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Sack Breakdown: Steelers Vs. 49ers


As we do for every game, we’re breaking down every sack the Pittsburgh Steelers allow. Talking about what went wrong and whom we put the blame on.

Let’s talk about the five sacks allowed in Sunday’s Week One loss to the San Francisco 49ers. This year, we’ll show each sack from the aerial and end zone views.

1. 3rd and 5, 14:03 1st. 11 personnel. Five block + RB check/release vs four-man rush.

An extended play, Pickett doesn’t see anything he wants here. There’s eventually interior pressure allowed by C Mason Cole as Dan Moore Jr.’s assignment, RDE Drake Jackson, eventually spins Pickett down hard to the ground. For as long as they blocked, I don’t put this on the guys up front. They held up their end of the bargain.

George Pickens had a favorable matchup on the post, but I want to point out Calvin Austin III underneath here, around the 35-yard line on the right hash. His first regular-season game, I want to see him run harder to get into Pickett’s vision and find grass on this scramble drill. He’s pretty slow here and never makes himself a target outside the structure of the play.

So I’ll put this one on Austin, which will go down on the wide receivers in our breakdown. This could’ve been a first down.

Blame: Wide Receivers

2. 3rd and 20, 13:05 2nd. 11 personnel. Five block + back chip/release vs four-man rush.

third and 20 is a tough spot to be in. 49ers playing soft zone, keeping everything in front of them. Pickett could’ve hit TE Pat Freiermuth on the checkdown but the initial protection is good, and Pickett just tries to scramble for what he can. But he’s tripped up just as he’s trying to cross the line of scrimmage and it technically goes down as a sack. No one’s fault except for being in third and 20 in the first place.

Blame: Coverage

3. 1st and 10, 4:02 4th. 11 personnel. Five block vs four-man rush.

Five sacks on the day look ugly but three came on the Steelers’ final possession of the game. At left tackle, Dan Moore Jr. struggles with his independent hands and his punch isn’t effective. He is beat around the edge, forcing Pickett to step up. Elsewhere, the right defensive end loops long on a stunt and gets off center Mason Cole’s block to finish the play and take Pickett down. A tough rep here from Cole but he did lose the block. Ultimately, the sack is charged to both of them.

Blame: Half on Dan Moore Jr., half on Mason Cole

4. 1st and 10, 2:51 4th. 11 personnel. Five block vs four-man rush.

Dan Moore Jr. getting shifted over to right tackle for the final four snaps after Chukwuma Okorafor exited due to a concussion. 49ers run a twist/stunt on that side, and it’s not picked up and passed off well by Moore and RG James Daniels.

It’s hard to say for sure if the intent here is to pass things off or if they were truly manning up on that side, which sometimes happens, and would make sense given Moore just being kicked over there. But the right defensive end loops inside and creates interior pressure to take Pickett down.

Little hard to confidently assign blame so I’ll split it between Daniels and Moore since they allow the source of the pressure that results in the sack.

Blame: Half on Moore, half on Daniels

5. 4th and 5, 1:22 4th. 11 personnel. Six block vs four-man rush.

Another twist from the 49ers between the two defensive tackles. Not handled well by the Steelers’ interior, mainly Cole and LG Isaac Seumalo. The left defensive tackle gets A-gap pressure to the inside of Seumalo and has a direct path to Pickett. Lots of interior pressure in this game, especially at the end.

Again, tough spot. Cole is sliding right after the snap because that’s the protection but doesn’t get his head around as the defensive tackle spikes inside and gets knocked off track, putting Seumalo in a bind. Again, I’ll split the sack blame here half-and-half. Obviously, being down a ton late also let the 49ers pin their ears back and rack up three sacks on the final drive.

Blame: Half on Cole, half on Seumalo

Sack Breakdown (Game/Season)

Dan Moore Jr.: 1
Mason Cole: 1
Receivers: 1
Coverage: 1
James Daniels: 0.5
Isaac Seumalo: 0.5

Penalty Breakdown (Game/Season) – Accepted Penalties Only

Isaac Seumalo: 1

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