Timmons plays key role in 28-10 win

Lawrence Timmons continued his march to a berth in the Pro Bowl with a quiet but deadly game vs. Cleveland.

PITTSBURGH – James Harrison had a mob of reporters around his locker following the Steelers' 28-10 win over the Cleveland Browns, and for good reason.

Harrison's punishing – and legal – hits, according to Mike Tomlin, knocked two of the best Cleveland Browns out of the game for good.

The mob around Harrison, though, didn't prevent the linebacker from eyeballing the only person standing around his next-door-neighbor's locker.

"Say hello to Uncle James," Lawrence Timmons told his young son.

"Hello James!" shouted the little guy.

Harrison melted and toyed with the boy before getting back to his questioners.

For Timmons, who had just as many tackles as Harrison, a half sack more, and an interception, the low profile suits him just fine.

"We're a team defense," he said. "I'm not really worried about individual stuff. I'm just trying to help the team out as much as I can." Timmons is helping the team out more this season than at any point in his four-year career. His 11 tackles Sunday give him 73 for the season, or 32 more than team runner-up James Farrior.

In fact, Timmons went into the game trailing the NFL leader by five tackles, even though he played in one less game.

"He's been great all season," said Farrior. "He's really been outstanding – a big hitter, a lot of big splash plays. I said at the beginning of the season I could tell it's his time. He's really come a long way. I think he's evolved into one of the elite linebackers in the league."

Timmons made his presence felt early Sunday. On Cleveland's second possession, after advancing to the Pittsburgh 23, Timmons sacked Colt McCoy for a 7-yard loss to force the Browns to kick a field goal.

His second sack, on the Browns' first possession of the second half, forced a punt after the Browns had advanced to the Pittsburgh 37.

Just as importantly was Timmons' play in coverage, as well as his play at the point of attack against brutish Browns tailback Peyton Hillis. Twice Timmons met the 240-pounder in the hole and stopped him for no gain. He was a key factor in holding Hillis to 41 yards rushing. Not all was perfect, though. Timmons made a mistake in the fourth quarter that cost the Steelers seven points.

While covering tight end Ben Watson in the end zone, Timmons left the man to pursue a scrambling McCoy, who then flipped it to the wide-open Watson for the Browns' only touchdown.

"I thought he broke the line of scrimmage but he didn't," said Timmons. "I put us in a bad situation there and that's something I never do."

"We all make mistakes," said Farrior. "You're never going to have a perfect game. I'm sure he's upset about it. He made enough plays to make up for it."

Timmons, in fact, made up for it the next time the Browns had the ball. Ryan Mundy read a play, which he said "they had been running over and over." But while Mundy broke perfectly on the ball, he didn't intercept it. He instead deflected it to Timmons, who did intercept it.

Just before the play, Timmons received some advice from both Tomlin and coordinator Dick LeBeau.

"They just always give me tips before the play," Timmons said. "They just make sure I'm always aware."

Timmons was aware, as is the rest of the NFL, which is beginning to pay more attention to one of the top young linebackers in the game.

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