Five weeks ago in the Jets 22-17 win over the Steelers, the jersey of Mark Sanchez barely had any marks of a battle with the Steelers defense on it. The 2nd year quarterbacked escaped the win with being sacked just once for zero yards, and had more than enough time in the pocket to throw for 170 yards on 19-for-29 passing.
He also had time to run, bootlegging a 7-yard touchdown run. All in all, Sanchez seemed to be more than comfortable against a Steelers D that prides itself on pressure and pain. The Steelers promise the former USC QB won’t be so lucky this time around.
“You always need a little more pressure on the quarterback,” Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. “I don’t think we had any sacks the last game, no we had one for zero yards. I think more important than that we didn’t get any turnovers in that game at all. We have to turn the ball over a little, get pressure on the ball.”
The schemes will be different for the Steelers, as well as some probably new look blitzes by the mastermind in LeBeau. There’s no question that the Steleers will dial up things this time around that Sanchez and the Jets didn’t see in the first game. That’s something that the Steelers have to be excited about after the missed chances the last time around.
“I don’t think we got enough pressure on him,” LB James Farrior said. “I think he was able to sit back and read our defenses well, he did a great job, I don’t think our pressure was as well as it should have been. That’s going to be the key to this game.”
One thing that Sanchez does a solid job of is getting rid of the ball quickly, not allowing a lot of pressure to come his way. That’s where LeBeau, a guy who knows all the tricks in the books, comes into play. It will be up to him and the Steelers stellar D to come with pressure from places and quickly against the quick releasing Sanchez.
Everybody has to go every down. People get rid of the ball fast against us. That’s just a weekly situation that we face,” LeBeau said. “There is a rumor going around that we like to pressure. I don’t know where they got that, but I still think we tied for the lead in the league in sacks. Our guys do a good job of just hanging with it. They just keep coming.
“You never know when the opportunity is going to be there when he can’t throw it quickly. Or if he does throw it quickly it’s probably going to be picked. Those are the situations you have to take advantage of. We don’t really adjust. Everybody goes into the game against us figuring they are going to get rid of the ball quickly.”
Pressure equals mistakes, and getting those is something the Steelers were able to get against the Ravens in the comeback a week ago. This time out, they want to dictate the tempo, and that starts and ends with a defense that will try to bring more pressure and cause Sanchez to walk out of Heinz Field Sunday night with a dirty jersey along with a trip home with a loss.
We didn’t get to him last time, and I think that is something we have done well as of late is getting the quarterback, even if we don’t get him on the ground, getting good pressure,” Brett Keisel said. “We’ve got to try and do that this week if we want to be successful.”