I put this up on another board and certainly thought I should share it over here. Over a couple of days I went back and reviewed the tape on all 47 regular season sacks individually, and here's what I found (this is going to be pretty long hehe):
1st sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush that's overloaded to the right. Mahan ends up falling back on his ass, something that will become familar in this writeup. Luckily for him, Simmons comes over and knocks the hell out of Mahan's man and puts him on his ass. Both Marvel and Faneca were beat to the outside as well, couldn't handle the overload. Ben tried to step up into the pocket, but the outside rushers got him from behind.
2nd sack: Ben's fault. Had 4 seconds to throw, pumped it a couple of times then went down. Not much to say other than that, the o-line actually did a pretty good job here at keeping a pocket and giving Ben enough time to move around.
3rd sack: O-line's fault. 5 man blitz, Simmons does a good job pulling out to get the outside man. Colon's man gets free and gets the sack. Parker didn't recognize the blitz and instead went out on his route like everything was fine and dandy. Mahan does a decent enough job, but Colon's man ends up getting free here and gets right in Ben's face for the sack.
4th sack: O-line's fault. Another 5 man blitz, same as last play, except Simmons doesn't recognize it and is slow to pull outside. Rusher comes free off the right edge for the sack. Confusion between Mahan and Faneca lets another guy come through quickly who would've gotten the sack had the other man not gotten there first. Both did a good job initially on a man they double teamed, then it looked like both tried to help out elsewhere thinking the other man still had him until it was too late.
5th sack: O-line's fault. A designed screen play that was botched. Simmons didn't even chip his man, just let him brush past him at full speed. Parker got initially caught up in traffic, a half second more and that could've been a big play.
6th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush. Faneca's man puts a spin move on him and gets free to the inside. Mahan was giving up a lot of ground as well, really got pushed back. Both tackles did great.
7th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush. Cardinals run an inside stunt on the right side. Simmons doesn't recognize it and follows his man right into Colon as they bump into each. Bad communication between Colon and Simmons. Outside rusher gets to Ben. Marvel was also beat off the edge but made a nice attempt to recover.
8th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush. Another inside stunt to the right side, same play as last time. This time Colon stays with his man to the inside and doesn't switch off to the blocker coming off the edge. He makes a diving recovery but Ben feels the heat and the play is dead at that point. The rest of the line held up fairly well.
9th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush. Heavy pressure inside, the tackles hold up well enough although Marvel's man eventually gets by. Mahan is tossed to the ground long before that though. Apparently, Sean Mahan was trying to work on his ankle blocking technique. It didn't work out so well here.
10th sack: O-line's fault. Ben never had a chance. 6 man blitz to the right side. Spaeth is a FB on the play and gets beat by the rusher on the outside. Both Simmons and Colon stay inside while a blitzer comes free up the middle right. Both rushers meet Ben at full speed at the same time.
11th sack: O-line's fault. Simmons is completely abused this play. Colon doesn't fare much better but recovers decently enough. Mahan actually does the best job of anyone here stoning his man while the rest of the pocket had collapsed.
12th sack: O-line's fault. 5 man blitz from a six man front. Colon does a beautiful job of picking out the outside blitzer and knocks the guy on his ass. The man showing blitz lined opposite Mahan drops back into coverage at snap, and Mahan is too slow to help anyone out. Inside stunt on the left side confused Faneca and lets a man run right by him. Looks like the whole pocket pretty much collapsed.
13th sack: O-line's fault. This one is mainly on Simmons again, he just gets rolled by his man right back into Ben. Marvel was also beat early, which forced Ben to step right up into Simmons man, but Marvel recovered to hold the pocket. Mahan and Faneca did a poor job on double teaming one man, who still got free, but Colon and Davenport did nice on the outside and completely contained their man on a double team.
14th sack: Ben's fault. 4 man rush. Almost put this on the o-line, because Dumervil's speed beats Marvel on the outside. But he still recovered and everyone else did a great job. Ben had plenty of pocket and plenty of time, pumped it, then started to run when Dumervil finally got him.
15th sack: Ben's fault. Play action off mass protect. Both tight ends stayed into block. Had plenty of space, but either no one was open or Ben didn't check down. However, with it being 7 on 4 I almost want to put this on the o-line. Both Mahan and Colon were confused on who to block. Colon actually didn't put his hand on anyone, and Mahan lost his man in traffic and just stood there back pedaling. Eventually those guys got free and got Ben who was scrambling in the pocket. Still though, for their sake I'll put this on Ben, he still should've gotten that ball out.
16th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush off 6 man look. Weird looking play really. Colon and Simmons double team a man inside while a rusher comes free off the edge. Bad communication there. Faneca gets bulldozed and ends up on the ground. Mahan ain't much help either. Two men are quickly on Ben as he rolls out to the right and ends up running out of bounds for a sack instead of throwing it away.
17th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush (at the Ravens game now). Overload to the left side as Faneca lets a man run right past him as he chips in on Mahan's man instead. This leaves Marvel Smith with two rushers right in front of him. He does a good enough job considering the situation, but it still gets to Ben. Colon stoned his man, Simmons had no one to block and was going to help Mahan before the play ended. Ben had no time at all. Bad communication between Faneca and Mahan, no way should a man run free in a four man rush.
18th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush out of a five man front. The fifth man feigns a rush but stays back either to spy Ben or to watch Davenport if he comes out of the backfield. Faneca doesn't block ANYONE on this play. Just stands there on an island looking dumbfounded. Looks like he was going to block that fifth man, but when that man dropped back Faneca didn't attempt to help out anyone else. Mahan gets blown back and ends up on the ground, he actually trips Colon and interferes on the job Colon is doing on his man. Regardless, both tackles do a good job. Out of all of this, Simmons' man technically makes the sack, heh. Good initial punch, but Simmons' man puts a move back to the inside and gets around him rather quickly. Faneca could have been there helping out if he wasn't standing out in front of the play with no one to block.
19th sack: O-line's fault. 7 man blitz, but the Steelers had Miller and Carey Davis staying back to protect. Confusion on the right side of the line, as Colon looks to help inside but sees a man coming outside late. He gets away with holding but is still beat by the rusher on the outside. The rest of the line holds up fairly well, especially outside on the left. Miler could have helped with Colon's man, but was too busy trying to help Simmons and Mahan.
20th sack: O-line's fault. A 3 man rush (are you kidding me?!) out of a five man front. Marvel and Faneca do a great job on an inside stunt to the left, make a great switch and Faneca knocks the hell out of the guy coming inside. Marvel does a great job on his man as well. Neither Mahan or Simmons block or help out with anyone. Mahan watches Faneca make a good block while standing there looking as dumbfounded as Faneca did earlier. Simmons doesn't even touch anyone. Just back pedals looking for someone to block, as the two LBs stay a couple of yards back spying the play. Colon's man ends up getting the sack. He's not beaten badly on the outside, but he ends up getting overpowered and Ben is completely oblivious.
21st sack: Ben's fault. 5 man rush. Both Miller and Spaeth stay into block off a playaction. Miller does a great job on the outside rush and takes care of Wimbley. Faneca pulls to the right and nicely picks up McGinest on the outside. Spaeth helps chip in with Colon. The DT Simmons and Mahan were double teaming eventually gets free and gets to Ben, but Ben had plenty of time to set up and throw.
22nd sack: O-line's fault (or Arians). 6 man rush off of a playaction. Simmons pulls to the left and does a nice job on the outside. Parker does a nice job chipping in. It's an inside stunt to the right that kills this play, especially bad since Simmons pulled to the left. Colon took Simmons man originally and does a nice job, but as the other stunter comes free outside him there's not much he can do. McGinest also delivered a vicious blow to the head on Miller which stumbled him. Heath would have recovered though, but tripped over Colon who was laying on the ground after he dove to try and block the other man coming free. Mahan gets caught up in traffic and doesn't contribute much. I guess I would actually blame the playcalling on this one, it was doomed from the start. A playaction with a six man blitz with Simmons pulling left while the defense has a stunt to the right. The o-line did a pretty good job all things considered.
23rd sack: Equal blame. 6 man blitz off a 5 man front, corner blitz. Two TEs to the right, Miller goes out, and Spaeth stays into block off a playaction. Spaeth does a very nice job on his man, doesn't give up any ground and completely frustrates the defender. Simmons pulls left nicely, but there's no one there to block, especially since Parker went to the left off playaction to help as well. The rest of the line holds up pretty well, Colon especially, but after Simmons pulled and Parker went to the left there's no one to get the delayed corner blitz coming off the edge. Either Miller or Ward should be wide open, but the blitzer is on him too quickly and Ben can't get it off.
24th sack: O-line's fault. 5 man rush. Davenport gets left taking on a LB one on one and gets blown by. Bad communication on the right side (jeez, this seems familar) by Colon and Simmons. Colon helps out on Simmons' man, and lets a rusher come free off the right. Both his man and Davenport's man would have gotten a sack, but the rusher off the right gets there first. Mahan got completely turned around as well, contributed nothing to the play other than hiking the ball to Ben. Faneca and Mahan had bad communication as well here it looked like. Both Faneca and Mahan got one man, and Colon and Simmons got one man. 4 on 2, ugh. Marvel switched off to get Faneca's man and picked him up nicely, but that Davenport alone with a LB. It looked like a 15 or 16 yard loss considering Ben ran straight back.
25th sack: Ben's fault. 4 man rush. Miller chips in nicely on Colon's man before releasing, but the rusher still gets around Colon. Everyone else did a pretty good job, even though Simmons and Mahan had it easy as they both were left to work with one man who they handled pretty easily. Faneca didn't block anyone. Passed a guy off to Mahan and then stood there waiting for some magical Jet to appear out of nowhere to block. But Ben had time to set up, then step up into the pocket. Pumped it a couple of times before Colon's man got him.
26th sack: Ben's fault. 3 man rush with 1 spy. Ben really held the ball a lot in this Jets game. Colon does a great job, completely stones the outside rush. Simmons gets pushed back big time, but still holds up well enough before getting thrown to the ground. Smith, Faneca, and Mahan take on a combined total of one rusher, wow. Mahan could have switched off to help Simmons, but by then it was too late. But Ben had more than enough time than you can expect to give a QB.
27th sack: Ben's fault (close). 4 man rush with a delayed 5th rusher. Ben was really worried about the rush this game. Marvel did a nice job. Confusion between Spaeth and Davenport, both of whom were staying into block. Picked up their man initially, but both switched the defender off thinking the other one had him at the same time. Simmons' man ended up getting beat. But Ben had time to set up in the pocket, do a pump fake (he was looking deep), but when that wasn't open he immediately went to scrambling instead of trying to check down and ended up getting caught.
28th sack: O-line's fault. Colon got beat by the speed rush on the outside, simple as that. Ben tried to step up but he ended up getting caught by him anyways. Mahan chipped in with Simmons late, and Faneca didn't block anyone, as his man stayed back and he couldn't find anyone to block.
29th sack: O-line's fault (bad playcalling as well). 7 man blitz while the Steelers try to run playaction. Confusion on the left side led to this quick sack. Spaeth was lined up outside Marvel and both were slow on this play. Spaeth initially wanted to chip inside, but missed the rusher speeding past him on the outside. By the time he realized it, it was too late. Mahan also took two steps back after the first initial punch, which help collapsed the pocket. Colon also got beat on this play. His man took him inside (the hole vacated by Mahan) and got around him to get to Ben, he was stepping up into the pocket to avoid the rusher on the outside left.
30th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush. What a pathetic effort from Mahan here, watching this play really pissed me off. Mahan literally looked like a human turnstile this play. Immediately after the snap he is completely turned around, 180 degrees, and throw to the ground like a ragdoll. Everyone else does a good job. Marvel gets a pancake on his man, and Colon does a nice job as well. Simmons actually did a pretty damn good job on this play as well, really working hard. Faneca initially did a good job on his man, but couldn't switch off quick enough to get Mahan's man as well, who got to Ben. This is one of those plays that you just want to cut the guy the next morning for. Absolutely pathetic on Sean Mahan's part.
31st sack: O-line's fault. Miami game. 5 man rush from a 5 man front. Miscommunication on the left side. Starks and Faneca pick up the same man, as the outside rusher speeds by Starks and gets the sack. Miscommunication or not, Starks has got to pick up the outside rusher on that play and protect Ben's blind side. Mahan also gives up a lot of ground as well. Everyone else does a good job.
32nd sack: Ben's fault. 4 man rush. A decent enough pocket, even though they did give up a lot of ground. Colon does a real nice job initially, while Simmons seems a bit overwhelmed. Mahan blocks no one. The left side holds up pretty well. But Ben should've gotten that ball out.
33rd sack: O-line's fault. 5 man rush. Mahan honestly looks drunk on this play. Passes off on one man, and is too late to pick up another guy, so he ends up on his knee after blocking nobody. Miller stays in and gets turned around by his guy and loses him. For some reason Starks goes inside to the center of the field and leaves Najeh with a LB one on one, and Najeh loses. Everyone else does a pretty good job. Instant pressure up the middle and a sack.
34th sack: O-line's fault. 5 man rush. Simmons seems confused and ends up on the ground. Colon handles the speed rush pretty well and knocks his man on his ass. Starks again goes inside to leave a defender running free to Ben. Luckily, Parker picks the rusher up at the last second and does a good job to stay in front of him. Faneca switches off a guy to Mahan's side, and the rusher gets by him, along with Simmons' original man, and gets the sack.
35th sack: O-lines's fault. Max protect vs. a blitz. Incredibly, all three of Mahan, Faneca, and Colon end up on the ground within two seconds. Actually, Davenport ends up on the ground as well diving at an outside rusher. Starks lets his man run right by him, as he again looks inside, then changes his mind and ends up blocking no one. Simmons' man also gets by him fairly quickly, it just doesn't look as bad because of how everyone else was looking. A completely busted play, especially frustrating because it was with 1:00 left in the redzone in the 4th quarter against Miami. Ben does an outstanding job of finding a way to step up into the pocket and back close to the line of scrimmage to so the loss is minimal, even though that's one of those plays that looks like it's guaranteed for 10+ yards to be lost. If he doesn't do that, maybe Reed misses the kick in those conditions, that's why the kid's a winner.
36th sack: O-line's fault (Pats game). 7 on 4 and the Steelers still lose. Colon gets completely abused by a move to the inside. And both Marvel and Parker struggle to contain the outside rusher. Mahan also lets his man work free. It's a playaction, so with all this going on it's pretty much doomed from the start.
37th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush. Mahan is pummeled right from the snap. Both tackles do an excellent job. Simmons wants to help Colon, who doesn't need any, so instead stands there and doesn't block anyone. Wilfork annihilates Ben.
38th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush. Colon is beaten badly by Vrabel on the outside. It would have been holding had Ben not been sacked. Marvel stones his man. Mahan actually does a decent job, although it looks like his man wasn't that interested in rush and was trying to watch where Ben was going to run to. Simmons doesn't block anyone again, he tries at the last second to help Colon with his man but it's too late. Ben is forced to step up into the pocket and gets met by the pressure.
39th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush. Yeah, there was a pocket, but it was moving backwards pretty quickly. Both tackles did a good enough job, but Mahan was completely blown off the ball and pushed right back into Ben.
40th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush. Seems like the Steelers have trouble with protection when they load up one side with 3 receivers. Marvel is beaten off the snap and never really recovers. Colon also doesn't do the best job on this play, but he at least kept his man in front of him. Ben tries to step up, but there's nowhere to go.
41st sack: O-line's fault. 5 man rush with a sixth man as a spy. Marvel is beat again. This is the Jags game so this is the game where he was really hurting and probably shouldn't have been out there. Looks really slow and stiff. Both Colon and Simmons get demolished on this play as well, but Marvel's man gets the sack.
42nd sack: O-line's fault. Inside move on Marvel and I don't think he ever had a chance. Faneca also does a piss poor job on this play as well. The rest of the line holds up prett well, Colon was showing a lot of fight.
43rd sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush. Yeah, they should have pulled Marvel at some point in this game, he shouldn't have been out there. He gets beat to the outside again for another sack. Faneca ends up on the ground as well. Colon initially gives up a good amount of ground but recovers to stop his man. Mahan and Simmons do a decent enough job on one man.
44th sack: O-line's fault (technically Ben's, but the pressure sucks). This ends up being Ben's fault to a degree, but merely because he was able to scramble out of the pressure. Both Simmons and Mahan get abused. First Simmons, then Mahan. Starks does a pretty good job here. Colon almost gets beat but recovers at the last second. Ben scrambles out of it all and gets to an open area, but instead of throwing it away take an open field sack near the sideline. He's got to learn to throw that ball away.
45th sack: O-line's fault. 4 man rush, play action. Simmons pulls left and does a nice job of standing up his man. Say what you want about Simmons, but he's still great at pulling. Spaeth does a great job here as well picking up the outside rush and containing it. But guess who ends up on the ground? Yep, lovable Sean Mahan is tossed to the ground again, and there's not much you can do with instant pressure in your face if your Ben, especially coming right out of playaction.
46th sack: O-line's fault. 5 man rush out of a 7 man front. Miscommunication on the right side again. Colon stays in to chip with Simmons, and Spaeth releases to go out as a receiver. This leaves a man running free towards Ben. Starks gets beat this play as well, but it's not as noticeable as the other man gets their first. The interior of the line actually does a nice job of holding the point of attack.
47th sack: O-line's fault. 5 man rush from a 4 man front. The fifth was a delayed LB blitz. Sean Mahan ends up on the ground AGAIN. Good lord I hope he doesn't see any playing time this season. He's completely turned around and ends up eating some dirt. Starks goes inside again to help Faneca (who doesn't need it), leaving Carey Davis with a LB. He gives a good effort, but he's overmatched. But lucky for him, Mahan's man gets their first.
-- Of all the sacks, there's really only 8 I would put on Ben for really holding onto the ball too long with good protection. And even on a couple of those, the pockets were pretty piss poor. There's one sack I put on Ben in the Denver game that was questionable in terms of time he had, and it's made especially worse considering it's just a 4 man rush and the Steelers had 7 men left back to block. Dumervil still got through with not too much trouble. This number was a little lower than I thought it would be though, makes Ben look even that much more impressive IMO.
-- Colon and Simmons had a lot of miscommunications on the year. This often left a man coming free, and it was hard to judge who to assign blame to. Especially early on to midway through the season, they really struggled with those inside stunts. They would each follow their man and run into each other, meanwhile the guy off the edge would come free to Ben. They really struggled with the zone blocking for a lot of the season, but it seemed to come around some towards the end of the year.
-- Sean Mahan ended up on his ass far more than anyone else on the team, he was by far the least physically impressive lineman on the team. Some plays he would get completely turned around within an instant of the snap, and others he was just tossed to the ground like a ragdoll. He didn't account for as many sacks as some others, but that had a lot to do with the fact that just about every play he had either Simmons or Faneca helping out and chipping in on his man.
-- While Colon gave up the most sacks, I will say this about him... I thought there was some improvement as the year went a long, and I thought he had the best motor out of any lineman out there. The kid was always fighting his ass off. Marvel was never a quitter either. But Mahan, Simmons, and Faneca would give up on plays far too early when they felt they were beat or confused, which is a big no no with a scrambler like Ben back there.
-- There seemed to be a lot of confusion overall on the line. A lot of those sacks had guys like Faneca standing there confused with nobody to block. The only instances of guys getting manhandled were Mahan mostly, and Simmons from time to time when he was lined up with a big DT. Most of the problems seem to come from who's blocking who and inside stunts that aren't properly picked up. The only times guys were getting embarrassed was Marvel during the Jacksonville game when he was hurt (otherwise, he had a pretty solid year compared to the others), or the times Mahan or Simmons would get bulldozed. Some of that is to be expected with a new offense and a new line coach, so hopefully if a lot of those problems are ironed out the line won't be nearly as bad as it was at times in '07.