Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 28-26 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Heinz Field:
Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was at his absolute best, going 29-for-35 for 300 yards and three touchdowns, as well as using his legs to pick up key yardage in the final drive that ran out the clock. He had to be, given the struggles the offensive line had in allowing sacks and being flagged for holding penalties. Tight end Will Dissly emerged as a big-time weapon in the red zone, catching two touchdown passes. Running back Chris Carson is a hard runner, but losing two fumbles, including one at the exact wrong place and time late in the game, can not be tolerated.
The defensive numbers aren’t bad, despite allowing 26 points — Seattle gave up just 261 yards, and two of Pittsburgh’s touchdowns came on extremely short fields following Seahawks turnovers. The defense also created a turnover of its own that led to a TD. However, the Seahawks were gifted a back-up quarterback in the second half, as Pittsburgh starter Ben Roethlisberger was unable to continue because of an elbow injury, and Seattle never made Mason Rudolph, who was making his NFL debut, look uncomfortable.
Kick returner Rashaad Penny had two questionable decisions on returns, twice leaving Seattle pinned inside its own 20 to start drives. He eventually surrendered kick-return duties to Tyler Lockett. Punter Michael Dickson got Seattle out of a jam with a booming 59-yard punt that he placed right on the sideline. Kicker Jason Myers missed a 58-yard field goal as time expired in the first half, but that can be excused considering it would have been the longest field goal in Heinz Field history.
Full credit has to be given to the adjustment to the quick passing game, which became necessary after Wilson was sacked four times in the first half, and Lockett was successfully reintegrated into the offense with 10 catches after being targeted just twice the week before. There was some questionable time management at the end of the first half, a situation in which Seattle usually excels. Pete Carroll lost a challenge on pass interference in the first half, but his challenge on pass interference in the fourth quarter resulted in 38-yard gain and a first down on the drive that resulted in the game-winning score. And it was gutsy going for it on fourth-and-one with the game on the line.
It had been 20 years since the Seahawks last won in Pittsburgh. Sure, Seattle didn’t play a perfect game, and sure the Steelers are far from their vintage best — especially with Roethlisberger sitting out the second half — but the Seahawks are coming back from the long trip east with a win they surely will savor, and at 2-0 they’re off to their best start to a season since their Super Bowl championship season of 2013.
– Nick Patterson, Herald writer