PITTSBURGH -- A few weeks back, Jason Worilds was asked a rather innocuous question: "What does it feel like to sack a quarterback?"
You know, what's it like to deliver one of those highlight reel, slobber-knockers? The kind that can incite the home crowd or silence one on the road.
The Steelers linebacker came prepared with a stock answer. Well, sort of. First, Worilds asked for a reporter's phone. With remarkable speed and nimbleness in his 6-foot-2, 240-pound fingers, Worilds quickly unearthed an old NFL Films video on Youtube.
In the grainy clip, the late Deacon Jones, the godfather of the sack, says: "It's like you devastate a city or you cream a multitude of people. It's like you take all the offensive players in one bag and I take a baseball bat and beat on the bag."
"It's just like that," the soft-spoken Worilds said.
Last week in Atlanta, Worilds delivered just such a beat-on-the-bag hit on Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, but it was negated after he was called for a controversial unnecessary roughness penalty.
On Sunday, Worilds didn't blow up Kansas City QB Alex Smith and didn't get any penalties, either, but the Steelers' outside linebacker did record two sacks -- that counted -- in a much-needed 20-12 win.
Those two sacks gave Worilds 6.5 on the season, or 1.5 less than he had in 2013, his breakout season.
It's not the total that Worilds or the Steelers, who signed the five-year veteran to a one-year, $9.75 million transition contract in March, would like. But Worilds' role has changed this season, and he's been asked to drop back into coverage more. In the Steelers' Week 9 win over Baltimore, it even yielded Worilds' first interception when he picked off Ravens QB Joe Flacco.
But on Sunday, Worilds was able to get back to doing what he loves best and what he's done more than any Steeler since 2012: Get after the quarterback. Worilds' 19.5 sacks over the past three seasons are the most by any Steelers defender.
"I was happy with that," he said. "Happy to be able to rush consistently, being able to help contribute, pressure and make plays.
"As a rusher, there's nothing like it."
Along with his sacks, two of a season-high six for the Steelers, Worilds had three tackles and two hits on Smith. Worilds couldn't say if it was the Steelers' best defensive performance of the season. He said they simply try to better that of one the week before.
The Steelers have been doing that lately.
"I think we're just growing cohesive as a unit," Worilds said. "Everyone understands what everybody's role is. You do that, and you can go out and execute."
As a pending free agent, Worilds' future beyond this season is in question. The Steelers could try to squeeze one more year from James Harrison, who'll be 37 next year, and they can hope that Jarvis Jones develops into the first-round pick they envisioned last year.
More games like Sunday though and the price tag for Worilds will keep going up. But with a chance to win the division and host a wild-card game with a win Sunday night against Cinicinnati, Worilds isn't concerned about his contract.
"That'll sort itself out," he said.
More about Steelers
- ARTICLE: Further Review: Steelers are who we thought they were
- ARTICLE: Conference Call: Desperate times, desperate measures on defense
- Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
- Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs
More about Jason Worilds
- ARTICLE: Mueller: Some days, sports are too wide to focus on just one
- ARTICLE: Steelers sign kicker Suisham to 4-year contract extension