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Steelers Versus Dolphins Sack Breakdown


By Alex Kozora

After the previous two weeks saw Big Ben unscathed, we’ll break down the three sacks allowed Sunday by the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Miami Dolphins.

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1. 2nd and 6, 14:23 1st. Shotgun, empty set, 01 personnel (0 RBs, 1 TE though Le’Veon Bell split out as the #2 WR to the weak side). Six block (Heath Miller staying in to block) vs a four man rush. Offensive line slides to the right with a pre-snap blitz look from the right side. Defender drops though.

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Cody Wallace solo vs Paul Soliai (more on that in a moment) is off balanced from the start, leaning into him upon first contact.

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The new starting center holds on for dear life and appears to grab the nose tackle’s face mask, likely the only thing to keep him from falling to the ground. Fact he doesn’t end up on his butt is a minor miracle.

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Soliai is finally able to club him off, spin away, and brings Ben Roethlisberger down. Marcus Gilbert also allowed pressure via Cameron Wake, getting beat to the inside after his kickslide.

No question, Cody Wallace looked horrendous on the play. But as easy as it may be, I can’t put all the blame on him.

Soliai has a listed 45 pounds on the center. No way should Wallace match up solo on him unless the Dolphins are bringing five or more. Instead of DeCastro trying to help on the edge, he should be doubling the nose tackle to provide help to the inside. Granted, the slide protection to the right makes that more difficult but once the EMOL drops (the reason for the slide), protect inside/out.

It’s a difficult block for any center to make with the nose tackle shaded just to the left of the guard. Especially so for a center with a clear talent disadvantage. If the end beats the tackle, the QB has a chance to climb and slide in the pocket. When there’s pressure from the interior, the QB has few options.

Blame: Cody Wallace and David DeCastro

2. 3rd and 4, 10:54 3rd. Shotgun, 11. Five block vs four man rush. Dolphins have two deep shell and trail technique underneath, making initial separation difficult. Simple breakdown here. Marcus Gilbert with flatback blocking Wake. End dips by and chases Ben down from behind, forcing a fumble and Miami recovering it.

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Blame: Marcus Gilbert

3. 2nd and 10, :57 4th. Shotgun, 11. Block five plus running back and tight end on block/release. LB Oliver Vernon and the DT on cross stunt.

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Ramon Foster passes off correctly but Vernon somehow overpowers Wallace and is strong enough to get him turned around.

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Ugly but again, Wallace doesn’t get help from DeCastro who is sitting in no man’s land even after getting bumped into by a flailing Wallace. Just ignores it and looks to his right.

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Meanwhile, Marcus Gilbert has his hands full with Cameron Wake. He has the proper hand placement if he’s checking for a hernia. Not for pass protection.

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So a lot of “bad” happening on the right side of the offensive line. Wallace turned around, DeCastro oblivious, and Gilbert copping a feel.

Ultimately, Gilbert doesn’t allow the sack so I can’t blame him. Again, I would’ve liked to see DeCastro help to the inside so partial blame goes to him. Pro Bowl guard needs to lend a hand to bottom of the roster center. Wallace obviously gets the other half.

Worth noting all three sacks came against a four man rush. Unacceptable.

The sackless streak was fun while it lasted.

Blame: Cody Wallace and David DeCastro

Sack Counter (Game)

Cody Wallace: 1

David DeCastro: 1

Marcus Gilbert: 1

Sack Counter (Season)

Kelvin Beachum: 6

Marcus Gilbert: 5.5

Ben Roethlisberger: 4.5

David DeCastro: 3

Ramon Foster: 3

Mike Adams: 3

Defensive Scheme/Coverage: 3

Guy Whimper: 2.5

Todd Haley/Bad Playcall: 1.5

LaRod Stephens-Howling: 1

Fernando Velasco: 1

Wide Receivers: 1

Felix Jones: 1

Cody Wallace: 1

Isaac Redman: .5

Le’Veon Bell: .5

Penalties (Game)

Just one. Cody Wallace’s cheap shot on 4th and 10.

Cody Wallace – 1 (personal foul)

Penalties (Last Two Games)

This from the Browns/Ravens games where there wasn’t a sack breakdown.

Marcus Gilbert – 1 (illegal formation)

David DeCastro – 1 (false start)

Mike Adams – 1 (personal foul, hands to the face)

Penalties (Season)

Marcus Gilbert – 6 (3 false start , 1 trip, 1 hold, 1 illegal formation)

Kelvin Beachum – 4 (3 hold, 1 false start)

Guy Whimper – 2 (1 hold, 1 false start)

Mike Adams – 2 (1 hold, 1 personal foul/hands to the face)

Ramon Foster – 1 (1 hold)

Fernando Velasco – 1 (Illegal block below waist)

David DeCastro – 1 (false start)

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  • JAMESH

    I fear Marcus Gilbert has already reached his ceiling. If Mike Adams isn’t our starting LT next year, I hope he is our starting RT.

  • Rick M

    Is Decastro not as good as we expected? Gee, him just standing there TWICE with no one to block while our young third-string centre has his hands full seems really strange. How can he not be more mentally alert?

    Do you have an explanation Mr. Koroza (trying to draw on your OL expertise)? Is he not reading the defence properly prior to the snap?

  • Alex Kozora

    I really can’t say for sure. It felt like all game DeCastro was looking to help Gilbert because of the matchup vs Wake so some of it may have been a gameplan thing.

    Despite these two lapses, DeCastro still played a good game and is easily the best lineman we have right now (not that that’s saying much given the the current state).

  • Rick M

    Worrying about Wake does make a lot of sense. Thanks for the response.

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