Steelers notebook: Tomlin plays role of his own on kick return

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On Jacoby Jones' 73-yard kick return that led to a field goal and a 16-7 lead, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was standing on the white sideline marker, his right foot on the field, when Jones came near. Tomlin had his back to the play but was able to get out of the way without interfering with Jones.

No penalty was called on the play. Jones, though, had to shift slightly to the inside to avoid Tomlin, perhaps enabling Cortez Allen to make the tackle.

"Mike Tomlin stopped us one time," said Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco. "I took some flak kind of joking around at the Super Bowl saying that I was going to run out onto the field and tackle somebody if this guy breaks it. I caught some flak for that; that's exactly what he just did. He was looking at the big screen the whole entire time. He knew where he was. He knew where Jacoby was. He pulled my move."

Tomlin said he didn't think he interfered with the return, but added that he was indeed on the field when he should have been on the sideline.

"I always watch the returns on the Jumbotron, it provides a better perspective for me," Tomlin said. "I lost my placement as he broke free and saw at the last second how close I was to the field of play.

"I do it quite often, like everybody else in the National Football League. I was wrong, I accept responsibility."

As for Jones, he saw Tomlin from yards away and wasn't sure if the two were going to collide. But he stopped short of blaming that for the tackle.

"As soon as I hit the hole and I was running down the sideline, I was looking at him the whole time like, 'Is he going to move?' " Jones said. "Literally, I was thinking, 'Is he going to move?' I just weaved out of the way. I broke my stride a little bit but I still should not have gotten caught. I would have done the same thing if I was him."

Ravens coach John Harbaugh joked about the incident after the game.

"I was wondering, did they credit him with a tackle on that?" Harbaugh said. "Hey, that stuff happens. It happens."

Shipley a familiar face

Moon native and Penn State product A.Q. Shipley, drafted by the Steelers in the seventh round in 2009, started at left guard for the Ravens. That makes five starters from their 2009 draft starting in the NFL, none with the Steelers.

The others are guard Kraig Urbik and fullback Frank Summers in Buffalo, Mike Wallace in Miami and Keenan Lewis in New Orleans. Ziggy Hood has been demoted from his starting job with the Steelers, although he did start the previous two games because of a foot injury to Brett Keisel, who returned to start Thursday. However, Keisel then left the game early because of the injury.

Injury shuffles

LaMarr Woodley missed his third consecutive game with a calf injury. Jason Worilds made his third consecutive start at left outside linebacker and rookie Jarvis Jones started at right outside linebacker. Al Woods started at nose tackle for injured Steve McLendon.

The other inactives for the Steelers: quarterback Landry Jones, wide receiver Derek Moye, cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, tight end Richard Gordon and linebacker Stevenson Sylvester.

Baltimore's inactives: safety Brynden Trawick, safety Omar Brown, running back Bernard Scott, center Ryan Jenson, wide receiver Deonte Thompson, linebacker John Simon and defensive tackle Brandon Williams.

New sack leader

Worilds sacked Flacco on the first defensive series of the game for the Steelers, and again late in the first half, giving him the team lead with six sacks. Woodley has five.

Durable Timmons excels, too

Steelers linebacker Lawrence Timmons made his 49th consecutive start, the longest active streak on the team.

Timmons has missed only two starts in his career. Since the start of the 2010 season, the seventh-year veteran out of Florida State has started more games (58) and played in more (59) than any Steelers linebacker and has led the team in tackles in that period.

He came into Thursday night leading the 2013 Steelers in tackles with 108. This is the third season in the past four in which he has registered more than 100 tackles.

Last year, he became the first Steelers player in 10 years (since Joey Porter in 2002) to lead the team or tie the lead in tackles, sacks and interceptions.

Cat's back in the bag

The wildcat formation popped back into the Steelers offense in the first half after disappearing for several games. Twice they lined up with running back Le'Veon Bell in the shotgun formation and Roethlisberger split wide. On the first, Roethlisberger returned to take the snap. On the second, Roethlisberger remained split and Bell took the snap and ran 6 yards for a first down.

Third-down magic

While the Steelers converted 7 of 13 first downs, the Ravens were even better, converting 10 of 17, including 6 of 8 in the first half when they built a 10-0 lead.

"I think our quarterback made some incredible plays and, at times, scrambled around," Harbaugh said. "Joe, of late, has really been moving around and making some incredible plays outside the pocket."

Ed Bouchette, Gene Collier and The Baltimore Sun contributed to this report. Gerry Dulac: and Twitter @gerrydulac.

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