The Seattle Seahawks flew to Pittsburgh to face the Pittsburgh Steelers, and they left with a 24-0 loss. It was exactly what the Steelers needed to exorcise the bad taste from their mouths from the loss to the Baltimore Ravens the previous week.
Steeler Nation reveled in the victory, and all was good in the world. However, the victory wasn’t the redemptive moment that it may have seemed.
Firstly, the victory came against the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks are not likely to be confused with the New England Patriots, or the Green Bay Packers, or the Baltimore Ravens. Nope, the Seahawks are more likely to be confused with the Oakland Raiders, or the Carolina Panthers.
But even against a weak opponent like the Seahawks, the Steelers still showed chinks in their armor. For example, on their first drive of the game, the Steelers were stopped at their own one yard line. They unsuccessfully attempted to score on 4th down, and the Seahawks took over on downs.
The Steelers’ offense left at least one touchdown on the field, and kicker Shaun Suisham missed a field goal that cost the team another 3 points.
On defense, the Steelers still showed room for improvement as well. They failed to get pressure on Tavaris Jackson for most of the first 3 quarters, despite the fact that Seattle started 2 rookies on their offensive line. It wasn’t until the 4th quarter, when the Steelers had a commanding lead, that Dick LeBeau really unleashed the dogs and started pressuring Jackson. However, by that time, Seattle was so far behind that they had no option but to throw on every play. I’m never particularly impressed when a team sacks a quarterback who has been forced to be one-dimensional.
Even the coaches didn’t have their best game. For example, why did they leave Ben Roethlisberger in the game until the very end, despite the fact that he had been injured earlier in the game and the team had a commanding lead? I know that Big Ben doesn’t like to come out of games, but this seemed like an unnecessary risk.
But despite these shortcomings, the team did pull off an impressive win.
The defense kept the Seahawks off the scoreboard, and held them to only 31 net rushing yards. They also sacked Tavaris Jackson 5 times, and held him to only 159 passing yards. Anytime you hold an opponent to fewer than 200 yards of total offense, it’s something to cheer about.
The offense also had quite a few highlights. For example, Big Ben played much better than he did last week against Baltimore. He threw for 298 yards and no interceptions, and ended the game with a QB rating of 115.7.
The wide receivers also did a nice job. Mike Wallace returned to the form that we’ve come to expect from him. He led the Steelers in receiving with 8 catches for 126 yards. More importantly, he had one of the long receptions that have become his trademark. Wallace had a 53 yard reception that he unfortunately couldn’t take all the way to the end zone.
In addition to Wallace’s performance, Antonio Brown also had a good game receiving the ball. Brown was the Steelers’ star receiver during the preseason, and he caught 4 passes for 67 yards against the Seahawks.
Isaac Redman also had a notable game. Redman ran for 49 yards and a touchdown backing up Rashard Mendenhall.
So while the Steelers left the game with a victory, they’re clearly not where they ultimately need to be. They still have areas that they need to improve in, and next week’s game against the Peyton Manning-less Indianapolis Colts may be just what the doctor ordered.
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