It’s no secret that Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the NFL. He has been sacked an incredible 349 times in 128 games, for an average of 2.7 sacks per game. If not for his sheer size and strength that number could easily be doubled. Big Ben has been on the run it seems on almost every snap of his career. That trend will continue when the Steelers visit the Cincinnati Bengals this Monday night.
Last season Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson had 11 sacks, good enough for ninth in the league, tied with Julius Peppers and DeMarcus Ware. Johnson plays on arguably one of the best defensive fronts in football alongside Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap. The Steelers offensive line is in shambles. With Maurkice Pouncey out for the season, the Steelers have Kelvin Beachum at center, a former seventh round pick with only nine games played in his career. The loss of Pouncey cannot be overstated.
Right now the Bengals are a better team than the Steelers. They have more offensive weapons, their defense is much younger and is getting better. By contrast, the Steelers are starting a second string running back in Isaac Redman, after already losing Le’Veon Bell for another month and LaRod Stephens-Howling for the rest of the season. Whoever is toting the rock for Pittsburgh should be in for a long night.
Michael Johnson should have a very good night against Pittsburgh. The Bengals are a better team and should have no problem building a lead on the Steelers. The Bengals front is solid and should be able to contain the running “attack” of the Steelers, causing Roethlisberger to have to air it out. This leads to Big Ben dropping back and while I’m still not sold on the Bengals secondary, I’m equally not sold on the Steelers receiver corps. If the Cincinnati secondary can at least delay the Steelers receivers from getting open, Roethlisberger will have to scramble and either Atkins or Johnson will get to Roethlisberger. Atkins just got paid, and likely will get the majority of attention from the Steelers offensive line, possibly leaving Johnson open on the blind side.
If you are looking for an IDP sleeper or dark horse for week two, Michael Johnson could be a good choice. Currently owned in 15 percent of Yahoo! leagues, Johnson could be in for a big night against an undermanned Pittsburgh offensive line.
As always, I welcome your comments. If you think I’m wrong, I’m willing to listen. Just back it up with some facts and solid evidence. Thanks for reading and good luck this season.
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