The Seattle Seahawks were outclassed in their Week 2 matchup against the seriously P.O.’ed Pittsburgh Steelers by a score of 24-0. Much had been made in the media of the thrashing the Steelers received last week against their division rivals, the Baltimore Ravens. Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin said he wanted his team to get back to playing Steeler football, referring to the Steelers’ reputation as being among the most physical teams in the league.
The Steelers defense held Seahawk running backs to 19 yards rushing on 10 carries, and sacked Tarvaris Jackson five times. The Seahawks were unable to sustain drives against such stellar defense, and never really even threatened to score.
On the other side of the ball, the Seahawks secondary was picked apart by the highly-efficient Pittsburgh quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. Despite taking several nasty-looking hits in the first half, Roethlisberger was his gritty, play-making self, throwing for nearly 300 yards and helping the Steelers convert on 8 of 15 third downs. Running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Isaac Redman combined to rush for 115 yards to balance the Steeler attack.
The Steelers took the lead with a Rashard Mendenhall touchdown near the end of the first quarter, and they extended it to 14-0 at the beginning of the second quarter thanks to Isaac Redman’s weaving, 20-yard scamper. Shaun Suisham hit a 20 yard field goal to push the Pittsburgh lead to 17 just before the end of the half.
Things didn’t improve a ton for Seattle in the second half, as they remained unable to score against Pittsburgh, and gave up several more long drives and a Mike Wallace touchdown reception.
An area that Pittsburgh repeatedly exploited was the Seahawk secondary. When Seahawk cornerbacks gave Steeler receivers space at the line before a play started, the Steelers would throw quick-hitting passes for safe, substantial gains. When Seahawk cornerbacks played close to the Steeler receivers, they did not jam or bump them at the line of scrimmage, and speedsters Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Emmanuel Sanders would simply run past Seahawk defenders.
While there seemed to be very little good to be taken from any aspect of Seahawk play, I think this was more a case of the Steelers playing Super-Bowl caliber football than the Seahawks playing atrociously. There are few, if any teams that have been favored to win on the road in Pittsburgh in the last decade, let alone a young, newly-built team like the Seahawks. The Steelers have had the same coach, quarterback, and defensive nucleus for the past six seasons. This continuity has allowed their players to become familiar with and gain confidence in their unique schemes and systems.
One relative bright spot for the Seahawks was the play of quarterback Tarvaris Jackson. He was the best player the team had on offense, completing over two thirds of his throws despite being pummeled in the pocket. He did not commit a turnover, and did not get much in the way of yards after the catch from his receivers. Jackson is not the same caliber quarterback as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, or Phillip Rivers, but he has enough talent around him to be a good game-manager. So far, he’s played without his number one receiver and without any support from the running game. If the team can get any production out of anyone else in its offense, he will be able to guide the team down the field.
About the Author
Written by Erik Olsoy
Erik was born in Columbus, Ohio during the only Ohio State football victory over Michigan in the 1980s, but moved to Washington state and grew up there. His loyalty to Ohio State remains strong, but his strongest allegiances developed toward Seattle sports. Though he recently graduated from Boston College, he has not yet been converted to the ways of New England Sportsdom, and only roots for the Red Sox against the Yankees because the Yankees are the root of all evil.