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Kaboly: Woodley wasn’t at fault for Pryor’s TD run


Things aren’t always as they appear, and Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley has to be thrilled about that.


On Terrelle Pryor’s record-breaking 93-yard touchdown run on the first play of last week’s 21-18 loss to Oakland, it sure appeared that Woodley was one of the main, if not the main, culprit.


Turns out he wasn’t. In fact, he was just doing his job.


How the defense was called, Woodley’s responsibility on that particular play was to attack the running back regardless if he actually had the ball or not – a very common practice when defending the read option (Jason Worilds did the same thing in the second half).


Woodley acknowledged such during Wednesday’s open locker room.


“My responsibility on that play was to go down and take the running back,” Woodley said. “My focus on that play wasn’t even to look at the quarterback.”


If it wasn’t Woodley’s fault, then whose fault was it?


Well, Woodley wouldn’t say anything specific except “everybody has a responsibility.”


The blame lies with a handful of players – Troy Polamalu not getting off his block, even though he had outside contain, and Ryan Clark for biting so badly on the pulling right guard. But the main responsibility for the quarterback was linebacker Lawrence Timmons.


Timmons (as seen in the photo) jumped the run-action and is taken out of the play when he gets caught up in the scrum at the line of scrimmage and eventually falls to the ground.


“It was just a mistake and those things happen in games,” Woodley said. “It ended up happening and it cost us.”


Author: Mark Kaboly

Mark Kaboly is the Pittburgh Steelers beat writer for the Tribune-Review. Mark has covered more than 300 NFL football games in all 32 NFL cities as well as three Super Bowls -- XL in Detroit, XLIII in Tampa and XLV in Dallas. A Belle Vernon Area graduate, Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English with a specialization in journalism from California University of Pennsylvania. Mark lives in Port Vue with his wife, Jennifer; daughter Briella; and boys Rocco and Bugsley Pug


  1. buncie says:

    Bout time for Tomlin to move on with his lifes work.

  2. Arriba Wilver says:

    You mean because he has Dick LeBeau as Defensive Coordinator? I doubt Tomlin drew up that play, but maybe he did.

  3. Jeff says:

    THis is his lifes work. No one said that about Cowher after three straight losing seasons.

  4. Chuck H says:

    I most heartily agree that the Steelers, certainly need a new coach and/or offensive
    coordinator, their plays are so predictable. It wouldn’t hurt either to get a back-up QB, who
    isn’t afraid to run with the ball, even on a designed run play. The teams with a qb who runs
    the ball, is very successful in this league. It’s too late this season, but GO, STEELERS!!!

  5. Mike412 says:

    Any coaching staff that was so totally unprepared for a run by a QB whose running is far superior to his passing should be terminated en masse. This staff, from top to bottom, is woeful.

  6. The entire Steelers team is to blame for this debacle. Now hopefully, they’ll get over the shock and embarassment enough so they can beat New England at New England on Sunday.

  7. James Hersch says:

    Steelers need to pull a Chuck Noll, we can go 4 and 12 without many of these underachiving players. Chuck cut or traded many of my favorite players in his initial few years as head coach. I would collect draft choices and realize this is a bad team. Rebuilding is in order top to base not a PR transition political correct talking points for the press (I.e. team is on fast track to nowhere).

  8. Rick A says:

    Thank you.
    I thought I was watching a different game feed.
    It was Timmons running himself out of the play.

  9. Rick Alpern says:

    Thank you, Mark.
    I thought iI was getting a different video feed.
    It was Timmons running himself out of position that opened the hole.
    BTW Mesko may have bobbled the ball but Paulson let the rusher get inside of him and he blocked air.

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