a sense, yes. But, just list it at the bottom like he does the penalties. Would be nice to see them lumped together for comparison.

  • cencalsteeler

    Your right on. I am repeating myself, but Bens style of play and a young offensive line does not make a successful formula. Unfortunately, we are seeing the results. He could help the line look a lot better if he got back to ways of last year when the team was 6-2.

  • Alex Kozora

    Would love to do that Chris. Just sometimes get too caught up with other stuff and run out of time. Don’t want to do something unless I know I can do it full force, every week.

  • Christopher Wilkes

    Understood. Thanks for the reply.

  • alex

    the line is young, learning to play the game, and only smell like two day old saurkraut…

    i still say that there is one play in every game that turns the tide and becomes a win…first of which is the BS Gilbert tripping penalty that negated a great play against CINN!

  • r4kolb

    TJimmy I think what you may be missing is the times Adams looked bad but thanx to Bens mobility and pocket sense he didn’t get sacked.

  • Lizard72

    At least he didn’t get fined for it!