Last week against the Giants, the Eagles defensive linemen saw a lot of extra attention from the Giants offensive line. I felt that they dominated simply by showing up, as the Giants kept just 5 players in to block on only 6 of 49 dropbacks. With so much extra attention being given to the Eagles’ front four, Juan Castillo was able to drop 7 players into coverage against 3 and 4 receiver routes, winning the numbers game on the back end. Therefore, the lack of sacks didn’t really matter.
Yesterday, the Eagles were held without a sack for the second consecutive game, which is surprising for a team that led the league with 50 sacks last season. Jason Babin was asked about the lack of sacks, and he continued on with the mantra that opposing teams are keeping more players in to block than normal.
“When the offensive team decides to make the conscious decision not to drop back, (and go max protection), look at what the opposing scores have been when we haven’t gotten sacks. They’ve been low numbers. They’re picking their poison. They’re thinking that they can just score enough points to win and not try and open it up.”
Babin then challenged the reporters in the general vicinity to watch the tape:
“If you want to do a little homework with some of the free time you have, time the throws… or see if (they are) going to do max protections.”
I didn’t time the throws, but there were plenty of occasions where the Steelers dropped back and took shots down the field. However, I did chart the amount of attention that Babin received in that game. The Steelers gave far less extra attention to the Eagles DL than the Giants did the week before. In fact, Babin was single-blocked almost the entire day. Here’s what I saw on the 29 plays where Babin rushed the passer:
On the day, I thought Babin had one excellent rush. That happened to be on the crucial 3rd and 12 play on the Steelers’ final drive. Look at this bend at full speed by Babin as he gets the corner on Steelers RT Marcus Gilbert. This is stellar:
However, Ben Roethlisberger was able to step up, shake Babin off, and make a good throw down the field to Antonio Brown.
Otherwise, Babin wasn’t much of a factor at all rushing the passer. The “other guy” gets paid too, and Marcus Gilbert shut Babin down. “Max protection” is no excuse this time around.