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LaMarr Woodley Contributes To Winning Effort Against Ravens


By Matthew Marczi

Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley is being asked to do more for the team than he ever has, now that he is being counted upon to generate the majority of the team’s pressures, or so it seems. Fellow outside linebackers Jason Worilds and Jarvis Jones still have a long way to go to catch up to Woodley’s level as a pass rusher, which continued earlier this week against the Baltimore Ravens.

But Woodley really had a fairly diverse evening on his hands and gave the team a variety of winning plays. While he may not have had his finest game against the run (it was neither particularly bad nor good), his overall performance was certainly a key contribution to a winning effort. That included his first batted pass of the season, which came on the first defensive play of the game.

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His biggest play of the day, however, was probably the sack that he registered on a key third down, with the Ravens just on the cusp of field goal position—especially with Justin Tucker, a kicker with range.

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It goes without saying, of course, that this play was a team sack, as Dick LeBeau schemed it so that he could get his pass rusher isolated against the running back, which in this case was Ray Rice. On the right side of the defense, Brett Keisel and Cameron Heyward ran a cross that left the tackle with nothing to do, forcing the center to take on Keisel.

That left the middle of the offensive line wide open for Woodley to loop around Worilds, who was lined up over the right guard, and make quick work of Rice’s cut block attempt. The work of Worilds and Troy Polamalu prevented Joe Flacco from escaping the pocket, which allowed Woodley to track the quarterback down for the easy sack.

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This play is a good example of a backside outside linebacker knowing his responsibilities against the run. He easily beats the extra lineman to the inside and chases the play while remaining disciplined in order to prevent a cutback, which, given the way the play developed, was probably a desirable option for Bernard Pierce here. But Woodley did not allow it, and he helped Lawrence Timmons wrap up the play for no gain.

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Of course, if the sack was not his biggest play of the evening, this play certainly was, as his pressure on Flacco on third and seven forced a desperate throw that was admirably contested by the oft-maligned William Gay (thank goodness for him). Woodley easily ripped past right tackle Michael Oher before chasing after Flacco across the field. Although he was unable to bring him down, he completely disrupted the play and all but destroyed its chances of success.

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About Matthew Marczi

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Rosco

    Good job fatboy!!

  • Jonas

    I like that Woodley is dangerous while he fulfills his responsibilities!

    Worilds was terrible at the run in gif #2. Pierce would have bounced to the outside, if Timmons weren’t there for a great play by himself. He even made the tackle for no gain!!
    Kudos for LT – where was the edge-setting by Worilds?

  • steeltown

    Yes, thank you WillieG

    That last one is a joy to watch, seeing 4-5 Steelers chasing Flacco, him running for his life and our secondary ultimately breaking up the endzone pass

  • steeltown

    I think you mean gif #3..Worilds was basically double teamed (E.Monroe and Ed Dickson) on that play allowing others to roam free

  • JAMESH

    I agree, steeltown. Possibly that play is designed to have Timmons be the edge setter just as it played out.

  • Virdin Barzey

    It amazing what weight loss can do for some guys. He looks quick and powerful. If we had another consistent one on the other side, this defense could be dangerous.

    All your fault Harrison…..well mostly your fault.

  • Chad H

    And he didn’t make the winners list?

  • cencalsteeler

    Even if he was referring to gif #2, Worilds was double teamed there as well which allowed for the Woodley sack. Worilds needs more credit for his play. Like we spoke about yesterday, these are perfect examples of how stats don’t mean everything. Great job Jason! He is quietly creating opportunities for his teammates.

  • AndyR34

    One of the awesome parts was watching McClendon on the chase…as fast or faster than Worilds. Can’t imagine Snack being there! LOL

  • AndyR34

    Thank you! And thanks to steeltown also. Some people just have to comment or bash players…even if they are wrong.

  • Mike Carroll

    That’s Ziggy Hood chasing on the last play.

  • AndyR34

    Yes…I realized that a moment ago and was coming to edit it…thanks! And you are correct on the hustle part…lots of it shown in various gifs on the site right now.

  • PA2AK

    something that has been missing this year is the hustle.

  • PA2AK

    not just weight loss, but also not being injured.

  • charles

    Sorry, but just can’t agree with this assessment. Perhaps the analyses on these plays are correct. But Joe Flacco had wwaayyy too much time all day. Championship football gets a LOT more pressure on Flacco, who is also playing his worst football. Hopefully Jones return can step things up. And after seeing Sylvester’s play maybe coach can put him in more positions to make a splash.

  • DAYSNWAYS

    lets have some gifs of the plays he did nothing on, which he could have done something on just for some comparison.

    The last highlighted play, he whiffed on the sack and Flacid almost made a td throw, it was only Gays last minute bat away that kept them out of the EZ!

    It’s hardly the all-pro season some were slating him for at the start of the season.

  • Jonas

    No, I mean gif #3. Even in the case it was designed that way, Timmons came just in time.
    Worilds, in my opinion, should set the edge against the TE & still could draw the double team – it would be safer. & in my opinion that was the plan, as he simply took a wrong first step too the left, instead of the run direction; afterwards he had no chance against the double team. Look at the first step again

    I’m no Worilds-Hater. In gif #2 he shows good explosiveness.

  • Jonas

    That offended me.
    How did I ‘just’ commented on him for the reason of bashing, when I tried to analyse him on just the one play?
    I gave more reasons than you, so one could call it constructive criticism.

  • cencalsteeler

    Agree. Worilds took on the double team which freed up Timmons to come around the edge. That forced Pierce inside allowing help from Woodley. A great play and a great design!
    Looking at that play again. To me, it looks like the play was designed to go through the 3 hole or between the guard and tackle. Pierce was not patient enough for the play to develop and bounced it outside. Even if Pierce waited for the hole to open up, McLendon does a nice job of putting himself in position to make the tackle.

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