Big Play William Gay Knows He Nearly Allowed One Against The Ravens

For now, Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback William Gay will remain the starter opposite Ike Taylor and certainly deserves to be. Gay, who has long been the whipping boy for Steelers fans around the world, is currently ranked by Pro Football Focus as the 15th best cornerback in the league seven weeks into the season and if told that, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau likely wouldn’t be surprised.

“Willy Gay has been playing good for us ever since we’ve had him, going back to before we didn’t have him,” said LeBeau during his Thursday media session. “I don’t know how that came out but that’s not quite right. Before he left us and came back. I didn’t know Yogi Berra was talking. He’s playing well, playing consistently and he played well in the Baltimore game.”

In the Sunday win over the Baltimore Ravens, Gay, who has started the last two games over future starter Cortez Allen, registered three total tackles and allowed just three catches for 29 yards in the six times he targeted in the passing game. However, despite him registering two defensed passes in the game, Gay, whose self-anointed nickname is “Big Play Willie Gay”, almost gave up a big play touchdown to Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones with just over 11 minutes left in the third quarter.

“Come on now,” Gay said Thursday when Will Graves of the Associated Press suggested that it looked like Jones had a half-step on him on the play. “I was beat.”

Beat he was, but thanks to Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco under throwing the football and Gay sticking with the play, it ended up just being a long incompletion and one pass defensed for the veteran cornerback.


The position that Gay plays is a very unforgiving one. Cornerbacks are bound to give up plays every now and again and in other words, the heat is always on them. Being as LeBeau referenced the great Yogi Berra on Thursday, there is a famous quote of his that probably best fits Gay and the position he plays as well as his attitude. “It ain’t the heat, it’s the humility,” Berra famously once said.

“We knew he was a good man,” LeBeau said when asked Thursday about Gay returning to the Steelers after his one season away playing from the Arizona Cardinals. “We were in the process of losing a cornerback and he definitely fit us. I was glad that Mike [Tomlin] brought him back.”

Steelers fans should be glad as well.

  • Jim McCarley

    why wasn’t that pass interference?

  • Zach Clary

    It definitely could have been called but I think it was pretty borderline. If the ball had been thrown a little better that’s either a TD or the refs throw the flag.

  • Kelly A

    Very simple, you can see that he didn’t grab or hold him. More to the point, his focus was on the ball and not the player; hence no pass interference call. If he had pulled him or held on to him, it would have been pass interference. Simply, it was a great play made by William Gay

  • Jonas

    If my memory serves:
    Because the ball was close enough to the receiver (simplified version)

    I think one is allowed to tackle & interfere as soon as the ball is above or in range of the receiver. Still no holding allowed

  • T R

    They might have could have called it. if Gay had not turned his head and played the ball but he got there right at the time the ball got there.. But that was typical of how Flacco gets down the field, by throwing badly thrown balls and the defender runs into a slowing up receiver to adjust for a bad throw..

  • steeltown

    I love how Torrey Smith puts his hands up to signal TD, but then after the pass break up Ike Taylor instantly puts his hands up.. classic


    Thanks for pointing that out. Ike enjoys the game.


    Agree with you on Flacco, but I don’t see WG turning his head to look the ball in. If the jerseys were reversed, I’m sure we would all be looking for a flag.

  • cencalsteeler

    I question Gay’s technique. Why does he turn his back to the wide side of the field? He should be back peddling until the receiver makes his break, and he breaks with him. His technique is what caused him to be beat. Hope that’s something Lake addresses.
    Just watched it again, and Allen does the same thing. Luckily for him the receiver broke toward the sidelines.

  • Jones

    lol – nice catch. Had a chuckle…

  • William Bigelow

    Actually surprised that he wasn’t flagged, the last time he even looks for the ball is at the 15. He only reacts once Jacoby Jones starts to jump for the ball. That being said, Willie has played well ….

  • Virdin Barzey

    I thought the exact same thing. His technique was awful. Plus there is no way he can stay with this guy man to man. If not for Flacco, it would be another Gay Highlight…..period. He gets little credit and that’s for not giving up on the play.

  • Johnny Loose

    haha!!! great!!

  • Johnny Loose

    Big play Willie Gay. Don’t know if that is a good thing or not. The name fits no matter what happens I guess..


    I think a megatron or Fitz catches that ball, he needed to reach up and high point it, instead he was waiting for it to =drop in the bread basket.
    Good recovery by Gay, but beaten far too easily.
    His best play wad the EZ bat away, when Flaccid was flushed by Wood