Troy Polamalu Back To Normal Against The Browns

Matthew Marczi

Redemption was a big theme this week, with several players that have struggled the past couple weeks having somewhat of a bounce back game against the Cleveland Browns. Perhaps nobody needed, nor had, a bigger turnaround than Troy Polamalu.

Against both the run and the pass, Polamalu was all over the field, occasionally at deep safety, but most often at linebacker and up at the line. Most importantly, he helped the defense—and the offense—by causing turnovers. He had the first multiple-forced fumble game of his career and nearly intercepted his second pass of the year. But as noted, it began against the run.

Before the snap, Polamalu crept up between Cameron Heyward and Jarvis Jones. The Browns moved their whole line to the right on a zone run, but Polamalu squeezed past left tackle Joe Thomas and easily chased down the running back after just a short gain.

In the second quarter, he took advantage of the pressure supplied by Jason Worilds, which forced Jason Campbell to force a pass to his tight end. Polamalu, in close coverage on the play, was able to jump the route and nearly made a diving, athletic interception.

Later in the quarter, the Browns were driving with under two minutes to play. On a first down play, Polamalu blitzed right up the middle, but was rebuffed by center Alex Mack. Seeing Chris Ogbonnya head toward his right, Polamalu peeled back, and after the back got through the traffic, he was there to bring him down. In the process, he ripped the ball out of his hands and recovered it himself.

Finally, in the fourth quarter, with the Browns trailing by 17, Brandon Weeden tried to scramble on third and 10 after Polamalu’s blitz left open a welcoming hole. Accepting the invitation, Weeden took off, but Polamalu was quick to react, and in the process of making the sack, he knocked the ball out of the quarterback’s hand with his right arm. Heyward recovered and returned the fumble.

It has been a rather curious season for Polamalu, seemingly alternating between vintage performances and others that seem well past their prime. He had been particularly culpable of leaving his cornerbacks vulnerable in coverage by jumping on other routes of late.

Of course, this was the Browns, with Campbell and Weeden at quarterback, but the Steelers are no doubt hoping that this performance will help stabilize Polamalu’s play during the home stretch of the season and into a playoff run, because they will certainly need him to step up.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi

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

  • dgh57

    Our DBs minus Taylor played a solid game and I hope the rest of the season it proves to be a trend as it will be needed if we are to make the playoffs.

  • 2443scott

    this is where troy now in his golden years needs to play more ….he as all players lose a step he cant cover field like he used to but moving him up to the lber area is where he belongs ….he dont need that burst speed there …he can control line more and give others a chance to do more ….his mind for plays and football is as sharp as ever now use him as that ….play him closer to line let some one else play his safety spot

  • steeltown

    How lucky we are

  • Virdin Barzey

    The reinventing of Troy is working well. I like what they are doing with him. He still has playmaking ability just not in deep coverage. He’s almost like an LB. Hope he gets to Flacco often.

    On another note, Jarvis has been playing discipline ball but its time for him to shine so that this defense can take the next step forward. Worilds is coming along, Cam is balling, Pola is reinvented and despite what many feel, Woodley still makes plays when healthy. Timmons is due for another monster game and stop disappearing from games. I’m not expecting much from Vince, just for him to not mess up. Do your job and we will be fine.

    I personally believe Clark and Taylor are the issue with the backfield. If they can just not give up big plays and Jarvis makes another step forward we can win the division. Forget SB or going deep in the playoffs but the division is doable.

  • joed32

    They hit the jackpot when they drafted him. Great player and good person.

  • 2443scott

    commenting back at you on jarvis …i think after the years over the coaching and training staff need to get him in weight room so he aint pushed around the qb but where he can get leverage and push into the qb next year

  • Virdin Barzey

    All I ask is that you look closely at #96 in these GIFs. That my friends is a first round bust.

  • steeltown

    I usually give Hood a few shot outs for good performance and have generally supported him over the yrs, but, I will also now concede.. he looked pretty terrible in the above gifs

  • sean mcmartin

    Ike taylor leaves way too much cushion for opponents , not sure why Tomlin doesn’t see the problem with him giving up completions by positioning himself so far off the receivers,.

  • Asmitty56

    Is it just me or is Jones doing his best wrecking ball impersonation? It seems like he has been just crashing into the interior linemen with reckless abandon. It’s part selfless play as well because a few times it has helped out a teammate.

  • Matthew Marczi

    I feel the need to say that it’s unfair to the player to judge him based on a couple of select gifs that were chosen for reasons other than his involvement in the play. With that said, in the first gif, he tripped over Worilds. He was asked to run a stunt in the second gif around the edge. Polamalu jumped right into his alley in the third gif.

    I ask that you not read too much into a couple of gifs unless there’s something that is specifically highlighted in them, which in this case was Polamalu. I try to select gifs that I think tells a story arc for the player’s overall performance during the game, and needless to say, these are not necessarily the gifs that I would choose to tell Hood’s story in this game. I would probably include his quarterback hurry or one of his run stops in there if my goal in choosing these gifs was the faithfully summarize his game against the Browns.

    Hood has never had the pass rushing ability that the other defensive ends have had, but he has been a solid starter, and getting a solid starter out of the 32nd overall pick is not a bust.