The final stats for linebacker Lawrence Timmons in the Steelers 19-16 win over the Baltimore Ravens told the tale of what this game meant to him. After coaches reviewed the film post-game, he tallied a career high 20 tackles, 17 of them solo stops.
When you talk about not leaving anything on the field, it's safe to say Timmons didn't.
"We knew we had to have a lot of energy, playing Baltimore, an AFC North game in our house," said Timmons. "We hadn't put together a win for our fans at home so that was big. Mike Tomlin preached that we owed it to our fans, so that gave us a lot of energy to play off of and you saw that in the game."
Timmons made his presence known from the get-go and never slowed down as he played a key role in holding the potentially explosive Ray Rice to just 45 yards on 15 carries.
"I was trying to make all of the plays for our defense," said Timmons. "Coach (Dick) LeBeau trusts me and put me in position to make plays and I try to do that for our team."
The game played out just as Timmons expected it to, a hard-fought battle that wasn't decided until the closing seconds.
"It's unbuckling our chinstraps when we hit. It's blood, sweat everything," said Timmons. "That is always how it's been. Our rivalry has always been like that. Both teams have always had hard-hitting, defensive, grind it out games. That is how we both play. That is what makes the rivalry interesting. As a defensive player this is the type of game you get up for."
After losing the first four games of the season the Steelers have put together a two-game win streak and Timmons said they need to feed off of that energy moving forward.
"We have young guys that were thrown off from us starting 0-4," said Timmons. "We need to show them this now is Steelers football. We win pounding it out on both sides of the ball. That is what we have been doing the past two weeks and getting back to basics."
This week the team heads out West to take on the Oakland Raiders, a rivalry that was intense back in the 1970s and has to be approached this time around with the same passion as Sunday's game against the Ravens was.
"This type of play has to be our identity from here on out," said Timmons. "It's how we play ball. The coaches have been preaching it. The players believe and once you believe, you are going to achieve it. We are going to apply it on the grass from here on out."