View Full Version : Steelers’ D goes for the KO

09-17-2012, 03:24 AM
Kovacevic: Steelers’ D goes for the KO

By Dejan Kovacevic
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012

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The Steelers Lawrence Timmons is flagged for hitting Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez in the second quarter

The Steelers had not the faintest idea what they were doing on defense.

Remember it?

Rewind to the Jets’ first offensive series, while the sun was still shining Sunday and fans were still filing into Heinz Field. Mark Sanchez was behind center, barking audibles. In response, Ryan Clark sprinted up from his safety spot to move a few pieces himself. And in response to that, his fellow defenders began tripping all over each other. Inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons somehow wound up all alone 20 yards off the line.

“We were kind of just off a little bit,” Clark savagely understated later.

How that play netted the Jets only an 11-yard catch by Santonio Holmes will remain a mystery.

But this won’t: The Steelers’ defense, even after allowing Sanchez, Holmes and crew to coast 90 yards for a touchdown, came back with a counterpunch we haven’t seen for quite a while.

During that drive, Sanchez was 4 of 5 for 80 yards and the touchdown.

Looked pretty slick, too.

After it, he was 6 of 22 for 58 yards, no touchdowns, two sacks.

Looked almost sick.

And maybe he was.

See, if you listen to Clark and Mike Tomlin, the Steelers suddenly flipped the switch after that opening drive and solidified all facets to take this 27-10 victory.

“It wasn’t changes,” as the head coach put it. “We just buckled down and played a little better.”

But from the press box, man, it sure looked like the change emanated from a single seismic hit by — wait for it — Lawrence Timmons.

Yeah, him. The impact player who so seldom makes an impact.

On the Jets’ very next series, Sanchez rolled right on a third-down scramble, released an errant pass and … BOOM! The crown of Timmons’ helmet met Sanchez head-on and crumpled him.

Timmons was flagged for a personal foul, and he’ll probably hear from Roger Goodell’s fine collectors this week.

The Steelers defended Timmons to a man, and Timmons claimed innocence, too, stressing that Sanchez lowered his head just as he arrived.

“By the time I came to hit him … it’s a gray area in the league there,” Timmons said. “I’m just playing ball.”

I don’t doubt the intention, but I also don’t dispute the flag. He led with the crown. He’ll open the wallet.

And it’ll be a price well worth paying, for it changed the game in a way this defense seldom has since 2010.

Sanchez was adamant the “shot,” as he called it, didn’t affect him — “Absolutely not,” he said — but you’d have to be nuts to buy that.

Clark sure wouldn’t.

“It would affect me if a guy came in and lowered the boom on me like that,” Clark said. “I think when quarterbacks start getting hit, they’re different people. That’s why they play quarterback.”


Coincidence or not — and I don’t think it was — the defense began clobbering the Jets as a whole.

Ryan Mundy leveled running back Shonn Greene with a shoulder hit that resulted in an unspecified “head injury,” according to the Jets. Greene returned, but he’d gain a futile 23 yards on 11 carries.

“We wanted to be aggressive,” Mundy said.

Dick LeBeau wasted LaMarr Woodley last week in Denver and on the first drive of this game, dropping him into pass coverage and lifting him on third downs. But in the third quarter, with Woodley and Chris Carter storming Sanchez from either end, Woodley recorded his first sack.

“We wanted to put pressure on the QB,” Woodley said. “That’s how we were calling the plays.”

Nobody had his number called more than Clark. He seized upon his first action since the meaningless Cleveland finale last winter — the Steelers’ past two games were in Denver, where his sickle cell trait keeps him from playing — by recording a team-high eight tackles, two for losses and most with painful consequences.

What changed for Clark after the early mishaps?

“No. 25 just stopped playing really bad. Period,” he said. “I was just excited, I had a lot of emotion, and I was a little anxious. Everywhere Mark Sanchez pump-faked, I went. I just stopped being a knucklehead.”

Clark deserves immense credit. He was the Steelers’ best player on a day they desperately needed it, trying to avoid 0-2, trying to overcome the absence of James Harrison and Troy Polamalu.

If Clark wasn’t going to lead the way physically and neither of those two gentlemen could go, I’d venture to guess no one — including Timmons — would follow.

I asked Clark if he felt the Steelers were the more physical team.

“I do. And that’s how you win. That’s what we preached all week. Even if you make a mistake, get to the ball and be physical.”

Cleans up a lot of messes.

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09-17-2012, 08:03 AM
Sending Timmons on the blitz is something we should see at least 10 times a game. Big difference maker yesterday adding pressure and forcing the QB to move.

09-17-2012, 01:48 PM
Post-Jets thoughts

by Dale Lolley

Lawrence Timmons takes a lot of heat on Steelers message boards - some of it deserved - for his lack of big plays.

But he might have made the biggest play in Sunday's win over the Jets when he decked quarterback Mark Sanchez just after the QB had scrambled toward the line of scrimmage and released a pass.

Prior to that hit - which drew a penalty - Sanchez had completed 4 of 5 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown. After the hit, Sanchez was 6 of 22 of 58 yards.

Coincidence? I think not.

Timmons will likely be fined for his hit - which was much like the one James Harrison put on Colt McCoy last season - but it says here his teammates should kick in some money.

Without Harrison and Troy Polamalu in the lineup, the Steelers needed a tone-setting hit - even if it did cross the line. Timmons provided it.

@ I have defended the replacement officials thus far as not being all that much different than the regular officials.

But Sunday's game was a travesty.

Not only were their several bad calls made against both teams, but there seemed to be a huddle anytime a flag was thrown.

Referee Jerry Frump also took f...o...r...e...v...e...r every time he went under the hood for a replay.

The stat sheet said this game took just 3:08 to play, but it seemed more like three days with all of the stoppages.

@ I like the Steelers' new-look offense. Ben Roethlisberger seems to have bought into it as well.

He's spreading the ball around and using a lot of different options.

I also might add that while Roethlisberger was completing 16 of his 21 passes Sunday to his wide receivers for 192 yards and a touchdown, Joe Flacco was connecting on 4 of 11 for 79 yards to his wideouts.

@ I was a little surprised the Steelers didn't use their four wideout sets a little more to take advantage of not having Darrelle Revis on the field.

After all, wouldn't you think they would want, say, Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery matched up on 5-9 Ellis Lankster and 5-8 Isaiah Trufant, the Jets' third and fourth corners?

@ Will Johnson is proving to be a weapon out of the backfield and will continue to be so. He's a matchup nightmare for linebackers - especially when they don't cover him as the Jets failed to do.

@ Drew Butler has placed four of his first eight punts inside the 20. The kid's going to be all right.

@ Shaun Suisham banged a pair of 45-yard field goals at Heinz Field. Suisham struggled from the 40 to 50-yard distance last season, so that was a good sign.

@ The Steelers scrapped their outside running attack in the second half and started running right at the Jets.

It says here they should continue along that path until Rashard Mendenhall comes back and shows he's healthy.

Isaac Redman and Jonathan Dwyer are not east-west runners.


09-17-2012, 02:59 PM
Kovacevic: Steelers’ D goes for the KO

By Dejan Kovacevic
Published: Monday, September 17, 2012...

Sanchez was adamant the “shot,” as he called it, didn’t affect him — “Absolutely not,” he said — but you’d have to be nuts to buy that.

Clark sure wouldn’t.

“It would affect me if a guy came in and lowered the boom on me like that,” Clark said. “I think when quarterbacks start getting hit, they’re different people. That’s why they play quarterback.”...

Abso-friggin'-lutely hilarious!!!

09-17-2012, 03:02 PM
Abso-friggin'-lutely hilarious!!!

Ben excluded. Ben needs hit just to get warmed up.