Veteran Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons might have had a fairly solid game last week against the New Orleans Saints in terms of what he did do on the field, but he also had some rough spots in terms of what he failed to do.
In particular, Mark Ingram’s strong game on the ground was made easier on an occasion or two due to Timmons failing to hit the right hole, although he had a solid game in coverage. In fact, since struggling toward the middle of the season, he has done well in coverage over the course of the past three games.
Early in the game, Timmons was shadowing Travaris Cadet out of the backfield, with the back to right right of Drew Brees behind right tackle and Timmons hovering across from the left tackle.
On the snap, he sprinted out to his left as Brees was delivering the screen to Cadet. Brett Keisel was the first player out there, escaping the right tackle to hassle and herd Cadet back into the center of the field. Timmons was able to navigate around the tackle and make the play after a short gain.
Early in the second quarter, Timmons lined up to the left of the defense on the outside, dropping into a zone, and then covering Pierre Thomas out of the backfield as the outside receiver turned up the field. With nothing open over the top, Brees went underneath to his running back, and Timmons was there to make the tackle after a three-yard gain.
About midway through the quarter, however, the Saints’ other back, Ingram, found an opening off the right side of the defense for a 20-yard gain. Timmons got caught up in the wash behind the defensive line, and once Ingram popped through the narrow seam after finally shedding his block, his missed a tackle from behind.
Ingram ripped off a 12-yard run on the next play, and this time it came through the hole Timmons should have been covering. With the nose tackle double teamed, Stephon Tuitt was sealed inside. Instead of patrolling the hole created between the two linemen, Timmons took on the block of the tight end outside of the line, allowing Ingram to cruise through the trenches untouched until he reached the safeties.
As the Saints looked to score at the end of the first half, they faced a second and one on the Steelers’ 12-yard line. Instead of attacking the hole around right guard as the nose tackle was sealed off, he again took on the block of Erik Lorig outside the formation, allowing Ingram to cut back inside and hit the hole for eight yards down to the four. Lorig was rewarded on the next play as he beat Sean Spence to the edge for a four-yard touchdown reception.