Though he may not quite be long in the tooth in terms of age when it comes to the linebacker position, Pittsburgh Steelers 10th-year veteran Lawrence Timmons, at the age of 30, certainly has a lot of NFL tread on his tires.
He has played in more consecutive games than any other active linebacker—somewhere around 120—with Sunday being his 100th consecutive start. He is closing in on 1000 tackles for his career, and his splash play numbers are more than respectable, with 35.5 sacks, 12 interceptions, and 13 forced fumbles.
At the start of the season, the majority of the fan base, it would seem, was all set to move on from Timmons following this season—perhaps even prior to the start of the season. He was old, he was slow, and it was over. Except that it wasn’t.
He did get off to a bit of a slow start, though that has been nothing new. Over the span of the last several games, however, he has been arguably the Steelers’ best defender, putting up the numbers to show it, and Sunday was no different, as he recorded 10 tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble.
It was Timmons who on the Ravens’ opening drive, after the Steelers kicked the ball out of bounds on the kickoff, made the tackle in coverage on Steve Smith for two yards on a crossing route on third and six to get the defense off the field after yielding just 20 yards to their own 40.
The former first-round draft pick also had a run stop on Terrance West late in the first quarter for his second tackle of the game, and helped ruin that drive at the end of it by registering a sack on Joe Flacco on second and 11 for a 10-yard loss, a drive that ended in a botched field goal attempt from the 27.
On the final drive of the first half, Timmons was able to strip the ball from Kenneth Dixon’s grasp after a two-yard gain on third and four, but the back fumbled forward and was able to recover his own fumble for a first down. So the linebacker came back to make the tackle after a four-yard gain on a passing play on the next snap.
The veteran registered several more tackles over the remaining span of time in the game, including three on what could have ultimately been the Ravens’ game-winning drive had they not managed to come back into it. He and the old man, James Harrison, who had 11 tackles, set the tone for the Steelers’ increasingly young defense.
On the season, Timmons has recorded 108 tackles, two and a half sacks, and has intercepted two passes—one of them in the red zone—in addition to a forced fumble. Those are some quality numbers that have become routine for him over the years. He’s still got some tread on those tires. It will be interesting to see how free agency plays out for him. Even Vince Williams joked that Timmons is going to keep him a backup forever.