By Matthew Marczi
He may not have recorded double-digit tackles, but Lawrence Timmons played one of his best games so far this season. In total, he recorded eight tackles—seven solo—deflected a pass, and also recorded his first sack of the season.
But the biggest impact that he had on the game was, literally, his impact.
Something that has been missing from the traditional Pittsburgh Steelers defense of late is the sheer physicality with which they have played over the years. One might argue that this began in 2010 with the mid-season institution of the player safety initiatives spurred on largely by the play of former teammate James Harrison.
That was not lacking against the Buffalo Bills, and that was thanks in large part to Timmons, who brought out the big hits throughout the game and helped set the tone for the rest of the team by putting his opponents down with authority.
C.J. Spiller was the first to experience the opportunity of the Lawrence Timmons tackle, as the fourth play of the Bills’ first drive ended with him being driven into the ground after a short reception over the middle of the field.
Next up was Spiller’s running mate, Fred Jackson. Though he was able to find a lane toward the right side of the defense around Jason Worilds, Timmons made sure that he would pay for it in the end.
Of course, rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel got the worst of it all on a play in which Timmons wasn’t even rushing the passer. The Steelers showed five rushers before the snap, but both Timmons and Worilds held back.
However, LaMarr Woodley got the better of the right tackle, and as a result, Manuel was funneled to his left. Timmons was waiting there for him, and with a running start, he buried the quarterback for the sack.
It was, in fact, the ex-Steelers Harrison that once said that he wants to hurt his opponents. Not injure them, but hurt them—an important distinction.
When you hurt your opponent, you make them not want to get up off the ground and go back into the huddle to do it all over again. You make him think twice about pounding the ball up the middle of the field, knowing that he will be met with brute force. That is what the Steelers used to do regularly to their opponents. That is what Timmons did to the Bills.