It would appear to me that veteran Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons is not yet ready to concede to father time—which, I should point out, is purely in football terms, considering that he only turned 30 in May. In spite of the fact that many have been running him out the door since last year, he is finding himself having a relatively productive season, and yesterday’s was arguably his best game of the season, at least from initial appearances.
He led the Steelers with eight tackles on the day and also notched his first full sack of the season, bringing his total to a sack and a half on the year. His 72 tackles also leads the team, and he is on pace to finish very near his 2015 tackle total.
Timmons made three tackles in the running game before the Browns were forced to abandon it, with two of them going for less yardage than what would be deemed a successful play based on the down and distance. He also had five tackles in the passing game.
But his biggest impact on the game was definitely as a blitzer, and Keith Butler sent him as an extra rusher early and often, and from a variety of positions, whether it was up the middle, on a stunt, or simply off the edge—which may be a touchy subject given his previous flirtations with the idea of being an edge rusher.
Timmons registered a number of pressures on the day, though not all of them were gotten so cleanly, as on one occasion, on which it appeared that he simply walked the running back back into the pocket, he was flagged for illegal use of hands. That was on a third and 17 play, but he came back on the very next snap to register a sack for an 11-yard loss off the edge.
Late in the game, he also forced a fumble that was picked up and returned for what should have been the Steelers’ second defensive touchdown of the game. The only problem was that Daniel McCullers was flagged for roughing the passer on the play. He swatted the quarterback right on the head after the ball was already out. So that wiped out Timmons’ first forced fumble of the season.
For as much criticism as he took for his 2015 showing, the veteran still had an impactful year, and one of his more impactful years. He recorded five sacks to go along with an interception and a forced fumble. He has only recorded at least five sacks four times, last in 2012 before that. His two takeaways also came following a season in which he didn’t record any.
I don’t know what the future holds for Timmons beyond this season. He is not under contract beyond 2016, and there have been indications that the team is looking to move in another direction. As it currently stands, he has produced 949 tackles, 34.5 sacks, 10 interceptions, and 12 forced fumbles over the course of this 10-year tenure in Pittsburgh.