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Steelers' anemic pass rush on pace for fewest sacks since 1988

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Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Steelers linebacker Larry Foote and defensive end Brett Keisel celebrate after sacking Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III during the third quarter Sunday, Oct. 28, 2012, at Heinz Field.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Alan Robinson
Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, 7:24 p.m.
 

There's no need to think up any catchy sack-related nickname for these Steelers. Blitzburgh, it's not.

They suit up an average of 23 players on defense every week, but they have only 12 sacks in seven games. J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans has 9 12 sacks by himself.

Jason Worilds (who played nine snaps Sunday against Washington) and Larry Foote lead with three sacks each.

At their present pace, the Steelers will finish with 27 sacks, the fewest since they had 19 in 1988. The team low for a 16-game season is 18 in 1980.

“We had only one sack (against the Redskins), but I think we did a great job of putting the pressure on,” outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley said.

The Giants have 21 sacks, led by Jason Pierre-Paul's 5 12.

Short passes come up large

All that dinking and dunking is adding up. Ben Roethlisberger's passing numbers are up across the board from a season ago, when he was throwing deeper but less consistently. He is 179 of 268 for 1,987 yards, 14 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, compared to 147 of 234 for 1,937 yards, 12 touchdowns and 6 interceptions through seven games in 2011. The only major passing stat that has declined is yards per attempt, from 8.28 to 7.41.

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