The last time that Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco encountered Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau and his signature zone-blitz scheme, it was a painful experience.
Flacco was sacked four times and hit 10 times overall, including two sacks by outside linebacker James Harrison during a 43-23 blowout loss Nov. 2 at Heinz Field. Now, Flacco is preparing for another game against the Steelers on Saturday night in the AFC wild-card round.
LeBeau is expected to crank up the pass rush and repeatedly send outside linebackers Harrison and Jason Worilds, defensive end Cam Heyward and inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons after Flacco again.
The Steelers only had 33 sacks in the regular season, ranking 27th in pass defense with 30 touchdown passes allowed as opposing quarterbacks have a cumulative 98.3 passer rating against them. However, they typically have some of their best defensive performances against the Ravens in game plans engineered by LeBeau, the architect of the zone blitz.
"I think the biggest thing is they're just very good at doing what they do," Flacco said. "Obviously, we've been going at it a long time now and people have grown off of him and are doing similar things at other places. They do a good amount of things, and they try to put pressure on the quarterback.
"The biggest thing over there has been the players that they have and their ability to really sit there and run it and do the amount of things that he asks them to do. I don't know if his call sheet is very long or elaborate or anything like that, but he can come up with some things that are tough for offenses, and those guys are very good at doing what he wants and operating it."