Pittsburgh Steelers Linebackers Seek To Keep Up Tenacious Play Vs. Ravens


The high-flying Pittsburgh Steelers offense lit up post-game highlights with their six-touchdown win over the AFC West-leading Indianapolis Colts.

The Steelers defensive effort didn’t get much coverage except for William Gay’s interception-for-touchdown. Yet, there were a few interesting defensive developments to call attention to.

It appears offensive coordinator Todd Haley isn’t the only coach tinkering with the roster and depth chart.

Dick Lebeau also got into the switcheroo action. He mixed up his blitzers to confuse Andrew Luck. In Indy’s second offensive possession, the Steelers rushed with Troy Polamalu who pushed Luck to Jason Worilds. Worilds knocked him down just as he released the ball. On third and 10 of the same possession, little used inside linebacker Vince Williams blitzed Luck, forcing a throwaway and a fourth down.

Williams surprisingly played a big role against Indianapolis. He played in 36 defensive snaps, his most of the season. He was shocked when he was told on Friday that he would be promoted to more playing time. He had the second-most tackles of the game with seven, while spitting duties with Ryan Shazier.

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Shazier returned from his knee injury to start on Sunday but was on a snap count. Lebeau chose Williams not Sean Spence to finally give Timmons some help at middle linebacker. With Williams on the field, Timmons typically returned to his former ILB position.

Williams’ ability to get to Luck allowed Timmons to drop in coverage with mixed results. Timmons was beat by Dwayne Allen on the Colts first touchdown of the game. One play doesn’t define Timmons contribution on this defense. He was still a disruptive part of the sack attack on the NFL’s top passer (No. 1 in yards).

Luck attempted just four passes less than Ben Roethlisberger, 45 total, but the relentless pursuit of the Steelers D held him to 26 completions compared to Roethlisberger’s 40 completions. It seemed Luck was pressured or hit on nearly every throw. While Ben walked out of the post-game training room with an ice pack on his tired arm, Luck hit the ice bath.

Worilds was the main menace on Sunday. In his second game after being called out by coach Mike Tomlin, Worilds ruled the Colts offensive line. His stats included: two tackles, a batted pass, and eight QB pressures with five being knockdowns. He and fellow outside linebacker James Harrison brought back memories of the days Woodley and Harrison consistently harassed QBs.

Harrison also had his best game of the season. He sacked Luck twice before he could throw it away. He also closed in on Luck to force the safety in the fourth quarter. His signing no longer looks like panic out of GM Kevin Colbert and more like a smart and cheap addition. He and Keisel are both leading by example.

Corners Gay and Brice McCain were again an effective corner duo. Former starter Cortez Allen continued to struggle in ball awareness, giving up two TDs. He was replaced by another free agent pick-up, Antwon Blake, who out-jumped Colts top receiver T.Y. Hilton for the game-sealing interception.

No one would have thought Luck could have 265 yards and two scores in the first half and still lose. But this defense rattled one of the best QBs in the league and gave us all hope this team has what it takes to do some damage in the AFC.