Elias Explains Decision To Not Give James Harrison A Half A Sack

When the Pittsburgh Steelers defense sacked Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in the third quarter of Sunday’s loss, I initially thought that linebacker James Harrison was going to be credited with a half a sack on the play and thus tie Jason Gildon for the all-time franchise sack record. That of course didn’t happen as the league’s official scorer at the game credited defensive end Stephon Tuitt with a full sack on the play.

The Elias Sports Bureau looked at that sack this past week to see if a scoring change was in order and ultimately decided that the initial ruling was correct. Here’s what they had to say as to why Harrison wasn’t given a half a sack on the play in question, according to Bob Labriola of steelers.com.

“We reviewed the play and are keeping it a full sack for Tuitt. Tough call, but his hit appeared to have buckled the quarterback’s leg and the quarterback was facing in the other direction before the other player came in and finished him off. But don’t see any reason to over-rule official scorer, who might have been of the opinion the quarterback was going down regardless.”

While it’s a tough call, their explanation does make sense. Below are two animated gifs of the sack for you to look at and decide for yourself.

“Hey, that’s the way they saw it,” Harrison said, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “That’s just the way it is. You move on and go to the next week. They sent it in for review and they gave it to Tuitt. It is what it is.”

Harrison, who is now expected to start over Jarvis Jones Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, will have a chance to break Gildon’s record in the same city and against the same team that he recorded his very first NFL sack back in 2004. If he’s to accomplish that feat, however, he’ll likely have to beat Browns left tackle Joe Thomas, who remains one of the best in the league at his position.

  • DirtDawg1964

    Joe Thomas got schooled by Suggs last week. When Harrison doesn’t get a sack this weekend that will tell you all you need to know about the talent drop off on our team. And yes, it pains me to say that.

    This is a simple game really. Your man beats their man. And it starts at the line. Great pressure makes up for bad coverage. And no pressure makes Ryan Mallett look like Tom Brady (recalling one of the many lows from last year).

    We can’t produce pressure without blitzing. That eliminates the element of surprise that makes blitzing so effective and it puts pressure on an under talented secondary to cover one on one. It’s no wonder our defence stinks. Can’t wait to have Dupree back in and start to make a difference.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    I disagree. Prescott is a strong, athletic qb. Just because his knees buckled at first doesn’t mean he was going to go down for sure. His body was still upright. If he was really tilted or falling down, I could see it. Also, JH was there a split second after Tuitt. JH is the one who really laid down a hit and forcibly was the cause for Prescott to hit the ground. JH and Tuitt should’ve split this sack.

  • Hypo Cycloid

    No doubt JH has been on a steady decline. But I wouldn’t compare it the way you did. Thomas has always had JH’s number. Why? I don’t know, but obviously, JH’s strengths are also Thomas’ strengths. Suggs plays a very different style of pass rushing than JH. Some matchups are good for some and not for others.

  • RickM

    It could go either way, but the explanation makes sense. With the QB’s legs buckling like that and the direction he’s facing, the guy who got there first deserves the full sack. If Prescott’s legs weren’t buckling it’s a totally different story as he could shake off Tuitt. Watching it on TV without knowing how they would rule, I assumed Tuitt would get all of it.

  • Lambert58

    James certainly finished him off. I’ve seen guys get away after a hit like Tuitt’s.

  • Beaver Falls Hosiery

    Just means Deebo should be that much hungrier this week. Get some fresh meat!

  • AndyR34

    If it had been Ray Lewis, he would have had at least half a tackle and half a sack…maybe the whole thing.

  • NW86

    I thought JH was getting half, but admittedly it’s close. From the way James reacted right at the end of the play, I felt like he thought he was getting at least half of that sack.

  • mokhkw

    Last podcast the Browns beat writer said Thomas doesn’t practice during the week until Friday because of his knee & wasn’t that surprised that he struggled playing on a Thursday night.

    Not sure it makes for a fair comparison between Suggs & Debo tbh.