Hats off to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ front five. After a strong performance against the Indianapolis Colts, NFL.com’s Shaun O’Hara named them the offensive line of the week. That front five, of course, consists of: Alejandro Villanueva, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, David DeCastro, and Marcus Gilbert. Tack on Chris Hubbard too, who saw time as a tackle-eligible.
Ben Roethlisberger was kept upright, allowing him to throw three touchdowns while Le’Veon Bell averaged over five yards a carry and found the end zone once. O’Hara, who in a bit of a ironic twist, is a former linemen for the New York Giants’, explained why the Steelers were his choice.
“The O-line was led by left tackle Alejandro Villanueva and right tackle Marcus Gilbert. They played extremely well and gave up just one hurry apiece. According to Pro Football Focus, the Steelers had the second-ranked run-blocking unit and fifth-best pass blocking unit in Week 12.”
Roethlisberger wasn’t sacked for the second straight week, making it the first time since 2013 that’s happened to the Steleers. Gilbert seems healthier and Villanueva has evened out. Foster continues to be a steady presence, Pouncey at his elite level, and DeCastro – while having some struggles – isn’t playing nearly as poorly as some will lead you to believe.
Pittsburgh is on pace to be sacked only 20 times this year. I haven’t looked it up but I’m guessing that’s one of the lowest numbers of this century, despite the fact this team throws the ball more often than they did in say, 2003.
For reference, the Steelers attempted 439 passes in 2000. They were sacked 43 times. Roethlisberger and Landry Jones have 422 attempts this year. Just 14 sacks.
Much credit goes to Mike Munchak for the way he’s coached up the group year-after-year, despite the fact they’ve dealt with injuries every single season. And respect to O’Hara for giving the Steelers’ ironmen some love.