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11-14-2011, 07:09 AM
Gay's interception preserves win for Steelers
Monday, November 14, 2011

CINCINNATI The Steelers' defense had been ridiculed all season for its inability to force turnovers.

Then, they failed to defuse the criticism in allowing Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco to engineer a game-winning, 92-yard scoring drive last Sunday. It was an embarrassing moment for a proud defense that arrived in Cincinnati in search of atonement.

Cornerback William Gay, admonished by an angry Steelers crowd after Ravens rookie wide receiver Torrey Smith pulled in a touchdown pass with 8 seconds left, gained some semblance of redemption with an interception to cement a 24-17 victory at Paul Brown Stadium on Sunday.

Gay stepped in front of wide receiver Jerome Simpson to gather in quarterback Andy Dalton's errant throw with 2:44 remaining to turn back the Bengals, who were threatening to force the game into overtime.

"It's all about William Gay, because he got a lot of criticism for the (Baltimore) game," linebacker James Farrior said. "He showed what a true professional does. He fought back and didn't worry about what happened last week."

The Bengals gained possession at the Steelers' 49 with 4:28 to go. They had far less ground to cover than the 92 yards Baltimore gained on its decisive scoring drive.

This time, the defense slammed the door. Gay's interception was the decisive blow for a defense that went the distance and helped the Steelers post a crucial AFC North victory heading into their bye week.

"We played some good defense, and that's the bottom line," Gay said. "It was just some good football. We played what Coach (Dick) LeBeau called, and the game went our way."

Typically, Gay didn't reconstruct the play. He dismissed it - and put it behind him - as quickly as he did after surrendering the reception to Smith.

"If you watch the film, we just all around played good football," he said. "We've got to put this win behind us."

Gay and the rest of the Steelers' defense can't dismiss the fact that they have only six turnovers in the first 10 games. They picked up two of those yesterday - including linebacker Lawrence Timmons' pick early in the fourth quarter.

Gay had a hand in both interceptions. He swatted away a pass intended for wide receiver Andre Caldwell, and Timmons caught the ball at the Steelers' 33.

"We knew it was coming," cornerback Ike Taylor said of the elusive turnovers. "It was just a matter of time. We made plays when we needed to.

"We didn't do anything different. It was a mindset that we had to win this game. Last week was last week, and the one thing about it is you get another an opportunity."

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11-14-2011, 07:10 AM
Gay's play will be bad for the talk shows
Cornerback's interception secured the 24-17 victory
Monday, November 14, 2011
By Ron Cook, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
William Gay picks off Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton in the fourth quarter Sunday.

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CINCINNATI -- It's going to be a long two weeks for the talk shows. Whom are the fans going to criticize after the Steelers' 24-17 win Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals? How can they rip cornerback William Gay after he played the biggest part in it?

Those aren't my questions.

Steelers linebacker James Farrior asked 'em on his way out of Paul Brown Stadium, the Steelers' home away from home.

"A lot of people were down on William Gay last week," Farrior said. "Nobody in this locker room was, but a lot of people on the outside. That's why I'm so happy for him right now. He played a heck of a game. He gave us a play when we needed it at the end."

Gay made plays all over the field, actually. A week earlier, he took much of the blame for the bad home loss to the Baltimore Ravens and gladly was given more by Steelers Nation. Sunday, he had his teammates bragging about him.

"Funny how things work out, isn't it?" Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said.

Gay broke up a team season-high four passes from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton. One of his deflections was intercepted by linebacker Lawrence Timmons at the Steelers 33 early in the fourth quarter when the Steelers were fighting hard to protect their 24-17 lead. It was just their fifth turnover of the season.

No. 6 was huge.

No. 6 was all Gay.

The Bengals were driving for the tying touchdown late in the game and had a second-and-9 at the Steelers 25 when Gay jumped in front of a Dalton pass intended for wide receiver Jerome Simpson for the second interception of his career. The Steelers ran out the clock to get their 10th win in 11 games at Paul Brown Stadium and bump their record to 7-3 heading into their off weekend.

"It's about time," Steelers linebacker Larry Foote said of Gay's interception. "He's definitely capable of making those plays. We know he's a good cover corner. He's athletic. He has good ball skills. Hopefully, he makes those plays a lot more often for us."

Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger enjoyed Gay's interception just as much.

Shocking, huh?

"It was a game-changer for us," Roethlisberger said. "We love it when the defense gets us turnovers."

It hasn't happened much this season. Steelers linebacker James Harrison marveled that the team is in first place in the AFC North Division heading into its break despite "the fewest takeaways in franchise history." It's astonishing, really. Harrison said he likes to think the two turnovers caused by Gay are "maybe just the start for us, maybe the tip of the iceberg."

Gay didn't have much to offer on that subject or any subject, for that matter. "We won a big division game. That's the only thing that's important. I don't care what I did."

Gay was much more expansive after the Steelers blew a fourth-quarter lead in the 23-20 loss to the Ravens. The defense gave up a 92-yard touchdown drive in the final 2 1/2 minutes. Gay called it the "worst drive of my life" and took the blame for the winning 26-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to wide receiver Torrey Smith with eight seconds left.

"That wasn't his fault, but the average fan doesn't always understand what's happening so William Gay took a beating all week," Farrior said.

Immediately after the Baltimore game, safety Ryan Clark said he was the man to blame. He said he should have given Gay deep help.

"I thought he handled [the criticism] extremely well," Harrison said. "He's not going to say, 'That wasn't me. That was so-and-so at fault.' That's not how he operates and that's not how we operate."

Added Foote, "Everyone on the defense took that drive personally. When you're playing at home and you let a game like that slip through your hands, it's tough. It wasn't just William Gay. None of us were any good on that drive. Nobody."

The Steelers secondary was an area of concern going into the season. Everyone knew cornerback Ike Taylor was going to be solid. But what about the other corner? Bryant McFadden started the first game -- a 35-7 loss to the Ravens -- before Gay took over the position. Other than that final drive in the second Baltimore game, he and the defense have been solid.

"He's played good football," LeBeau said. "Today was his best game. He and all of our guys made big plays when the game was on the line."

Gay will have two weeks to enjoy it before the Steelers play again Nov. 27 at Kansas City.

Good for him.

Bad for the talk shows.

Ron Cook: rcook@post-gazette.com. Ron Cook can be heard on the "Vinnie and Cook" show weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 93.7 The Fan. More articles by this author
First published on November 14, 2011 at 12:00 am

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11-14-2011, 12:31 PM
Intercepting Dalton should not be a hard thing to do. honestly I'm shocked Troy wasn't able to pick one.

Dalton has a HUGE "tell". He doesn't look around, he has a set play for 1 WR. in the 2nd half, every time he went up to the line he looked down the WR he was going to throw too. Snapped the ball, and if you watch the replays, he only looked at 1 WR. Finally on Gays pick, Dalton did the same thing, looked him down like a deer in the headlights and Gay zoned into it.

Dalton only checked down when he had absolutely zero pressure and didn;t feel anything. Shockingly we applied ZERO pressure. Way to dial it up Dick. Last week, we let harrison roam, he went right side, left side, up the middle. This week Harrison was on vacation. Can't wait for Woodley to come back so they cant double or triple team one guy and forget about the other side.

11-14-2011, 02:26 PM
Gay is doing a solid job this year. It isn't easy on DB's especially with the rules that are in place and the fact that receivers hardly ever get called for offensive passing interference.

11-14-2011, 03:27 PM
I still can't wrap my head around William Gay making the interception he made. Incredible.