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A breakout performance by Lawrence Timmons highlights defensive performance

That appears more like the athletic, playmaking linebacker the Steelers drafted in the first round in 2007. Whatever got into Lawrence Timmons today, the Steelers would like to see it the rest of the season. If they did, this team will be a defensive power.

Justin K. Aller - Getty Images

Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons is developing a borderline Flacconian level of peak-and-valley play.

Games when he's at his peak, he's a joy to watch. Sunday was one of those games.

In probably the best all around game of Timmons' six-year career, he looked ahead of each snap, mentally razor-sharp and fast as any linebacker in the game.

Heading into Week 5, Timmons had 12 total tackles. At the final buzzer, he had nine tackles - eight solo - in Week 5 alone. This doesn't speak of the slew of pressure he generated. There was a stretch in the first half where he had a forced fumble and recovery, a tackle for loss and a pressure. All of those plays came on second down, and of the two where the Eagles retained the ball, it set up 3rd-and-long situations.

The amount of conversions the Eagles had on those third downs? Zero.

It's difficult to comprehend what, exactly, happened to Timmons between where he was in Week 3 in terms of recognition to the way he performed in Week 5, but it's not a coincidence the Steelers suddenly were getting pressure and sacks from seldom-heard names like Ziggy Hood and Jason Worilds.

If anything, it seemed LaMarr Woodley's absence propelled the team even more, but Timmons was a one-man wrecking machine, particularly in the first half.

Not that he wasn't outstanding in the second half. He peppered key plays against the run, in coverage and in his pass rush, as the Steelers largely shut down an outstanding offensive game in what was pretty close to a must-win situation.

It may actually be a good thing there's only a few days between games for the Steelers. Timmons only has to keep whatever he used today bottled up for four days instead of seven.