Steelers linebackers took some heavy blows Sunday, but they bounced back to make the plays that mattered in a 27-20 victory over the Atlanta Falcons at Georgia Dome. It didn't look good when inside linebacker Lawrence Timmons dropped to his knees after twisting his back. Then, linebacker Vince Williams lumbered off with a stinger. The Steelers already were thin at the position, with 12-year veteran James Harrison dressed in sweats. And the team's past two No. 1 picks, Jarvis Jones and Ryan Shazier, are still on the mend. Jones and Shazier played for the second week in a row — albeit sparingly — after missing significant time. They had a combined two tackles, but they've added depth to a defense that rotates linebackers in both the base and sub-package sets. Jones, who missed nine games with a right-wrist injury, played mostly on special teams. He twice broke up the Falcons' wedge on kickoff returns to free up safety Shamarko Thomas to wrestle down feared return specialist Devin Hester inside the 15-yard line. The Steelers, though, may need Jones to split duty with Arthur Moats in the final two regular-season games, beginning with Sunday's encounter with the Kansas City Chiefs (8-6), who will arrive at Heinz Field trying to keep alive their AFC playoff chances. “We played the whole game and kept the fire,” Jones said. “The Falcons made their plays, but we stayed with it and finished it. “I didn't make any plays, but I felt comfortable out there. I was doing my assignments within the offense. So, I felt I did a pretty good job.
Injury-thinned Steelers linebackers corps stands tall in win over Falcons
Pittsburgh Tribune Review | Dec 16