Film Room: James Harrison’s Rip Move Dominant Again

In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was punished by having to a roll a boulder up a hill, only for it to fall back down whenever he reached the top. Over and over again, a personal hell he was forever bound to. Sunday, and in every such matchup, Chiefs’ left tackle Eric Fisher is Sisyphus. The boulder? James Harrison.

Harrison again toasted Fisher in the game’s biggest moment, using one of two moves that has made Deebo’s career the immense success that it is. Great pass rushers don’t need five moves. Most need only two. For Harrison, it’s his speed bull and rip. The latter has is what he’s used for Fisher again on Sunday. Let’s take a look.

In his rip move, Harrison wants to take the tackle’s best asset, his hands, away. He uses his inside arm to rip under Fisher’s outside arm, hooking his elbow and taking away the tackle’s power.

He then rips and dips under. Harrison has the leverage advantage, over six inches shorter, and Fisher’s hands are useless. Outside hand neutralized, inside arm no use with Harrison swapping hips.

At this point, Fisher is just along for the ride. Harrison keeps Fisher’s arm hooked as he swaps hips and corners the edge. He sacks Alex Smith, creating the 4th and 18 that gets the Steelers off the field and win the game.

It was the same story in last year’s Divisional Game. Same matchup, Harrison v Fisher. Same move, the rip, and only a slightly different result. Here, Fisher gets called for the hold, negating the would-be tying two-point conversion.

Sunday, all Fisher could do was help pick up his quarterback. I’m guessing he was pretty tired. After all, he just had to try and push a boulder.


Check out our friend Six Rings Of Steel over on Youtube. He’s as big a Steelers’ fan as they come and makes awesome videos. You can also follow him on Twitter here. 

About the Author

Alex Kozora

Full-time blogger from mom’s basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.

  • Chris92021

    For me, greatness is defined by doing something so well that even though your adversary (and everyone else in the room) knows what you are doing and does everything to stop you from doing it, you still succeed. James Harrison’s sack yesterday was the best moment of this season thus far.

  • Alex Kozora

    Mine too, Chris. Really well said.

  • colingrant

    ……….while overcoming and uncalled hands to the face violation. If Dupree can learn this, his potential is unlimited.

  • Rob

    I had no doubt that that play was going to end in a Deebo sack.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    I really wish Tomlin would consider more platooning in games. This performance is more evidence for my case. Guys just need a chance. Harrison will have his way with some guys obviously. But Watt also needs to play and his speed might work out better against some other left tackles. The same thing with certain WRs against certain opponents. More matchup based.

    There is so much talent on this team, and they should be using it. It can’t hurt for these guys to get just a little less work but be able to go 100 mph on every play.

  • KingDale300

    My eyes were on Deebo from start to finish on this play. Never doubted for a second that he was delivering on 3rd down there. There are some incredible narratives, talents, and feats of unbelievable abilities in sports. But the number one thing that I will carry with me forever and describe to my kids someday, is the story of how James Harrison worked harder than every football player on Earth to have a hall of fame career and still be absolutely feared and respected as an NFL linebacker pushing 40

  • KingDale300

    Also Harrison is like our ultimate Ace in the hole against the Chiefs. It’s a really weird luxury to have, but at this point, we can essentially rush Harrison against Fisher when we see the Chiefs again and know we’re winning one battle on the field almost every play. Fisher is physically and mentally unfit to stop Harrison and everyone knows it

  • Michael James

    Unfortunately I doubt he will. It’s his third year and he still gets consistently run up the arc. It’s incredibly hard to consistently do the kind of stuff like James does. That’s why he has a HoF career, something incredibly rare and special.

  • Sam Clonch

    Love him, would love to see him in the hall, but it’s going to be tough for him. Leading Steeler sacker of all time, but he doesn’t have the numbers compared to other guys out there. Sadly, stats matter more than impact to a lot of HoF voters.

  • PapaJuju

    Meanwhile, Dupree just runs the arc over and over and over.

  • Steelerbob

    I really wish i understood holding more. Even on that sack, it looks like he was getting held. Wonder how many sacks he would have in his career if not for all the holding.

  • Steelerbob

    If, and it’s a big if, the steelers tie or beat KC by one game for home field in the playoffs, does that one sack, even if it was the only one this year and he rarely plays going forward, make Harrison worth the roster spot? I would say yes.

  • Nathanael Dory

    One thing I dont understand is why Bud doesnt use this move. He has the physical tools. With his first step he would kill those OLs. I bet TJ is going to use that move ( he is a smart one).

  • Intense Camel

    Yea, this last game was a huge step back for him. He did the same move every single time he rushed and it wasn’t even a move. He just tries to speed past the tackle every time. He needs to realize he’s going to make contact, he just has to win the battle once he does. Surprised Deebo hasn’t drilled this into his head by now.

  • Shane Mitchell

    The difference between James doing this move and other players that fail with it is a matter of technique and intent, James obviously has martial arts training because the way he executes this move is brilliant, it looks like a traditional dip and rip, but what James is actually doing is trapping the Tackles arm hooking it and using it against him to gain leverage. The absolute worst thing an OT can do is grab on with his hand, thats exactly what James wants the tackle to do against him. once that happens he can lock his arm and shoulder up and he he now has control of the OT and takes him right back to the QB with him as he dips the edge. Most players are taught this move like it is a violent action to rip under the tackles arms and disengage, thats why they fail with it. I remember an interview DK did with Jarvis Jones in the locker room and Jarvis talked about James’s rip move and he didnt quite understand how it works.

  • Charles Mullins

    I dont disagree with you, but you also can’t argue with the results. We are 4-2, just beat the last undefeated team, Watt/Dupree have gotten lots of valuable experience and most importantly we have a healthy and angry JH. Let him play next week and put him back on the shelf until the playoffs.

  • 太阳三联

    I was locked in on him that play. When he shifted inside a bit I was like oh yeaaa he’s gonna dip and rip right here, perfect positioning.

  • Charles Mullins

    I think the Super Bowl touchdown, Defensive Player of the Year, attitude and playing until he is 40 gets him in. If he ends with another super bowl he’s a lock in my book.

  • Charles Mullins

    You understand holding. He was being held on that sack. He gets shafted on holding calls.

  • srdan

    Just to add to what you said. A play like that can become a signature moment in a championship run. Let’s hope it was.

  • mezzetin1

    Well.. Yeah, but that freak Brown TD was astounding…

  • srdan

    Not to say I told you so. But before the drive i was screaming in the tv to put him in. And right before that play I said here goes a sack by 92. I agree, you can feel it happening. Why they didn’t help th LT is beyond me.

  • srdan

    I like the idea of letting the young cats learn early in the year. That pays off in the end. We are 4-2 with a lot of young people playing.

    Nobody talks about it but we have a rookie OLB a starting on the same side as our sophmore corner who is alergic to tackling. If you look at the run plays that blow our average, it’s right between those two. I expect that by week 10 that wound is healed.

  • mezzetin1

    The man wants another ring, not a participation trophy.

  • srdan

    I agree with you. More than anything he has the defining play. The stats are there enough.

  • srdan

    I think he could have 0 sacks and be worht that spot. Even tomlin said so. “not only what he does in stadiums but his approach to the whole thing teaches young guys”.

  • Rob

    Lol the entire time I’m like “they really aren’t going to have a RB at least chip him??”

  • srdan

    I read your post twice and went back and watched the gifs ad I don’t understand either!

  • mezzetin1

    Not in every case. Perfect example: last play of the first half of SB 43.

  • mezzetin1

    Yes. Not all reporters luv Goodell..

  • mezzetin1

    Bud is great. Corrections get made. This Bud’s for Steeler Nation!

  • mezzetin1

    Absolutely. Also, the pats loss to KC may loom large. Pleased Denver lost as well….

  • mezzetin1

    Give. Him. Time. It’ll be worth every second.

  • mezzetin1

    See the above..

  • Shane Mitchell

    Let me see if I can help you understand what is going on , see the 4th picture with the tackles arm extended facing in different directions, try it with a partner starting in this position, have someone reach across and grab your lapel up high with one hand facing in opposite directions. now take your left arm while keeping your left elbow relatively close to your body, hook your arm up under their arm and put your wrist directly behind their elbow joint you dont have to grab it.just trap it with some pressure directly behind their elbow joint.. now from this position apply pressure to their elbow joint using your wrist behind their elbow and torquing your body, if their arm is almost straight apply pressure like you are trying to straighten their arm out. Be careful because it only takes 7lbs of pressure to dislocate someones elbow if you have it hyperextended. You get a better understanding of what is happening when you switch positions and someone does it to you, you will feel the pressure on your joint and automatically move to alleviate the pressure on it. It works the same if their arm isnt straight, its just a different direction to apply pressure, if their arm is bent apply pressure not to straighten the arm but to the side of the joint like you are trying to bend their arm sideways, this put pressure on the elbow and shoulder, its a reverse shoulder/elbow lock. The only way to alleviate the pressure is to move with the person that has you locked up.

  • Intense Camel

    I know, I’ve been saying the same thing but right now he’s going backwards instead of forward. As a pass rusher you can’t just do the same thing every time and expect it to work. He should know this by now.

  • mezzetin1

    Jarvis is gone. Too bad, SO sad. That’d be sarcasm.

  • Mr jack

    👍🏽

  • Shane Mitchell

    Because he doesnt understand the move and execute it like James does, most people think it is a speed and strength move and when you have someone who is used to beating people because they are just a better athlete their entire lives, they think they can just rely on it at this level also. I can just watch how a player executes this move on a blocking dummy and tell if they understand the technique or think it is about speed and power. If we look at video of Bud Dupree or Jarvis Jones working this move on a blocking dummy versus James Harrison doing the same move, Bud and Jarvis look much faster and more violent using big looping movements with their arms extended, in contrast James Harrison keeps his elbows tucked and gets in close to the dummy with his body, he is using technique and leverage, while Bud and Jarvis think it is a move to disengage from a tackle and use athletic ability to dip the corner.
    They dont understand the move because most coaches dont know the principles the way James Harrison uses it.

  • Steelerbob

    I agree

  • pittfan

    so it’s like an armbar?

  • pittfan

    2 plays in this game made the bar I go to blow up. AB’s catch, and this sack. Epic Steeler moments.

  • Chad Weiss

    He gets held on almost every play.

  • MC

    I said on an article before the chiefs game that the steelers seem to react untimely at times with adjustments. I and many others believed Harrison should have gotten more snaps and now that they gave him some he makes on the of the biggest defensive plays of the game. I think their stubbornness hinders the team at times, this can also be related to the lack of leaning on Bell and in some capacity Nix (as a blocker)

    Stop getting cute and go with what works. Pains me when most of the fanbase get these decisions right based on the results they produce.

  • Matt Manzo

    And there was a face mask in there!

  • MC

    My favourite moment thus far. Made me want to shake my head at Butler/Porter/Tomlin and say “well what did you expect?”

  • Shane Mitchell

    Yeah, its the same principal, just used as a control, locking a joint creates automatic physical responses from anyone no matter how big or strong they are, and everyone reacts the same way. A funny example I often use to teach this to people is a handshake. if you shake hands with someone, and take your free hand and use the webspace between your thumb and index finger, put it under their wrist joint from below their hand while you are shaking their hand and apply some pressure down on their fingers with the hand you are shaking with, while pushing up at their wrist joint with your other hand. raise both hands up as you apply the pressure down on their fingers, just a little pressure is all it takes. No matter how big and strong the person is they will automatically rise up on their tip toes to avoid the pressure you are applying, and as long as you keep the pressure on the joint you can move them where you want them to go, you control them as long as you maintain the pressure. Its a funny demonstration when you use a girl or kid and someone that is very big and strong. Seeing a girl move the guy around the room while he is forced up on his tiptoes. Same principle that James is using against OTs. but the way he does it is rather brilliant because it isnt obvious, and done quickly it looks like he is being held everytime by the tackle.

  • Shane Mitchell

    James played 15 snaps and had 3 tackles, 1 sack, and two 2 additional QB hits. He is still the best OLB on this team.

  • Brenton deed

    It’s called an elbow lock in hapkido jujitsu grappling… the bicep is very weak when completely extended and the threat is hyper extension or even dislocation of the elbow joint.

  • Brenton deed

    Armbar.. same basic technique.

  • Shane Mitchell

    You could almost feel it before it happened, just knew he was going to get home on that play.

  • Rocksolid20

    Guys today too big and too strong , holding is on every play .
    Some get called some don’t .

  • Greg Payne

    I think Fisher felt it coming. It felt like a warm, moist feeling down his leg.

  • SilverSteel

    Man I hope so. That is now a weak side but Dupree is not playing any better either. We have some work left to do with the OLBs on both sides. .

  • The Truth

    He was held and illegal hands to his face. Standard. Ref sits right there and does nothing. Standard.

  • The Truth

    Unfortunately, Tomlin will probably deactivate Harrison. You have to keep that powerhouse Dupree in there(sarcasm).

  • The Truth

    I recall a few people on here saying Harrison was washed and that Dupree was the best pass rushing OLB on the team. Sorry, Harrison still ranks as #1 in that category. Dupree is nowhere close.

  • Nathanael Dory

    Well..he was supposed to be a candidate for DPOY..

  • pittfan

    Thanks. That’s awesome insight.

  • Balok’s Plight

    look at the size of his thighs… the LB’s are a little light this year… Woodley, Timmons and Harrison were the beef while Farrior cleaned everything up.