It really wouldn’t be quite accurate to say that veteran inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons, in his eighth season, has had his best year, though some credit must be given for working with a turnstile pairing alongside him, which occasionally has him swapping roles from the buck to the mack.
Nevertheless, he did earn his first trip to the Pro Bowl in 2014, a not undeserving distinction, even if he didn’t have the biggest impact in terms of splash plays this season. He was, however, a tackling machine, very reliable against the run for most of the season.
He had a few lapses in coverage, but has settled down of late and has helped provide this transitional defense a stable nucleus that it can rely upon in the middle. That held true for the penultimate game of the regular season against the Kansas City Chiefs.
But then again, he also had a few lapses, such as this first defensive play of the game for the Steelers as he got tied up and spun around at the second level, allowing the Chiefs to run for 10 yards off the right edge on a play he should have been in the position to make, had he been able to properly stack and shed.
He settled down as the opening drive wore on, however, and he helped build some momentum for the defense with this run stuff on first and goal from the eight-yard line. Timmons showed an excellent see to do on this play, reading the play rapidly and getting from his starting point to the ball in an instant. The back side tight end was too slow to pick him off as he worked into the backfield to record a two-yard loss.
The Chiefs were driving again early in the second quarter, reaching the red zone as they found themselves with third and five on the Steelers’ 13-yard line. The Chiefs tried to throw De’Anthony Thomas into open space, but Timmons tracked the ball and he and James Harrison were on him in a hurry, stopping him after just a yard of progress.
Once again, at the end of the first half, the Chiefs were deep in Steelers territory, but they chose to risk it in the hopes of getting into the end zone by going for it on fourth and one. Timmons was able to come in unblocked as he, Harrison, and the safety made sure that the back would gain no forward progress.
This particular tackle at the end of the third quarter was impressive just because of how much was involved in getting to the running back. He had to run past and dip underneath a lineman and then grabbed the back by the ankle as others joined in on the tackle as well. Of course, he also came up with the third and long stop in the fourth quarter before a bogus taunting penalty gave the Chiefs a free first down and helped make it a one-possession game again.