By Matthew Marczi
Amidst a relatively disappointing individual season, Lawrence Timmons played one of his better and more consistent games last week against the Baltimore Ravens. He was a force especially against the run, taking on and shedding blockers as though James Farrior were still here and in his prime.
On this late second quarter play, he took on one of the best, a pulling Marshal Yanda, right at the contact point in the hole. He shed that pull block with ease and tackled Ray Rice for no gain. Yes, the Ravens have not been able to run the ball the season as they have in the past, but it hasn’t been because of Yanda, so that’s an impressive play.
This time it was left guard A.Q. Shipley coming out to the second level to pick off the linebacker on a run through the left-side B Gap. Timmons just got his hands in Shipley’s chest to get separation and pushed himself aside and through the vacated hole, this time bringing down Bernard Pierce for no gain. Remember, short arms was the knock on Shipley when the Steelers drafted him. It shows here.
After the Steelers allowed a long 73-yard kick return by Jacoby Jones, Timmons nearly singlehandedly held the Ravens to a field goal. After a first down to Ed Dickson down to the 11, Timmons once again got the better of Shipley, carrying him down the line as he flowed to the ball and stopped Rice after a gain of two.
On the next play, he tracked Rice out of the backfield and held him to a minimal gain on a short pass.
Finally, on third and six from the seven-yard line, Timmons shot into the backfield, tripping Rice and only allowing him another two yards. The Ravens failed to account for Timmons, evidently, based on Yanda’s reaction as he tried to work his way back to the linebacker, although that doesn’t necessarily mean that Yanda blew his responsibility.
Timmons certainly seemed to get his season off to a slow start, and that undoubtedly was exacerbated when he lost Larry Foote, which changed his focus and responsibilities. Timmons usually doesn’t have to take on blockers so much, but that changes especially when the Steelers use their quarters package.
He has gotten readjusted as the season has progressed though, and he showed against the Ravens that he can still get to the play even if he doesn’t come in clean as he’s used to.