The Pittsburgh Steelers (with the help of newly-returning QB Ben Roethlisberger) are heading into Miami today to try and keep the Dolphins without a victory at home this season.
If the Dolphins want to avoid being 0-3 at home they will have to control the line on both sides of the ball.
The key to the Miami Dolphins victory last week in Green Bay was their ability to keep pressure away from Chad Henne, and they put a lot of pressure on Aaron Rodgers. The combination of those two things helped Miami come out on top, and if they want to have a similar result against the Steelers they will need to make sure they do both again this weekend.
Miami's defense can't allow Roethlisberger to have enough time to get comfortable and throw the ball when he sees an open receiver. They need to force him to either throw the ball earlier than he planned to, or take a sack.
The Dolphins (specifically Cameron Wake) were able to rush Rodgers enough that he was never really able to get comfortable. We hope they can have similar success against a good Steelers offensive line.
On the flip side, Miami needs to keep the Steelers defense from getting to Henne. The Dolphins offensive line was great against the Packers defense last week, but they have a much harder challenge now against a very highly-ranked Steelers defense.
The Steelers are among the best in the league at sacking and getting interceptions, which is why it is so important that the offensive line comes ready to play Sunday. If they aren't prepared and they get beaten consistently then they are in for a long game.
Henne is not very good against pressure yet. When the pocket starts closing in on him I have noticed that he ducks his head and just kind of runs forward in the first hole that he sees up the middle.
I haven't seen a single successful play when Henne starts running up the middle. He just ends up being sacked by a defensive lineman who puts his hand out and pulls him down.
That is something we want to avoid, and the only way to avoid that is to keep the pressure away and keep the pocket from collapsing on Henne.
Both the Dolphins and Steelers offensive lines have only allowed nine sacks, so it is a toss up as to which side will do better, but the Steelers have a statistical advantage on defense because they have sacked the quarterback 17 times compared to Miami's 14.
That is not a huge difference, but every sack matters in a football game.
I am almost certain this game will be decided by whichever offensive line does better. Hopefully Miami's offensive line is the group that prevails because it would be exciting to see our Dolphins at 4-2.
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