Many felt that with the injuries recently suffered by the Pittsburgh Steelers their matchup Sunday with the Seattle Seahawks would be a struggle. By about 4pm, the only thing that struggled was the Seahawks, as they were dominated by the team that beat them in the Super Bowl two seasons ago. This time, unlike that cold day in Detroit, the Steelers imposed their will, pitching an impressive 21-0 shutout to take them in the bye week at 4-1. What was so impressive was the fact that the Steelers did it without the following players: WR Hines Ward, WR Santonio Holmes (hurt in pregame warmups), S Troy Polamalu, CB Bryant McFadden, and NT Casey Hampton.
The Steelers offense dominated after a slow first quarter, outgaining the Hawks 342 yards to just 144 for Seattle. The Steelers rushing game, led by Willie Parker who ran for 102 yards, put up 163 total to just 38 for Seattle. As for the passing game, Ben Roethlisberger was in control for the Steelers, throwing for 206 yards and a score on 18-for-22 passing to all backup wide outs. “There were a lot of questions, obviously, with Hines being down and Santonio (being ruled out) right before the game, but there was no doubt in my mind those receivers would step up and they did a great job,” the Steelers QB said. “They got open for me and caught the ball.”
For the Hawks, they were outplayed all afternoon. With no push from their offensive line up front, they were unable to get Shaun Alexander going. He ran for just 25 yards on 11 carries. The west coast offense was stuck in the mud, as QB Matt Hasselbeck threw for just 116 yards on 13-for-27 passing. He threw a critical INT on the final play of the first half with the Hawks on the Steelers 14-yard line. They were never in it from that point on. “I’m surprised, especially with them having two outstanding players missing off their defense, and we were feeling pretty good about our game offensively,” tight end Marcus Pollard said.
The Steelers came out on the first drive of the third quarter, and ran off over 10 minutes of the clock with a 17-play 80-yard drive that ended with Najeh Davenport scoring the first of his two short TD’s. Davenport ran for 58 yards on 7 carries, and caught 4 passes for 38 yards. “Coach (Mike) Tomlin says that a lot: We’ve got 53 playmakers, and you’ve got to make plays when your number is called,” Davenport said. “A lot of guys’ numbers got called.” The second half was so overwhelming, the Steelers ran 39 total plays to Seattle’s 13, and outgained the Hawks 178 yards to 28. Seattle did not have a first down in the second half, and went punted on four straight possessions.
Seattle returns home next week to take on the winless New Orleans Saints at Qwest Field. The Steelers enjoy their bye as they look to get players healthy, then return to action two weeks from tonight as they take on the Denver Broncos at Invesco Field at 8:15pm on Sunday, October 21st.