Before Monday night, I was vaguely familiar with Steelers linebacker James Harrison because he once bodyslammed a drunk Browns fan who ran into the field.
Now, I'll remember him for having one of the most brilliant defensive performances we've seen. The man his teammates and coaches call "Silverback" forced three fumbles, recorded 2 1/2 sacks, intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble -- in the first half.
He slacked off in the second half and had to settle for 3 1/2 sacks, nine tackles and six quarterback hurries. The former Kent State Flash was cut by the Ravens earlier in his career, and he admitted that it was something he thought about before the game.
Harrison has been one of the club's top specials teams players for the last two seasons, but the Steelers decided to remove him from two of his three units to allow him to have more energy at linebacker. At this point, I'm thinking Pittsburgh might stick with that plan.
He said it's the best game he's had since sacking Ben Roethlisberger four times in a college game. After Monday's game, Ravens defensive tackle Trevor Pryce suggested to a local reporter that Harrison's big day was a fluke.
Told of Pryce's statement, Harrison said, "Who's Trevor Pryce?" Who does he play for?"
Harrison was surly throughout the interview session, and even found time to chastise Hashmarks for repeating a question. I couldn't tell if he was serious or joking with me, and P.R. director Dave Lockett gave me a quick tutorial on how to stay in Harrison's good graces.
He seemed uncomfortable with all the media attention, and said, "A game like this makes me not want to have a game like this."
Asked if he recalls a linebacker having a better game than Harrison, Mike Tomlin said, "I'd be hard-pressed to say that I have. It was his night. He had a whale of a football game and we needed it."