It didn’t really seem like it as I was watching the game unfold live, but Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jason Worilds quietly put together one of his more complete games of the season. He did well against the run, and even in coverage, with the weakest part of his game actually coming in the pass rushing department, despite registering his 4.5th sack of the year to lead the team (as unimpressive, 12 games in to the season, as that might be).
Though Worilds has his biggest impact in the second half, there were a couple of fine plays between the first two quarters worth highlighting as well. On the third play of the New Orleans Saints’ opening drive, for example, the visiting team ran off to the left with Mark Ingram as Worilds lined up unconventionally, next to James Harrison over the left guard. As Ingram attempted to cut behind his guard, Worilds was able to disengage and make the tackle.
The Saints ran Pierre Thomas off left guard to begin a drive in the second quarter, this time with Worilds lined up in his traditional position. The right tackle attempted to cut block him, but Worilds avoided it, working his way around the congestion in the middle as he found the back and joined Harrison in making the tackle after one yard.
One drive by the Saints in the third quarter paired a couple of fine plays in coverage from the fifth-year backer—however, the second play was followed by a 69-yard touchdown. The first opened the drive, with the Saints started from their own 11 due to a holding penalty.
Off the snap, Worilds dropped into zone coverage, coming underneath the receiver as he anticipated the screen to Ingram. The back fielded the ball at the five, and Worilds was already closing from the 14. The linebacker won, forcing Ingram out of bounds at the 10 for a loss of one.
Three plays later in the drive, Worilds was covering Ingram once again on second and 10 from the 31-yard line. He was in coverage all the way and simply read it very well, taking out Ingram’s legs and dropping him at the line of scrimmage after catching the pass.
Early in the fourth quarter, Worilds finally notched his sack, as he looped around Stephon Tuitt and attacked the center as Tuitt was being double teamed. He was able to push the center back and work past him, despite a slight hold, and brought down Drew Brees in the backfield for a loss of seven yards.
Late in the fourth quarter, after the Steelers cut it to 11, they failed to recover an onside kick, meaning it was on the defense to get the ball while taking minimal time off the clock. Worilds helped the defense do that, holding the edge and pulling Ingram down in the backfield for a loss of three yards. The Steelers got the ball back and put eight on the board, but there just wasn’t enough time left to even attempt another onside kick.