By Matthew Marczi
As I wrote yesterday, the biggest strides that fourth-year outside linebacker Jason Worilds have made this season are not in his pass rushing skills, even if they are more eye-catching—not to mention more apparent due to his increased playing time. No, his greatest improvement this year has been his assignment discipline and stoutness against the run, which was on display against the Baltimore Ravens.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that he isn’t still making an impact as a pass rusher as well. In fact, he had his second multiple-sack game of the season against Joe Flacco, the second of which forced a fumble.
His first sack is one that you could have described as coming at a crucial time, were it not for what followed. In the early portion of the game, on the Ravens’ first drive, Baltmore was facing a second and goal from the one-yard line following a 54-yard pass that nearly went for the score.
Worilds, being left nearly unblocked, easily escaped the resistance of Ray Rice to get to Flacco, bringing him down for a six-yard loss to set up third and goal from the seven. Of course, Flacco threw a touchdown to Torrey Smith on the next play, rendering it moot.
His second sack came with a bit more import, not only because it created the potential for a turnover, but also because, this time, it helped keep the Ravens out of the end zone. This time, he beat right tackle Michael Oher on a dip-and-rip, utilizing his speed to win the edge and getting a straight line to the quarterback
Worilds went for the ball this time and was able to knock it loose. Unfortunately the Steelers weren’t able to recover it, which allowed the Ravens to stay in field goal range, which made the score 10-0.
The Ravens made second-half adjustments in order to account for Worilds coming off the left side, spending a lot of time putting an extra back or tight end to his side or running plays in the opposite direction, which helped neutralize his impact. Rice even knocked him to the ground on one occasion.
Still, he nearly got his third sack early in the third quarter. It looked much like his second sack, blowing past Oher, and he and Lawrence Timmons were able to bring Flacco down, but only after he was able to get rid of the ball for a long incompletion.