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lamberts-lost-tooth
12-01-2008, 06:25 AM
Even injured, Harrison's a terror
Monday, December 01, 2008
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- James Farrior didn't know. Neither did Aaron Smith. None of the Steelers had any clue that linebacker James Harrison couldn't walk across the Gillette Stadium field at halftime yesterday because of a hyperextended back and needed to be wheeled on a cart to the locker room.

"Just imagine what he would have done in the second half if he had been feeling good," Smith said, fairly giggling.

No kidding.

Harrison made another strong case for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award by leading the Steelers to a 33-10 victory against the New England Patriots in a game they desperately needed as the playoff race hit the three-quarter pole. Twice in the second half, he blew by Pro Bowl tackle Matt Light, rattled quarterback Matt Cassel and forced fumbles that the Steelers recovered. They were his 13th and 14th sacks of the season and, with four games left, he will surely break Mike Merriweather's team record of 15 set in 1987.

What made this Harrison performance so amazing -- in a game the Steelers' No. 1-rated defense also forced Cassel into two interceptions and held the Patriots to 267 total yards -- was that back issue. He said he was hurt on a missed field goal by the Patriots on the next-to-last play of the second quarter.

"Honestly? No, I didn't think I was going to be able to [play in the second half]," Harrison said.

Credit modern medicine.

"They put something hot on it that's still hot right now," Harrison said, nearly an hour after the game. "It still feels like my skin is on fire ...

"I'm sure I'm going to really hurt tomorrow. But that's OK. That's football. This isn't ice skating."

Harrison can take comfort knowing Cassel and the Patriots are aching a lot worse today. Their playoff chances took a huge hit with this loss. Their offense clearly was overmatched by the Steelers' defense and was shut out in the second half. The game's key statistic: The Patriots were 1 of 13 on third down.

Harrison wasn't the only star.

"The defense, well, they were their usual selves," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said.

Fired-up nose tackle Casey Hampton -- angry about a defensive holding call against him two plays earlier -- busted up center Dan Koppen to sack Cassel on second-and-1 at the Steelers' 31 early in the third quarter to take the Patriots out of field-goal range. "Yeah, I was mad," the man they call Big Snack said. "After the sack, I told the ref, 'Hold that!' "

Smith played his usual terrific game, sharing a sack of Cassel with Farrior and tackling running back Kevin Faulk for a 5-yard loss on a screen pass. So did safety Troy Polamalu, who hit Cassel to force an incompletion on a third-and-2 play at the Steelers' 11 and later had an interception for the third consecutive game, his sixth of the season.

This just wasn't Cassel's day.

It's funny. There was much talk in New England last week about the Patriots maybe trading injured Tom Brady and going into the future with Cassel, who had thrown for 400 yards in the two previous games against the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins.

Two quick observations:

One, that wasn't the Jets' or Dolphins' defense that Cassel faced yesterday.

And two, Cassel ain't no Brady in any way, shape or form.

"Tell you the truth, I don't think he's ever been hit like that," Steelers nose tackle Chris Hoke said.

Cassel was sacked five times. Linebacker LaMarr Woodley got him late in the game, bringing his sack total for the season to 11 1/2. He and Harrison are the most prolific pair of pass rushers in Steelers history.

No wonder Cassel had a rough day.

"It seemed like we had him flustered," Hoke said.

Harrison has been known to have that kind of impact on quarterbacks. In addition to the two strip sacks of Cassel and the forced fumbles, he was credited with a team-high nine tackles, two tackles for losses and a quarterback hurry.

"Not to take it for granted, but that's what we've come to expect from him," Tomlin said.

"He took over the game," Farrior said. "It just seems like he's able to take it to another level whenever he wants."

"It's unbelievable what he does," Smith said. "I don't know how to describe it. Every time we need something, it seems like he comes up with it for us."

You might guess who gets the Steelers' vote for that NFL Defensive Player of the Year thing.

"I know there are some great players in this league," Smith said. "But find me someone else who does it with his consistency. Find me someone else who does it week in and week out the way he does it."

Dallas quarterback Tony Romo and the Cowboys are next for Harrison and the Steelers.

I'm happy to report Harrison said his back should be fine for the game Sunday at Heinz Field.

On second thought, maybe that isn't such a good thing.

Said Smith, "We all should be lucky enough to play healthy the way he plays hurt."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/08336/931927-87.stm

TerribleSteelyMcBeam
12-01-2008, 10:42 AM
you cant restrain the silverback

LambertIsGod58
12-01-2008, 10:45 AM
He's nasty....Our linebackers are always among the best in the league.

SteelMember
12-01-2008, 10:45 AM
Strip sack

Adding insult to injury. :chuckle:

Hammer Of The GODS
12-01-2008, 10:54 AM
It still boggles the mind how this guy bounced around for so long before he finally got his break!

Players like Harrison, Parker, and Dan Krieder prove the college draft isn't all it's cracked up to be!

Dizzle43
12-01-2008, 11:23 AM
I'm happy he was able to come back after halftime. The game could have been a whole lot different had he not.

klick81
12-01-2008, 11:31 AM
GREAT article! I especially loved this from Hampton:



"Yeah, I was mad," the man they call Big Snack said. "After the sack, I told the ref, 'Hold that!' "

steelpride12
12-01-2008, 11:34 AM
I saw him get carted off and my heart just sank. Seeing him come out and play injured giving it his all sure shows the will power this animal has.

drizze99
12-01-2008, 11:35 AM
Harrison is a beast... there is no other way to put it.

XxKnightxX
12-01-2008, 12:02 PM
i saw him get carted off too i was worried but once i saw him come back and dominate that second half assured me that hell be fine. hopefully hell be able to play against the cowboys.

Tankus_Maximus
12-01-2008, 12:10 PM
He should definitely get Defensive Player of the Year.

Dude is quickly stepping up to that upper echelon of elite linebackers.

FSUBoo
12-02-2008, 03:32 AM
I don't think there is any stepping up to do, he is already one of the best, if not the best OLB in football right now. Woodley is starting to steps up to that upper echelon.

jjpro11
12-02-2008, 04:15 AM
it would be a crime if harrison doesnt get DPOY at this point. they name separate players for afc and nfc too. look at his stat line compared to some of the other players.

NFL sack leaders (http://www.nfl.com/stats/categorystats?tabSeq=0&statisticCategory=SACKS&conference=null&season=2008&seasonType=REG)

the only defensive back that would give him any kind of run for his money is none other than troy polamalu. but for front seven guys, he has done a lot more than porter and haynesworth. harrison's tackles number is freakish compared to the other guys on the list.

stillers4me
12-02-2008, 07:21 AM
I sure hope he's able to play full speed this Sunday. Take care, James!

markymarc
12-02-2008, 07:45 PM
An ailing back and Harrison comes out in the 2nd half and plays like an OLB possessed. Just keep that back strong James because we will need for the Cowgirls game.

tony hipchest
12-02-2008, 08:44 PM
message to tony romo-

http://i132.photobucket.com/albums/q23/shortyshane_2006/deebo.jpg

"Tuck your chains"

ben7
12-02-2008, 08:49 PM
Harrison is a absolute beast

GutterflowerSteel
12-02-2008, 09:11 PM
It still boggles the mind how this guy bounced around for so long before he finally got his break!

I was listening to Movin' The Chains yesterday, and Coach Cowher was a surprise guest. I love when they have him on, he and Pat Kirwan seem to have become good buds since working together on CBS.

Anyway - T-Rock asked Cowher about that. Harrison had been cut from the practice squad 3 or 4 times, and Cowher said that some players just take longer to mature - and during his development, if he got confused by something or didn't know what to do on the field during camp, "He would just STOP dead. And I'd say, 'James, just don't STAND there - DO something - RUN!' according to Coach. They got a laugh out of that. Cowher went on to say that Silverback is just a serious, focused man of few words. He told another little anecdote about how Harrison came into Cowher's office and closed the door, very serious. And all he wanted was to tell Coach that he reaaally wanted to play on special teams - so apparently that's how that came about.

It was a good 11 minute interview - they even put Coach on with Adrian from the Burgh, who was almost speechless lol

chucoblack&gold
12-03-2008, 01:06 AM
I cant wait to say, tony romo ........

http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m11/elraider831/funny/UGNTFO.gif

:chuckle:

tony hipchest
12-03-2008, 02:08 PM
http://i100.photobucket.com/albums/m11/elraider831/funny/UGNTFO.gif

:chuckle:

:toofunny: - massive rep for that!

"OH SHIT! Here comes Dee-Bo!"

FCBarca
12-03-2008, 03:18 PM
Love that flick

Kittyfish
12-04-2008, 10:29 AM
Eep. I threw my back out the other day picking up a grocery bag full of yogurt. (Yeah, they say yogurt is good for you but don't you believe it. It'll turn against you in a heartbeat.) I am hobbling around the house at a 45 degree angle and I can't even imagine how Harrison played - and played so well - with an injured back. Makes mine hurt even more. I hope he'll be good to go on Sunday - we'll need him.

Thank you, GutterflowerSteel, for posting about that interview. It sounds like it was interesting - I would have liked to have seen it.

GutterflowerSteel
12-04-2008, 02:20 PM
Eep. I threw my back out the other day picking up a grocery bag full of yogurt. (Yeah, they say yogurt is good for you but don't you believe it. It'll turn against you in a heartbeat.) I am hobbling around the house at a 45 degree angle and I can't even imagine how Harrison played - and played so well - with an injured back. Makes mine hurt even more. I hope he'll be good to go on Sunday - we'll need him.

Thank you, GutterflowerSteel, for posting about that interview. It sounds like it was interesting - I would have liked to have seen it.

You're welcome - it was an audio interview on Sirius. I love it when Coach Cowher calls in.

I hope your back feels better soon :hug: