View Full Version : Steelers' Harrison has Ravens' attention

01-17-2009, 09:54 AM
Harris: Steelers' Harrison has Ravens' attention
By John Harris
Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Baltimore Ravens added an extra offensive tackle on Steelers linebacker James Harrison's side when the teams played in December.

That's a heck of a compliment for an opponent whom Baltimore defensive lineman Trevor Pryce claimed wouldn't be heard from. This after Harrison had racked up nine tackles, 3 1/2 sacks, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception against the Ravens on Monday Night Football last season.

Pryce was wrong. Boy, was he wrong.

Harrison became the star attraction on the Steelers' top-ranked defense this season. He had a franchise-record 16 sacks during the regular season despite double- and triple-teams and the more-than-occasional hold.

He wasn't drafted out of Kent State. He was cut four times, including once by the Ravens. He's been disrespected by opponents such as Pryce. Yet, he's now the reigning NFL defensive player of the year.

That's Harrison telling his critics to stick their doubts where the sun doesn't shine?

"Actually, stuff like that motivates me. It makes me want to prove somebody wrong," said Harrison, who starts in the biggest game of his life against the Ravens on Sunday night in the AFC Championship Game at Heinz Field. "When I hear what somebody tells me I can't do, it drives me to want to do it even more to prove them wrong."

Harrison's numbers in two home games against Baltimore since becoming a starter in 2007 are staggering: 19 tackles, six sacks for 55 yards in losses, one interception, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Harrison's big plays in those two home games have directly led to five touchdowns.

In the Steelers' 23-20 overtime win against Baltimore on Sept. 29, Harrison's sack of quarterback Joe Flacco resulted in a fumble and LaMarr Woodley's 7-yard touchdown return for a 17-13 lead in the third quarter.

Harrison's presence makes his teammmates better, if only because of the extra blocking attention tilted his way. He was held somewhat in check with four tackles and a sack last week against San Diego in the divisional playoffs. So what was the result? Woodley crashes in from the left side for two big sacks, three tackles for losses and three quarterback hurries.

Baltimore's players have since come to their senses regarding Harrison's playing ability. Ravens tackle Willie Anderson, a 13-year veteran, compared Harrison's forceful playing style to former Steelers linebacker Greg Lloyd, whom Anderson faced while with the Cincinnati Bengals.

"I don't really pattern myself after anybody," Harrison said. "I go out there and try things that I may have seen somebody else do and see how it fits into my game. If I feel like I can do it, well, then I'll keep it. If not, then I'll throw it away."

Given how Harrison has taken the league by storm, more linebackers have been patterning their games after him, rather than the other way around.

John Harris can be reached at jharris@tribweb.com or 412-481-5432.

01-17-2009, 10:26 AM
I read somewhere during the week that the Steelers FO told the NFL officials to watch how many times Silverback is getting held tackled etc. during games that its ridiculous how he is getting treated.

01-17-2009, 10:38 AM
i can see the ravens use the same tattic they used in balt against him.. using an xtra lt or te to block him

01-17-2009, 10:41 AM
I'm really getting sick of the hold never getting called on silverback, it's ridiculous. They always hold him but it hardly ever gets called.

01-17-2009, 11:36 AM
If the Ravens try that same tactic look for Harrison to drop back in coverage more and bring the pressure from the other side. LeBeau will make them pay for that if they're going try it again. Theres a reason teams don't do that more often.

I have visions of Harrison catching Mason square coming across the middle. That should cool his azz off. I haven't heard as much squawking from him in his entire career as I've heard this past week.

01-17-2009, 11:40 AM
ok, then watch Woodley tear it up on the other side:tt02:

01-17-2009, 11:43 AM
It makes me sick how much he gets held. Sometimes he gets tackled.

01-17-2009, 11:51 AM
If they called holding on him every time, you would hear the announcers say:

"Flacco under center...1st and 82 on the 1 yard line...handoff to McGahee for no gain...flag on the play...holding"

01-17-2009, 12:14 PM
thats friggin hilarious......yet so very true!!!:rofl:

01-17-2009, 12:59 PM
Even with that extra tackle on Harrison's side, I am sure he will still make a few plays in the biggest game of his career. Hopefully that means Woodley is up to the task and wins a lot of his one on one match ups. Bring the heat Harrison and Woodley.