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Colts vs. Steelers key matchups: OT Gosder Cherilus vs. OLB Jason Worilds

It's a big opportunity for Steelers' outside linebacker Jason Worilds, who's coming off his best game in Week 7.

Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

The fly in the ointment of an otherwise quality Colts offensive line is the relatively flat play they're getting from right tackle Gosder Cherilus. Watching him during the first seven games of the Colts' season should be enough to make Steelers' outside linebacker Jason Worilds very excited.

The Colts will no doubt provide tight end and running back help on Worilds coming off of the offensive right side but, with as much as they want to involve the tight ends in their passing game, there will be situations when Cherilus will have to stop Worilds one-on-one, and it doesn't appear he'll be able to do this consistently.

The bulk of the pressure the Colts surrender comes from that right side, and while they have a quarterback, Andrew Luck, who's smart enough to get rid of the ball and avoid pressure, the Baltimore Ravens came hard off that right side, getting pressure and turnovers in their Week 5 loss to Indianapolis. The Ravens' defense played the Colts' offense about as well as any team has done so far this year, but their own offense cost them that game more than anything else.

Worilds can create the same kind of disruption the Ravens did, and he's coming off his best game of the season. He had scores of pressures facing Houston's passing game and, if asked to rush the passer more often (an adjustment the Steelers' defense simply must make in this game), as opposed to dropping into coverage, he can make a big impact.

The reason Worilds is handling coverage assignments as often as he is (he rushes the passer on 71.2 percent of passing snaps, the 26th highest rate among NFL 3-4 outside linebackers) is due to coverage on running backs and tight ends in the flat. To get Worilds out of pass-rushing responsibility, teams have put running backs in the flat instead of keeping them behind the line of scrimmage to provide pass protection.

The return of uber-athletic rookie linebacker Ryan Shazier on the inside can help the Steelers free-up Worilds to rush the passer more, or at least use it as an opportunity to run more fire-zone blitzes over the Colts' A gap. If a running back is going to leave the backfield, and the Steelers want Worilds (who's excellent in coverage) to use the angle he has out wide to help defend that receiver, the Steelers can attack inside and look to force pressure that way.

It still keys off Worilds and what he'll do based on the situation. Look for the Colts to test this early in the game by spreading the defense out with three receivers, and send the running back into the flat to get a feel for what Worilds will do. The Steelers would be wise to give up Worilds on that play, setting up a later scenario in which Worilds rushes instead. Shazier has the speed to make up ground and get himself in position to be in the short passing lane for that running back.

Or, more simply put, the Steelers need to let their best pass-rusher attack the weaker of the two Colts' tackles.