After the Pittsburgh Steelers established a 5-0 lead in the first quarter of their Sunday game against the New York Giants, the teams’ defense proceeded to allow the opposing offense to drive the length of the field to start the second quarter. While the defense did bend on that drive, they didn’t break and they didn’t allow any points thanks to an interception by linebacker Lawrence Timmons.
With 8:33 left in the second quarter, the Giants offense faced a 2nd and 4 play from the Steelers 9-yard-line. Giants quarterback Eli Manning attempted to hit tight end Larry Donnell up the seam with a pass for a score only to have a widening Timmons leap up and intercept it.
“It was a big play,” head coach Mike Tomlin said of Timmons’ interception after the game. “It was the biggest play to that point, but you’re going to have big plays and big moments as we get into December football. That’s what it’s about. It’s about making those signature plays this time of year to get you out of a stadium and that was a big one.”
After the game was over, Manning was asked to talk about that interception as well.
“I just tried to squeeze it in there,” Manning said. “It was a good play. Lawrence Timmons, he’s played a long time, made a lot of plays. I thought that I could get it high enough to Larry Donnell and try to put it on that back shoulder a little bit. He’s just a seam route and Lawrence got a little wider than I thought and I thought I could get it there.”
On the play, the Steelers defense appeared to be in quarters coverage with zone underneath. It was a great read by Timmons to get wide and in the path of the pass to Donnell, who was open in the end zone. Had Manning put a little more air underneath his pass, Donnell likely catches it before being hit by safety Mike Mitchell.
After Timmons interception prevented the Giants from taking the lead, the Steelers offense took advantage of the great field position that the Steelers linebacker provided with his 58-yar return as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger connected with wide receiver Antonio Brown from 22-yards out for a touchdown just three plays after the turnover.