Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron (85) leaps over Seattle Seahawks defensive back Marquise Blair (27) on his way to a touchdown during the first half a game Sunday in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Eric Ebron (85) leaps over Seattle Seahawks defensive back Marquise Blair (27) on his way to a touchdown during the first half a game Sunday in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Don Wright)

Grading the Seahawks in their 23-20 OT loss to the Steelers

An improved performance in the second half bumped the grades higher, despite the defeat.

Here’s how the Seattle Seahawks grade out in their 23-20 overtime loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night at Heinz Field:

OFFENSE

Playing without quarterback Russell Wilson and running back Chris Carson because of injury, the expectations were understandably modest, and in the first half the Seahawks lived up to that as they gained just 65 yards. The switch to an almost full-time ground attack in the third quarter turned the team’s fortunes, as Alex Collins broke out and became Seattle’s first 100-yard rusher since 2019. Credit Geno Smith for leading the Seahawks on the last-second drive that allowed Seattle to get the field goal that forced overtime. But his fumble deep in his own territory in OT was fatal.

Grade: C-

DEFENSE

Despite the loss, this performance was a substantial step forward for Seattle’s defense. The Seahawks allowed just 345 yards after tying an NFL record by allowing 450-plus in the previous four straight. Seattle got key stops throughout the second half and overtime — though strong safety Jamal Adams couldn’t come up with a sure interception in the fourth quarter that could have been the decisive moment. The Seahawks may have solved their left-cornerback woes with the emergence of Tre Brown. And the defense deserves zero blame for Pittsburgh’s game-winning field goal.

Grade: B

SPECIAL TEAMS

Jason Myers had ice water in his veins as he nailed the 43-yard field goal as time expired in regulation to force overtime, despite the chaos and long delay that immediately preceded the attempt. After giving up a long return on the game’s opening kickoff, the kick and punt coverage was good the rest of the way, and DeeJay Dallas seems to have found himself as a kickoff returner. Punter Michael Dickson was having a poor day by his standards, including a shank and a punt into the end zone from the opponent’s 40, and he wasn’t helped on a play where Seattle botched an easy down inside the 5. But Dickson boomed a 64-yarder when needed most late in the fourth quarter.

Grade: B

COACHING

There were some truly head-scratching moments for Seattle’s coaches in the first half, including the decision to go back to Sidney Jones at cornerback after Brown’s excellent first series, as well as the defensive schemes that had defensive end Benson Mayowa dropping in coverage. But the thing that got the Seahawks back into the game was the decision to switch to the power running game. On defense, Seattle used Adams the way he’s most effective by getting him closer to the line of scrimmage. And it was a wise use of a challenge when Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s incomplete pass was overturned into a fumble.

Grade: B-

OVERALL

Seattle looked down and out at halftime, and with the Seahawks playing without Wilson for the first time since 2011 it looked like Seattle might be dead in the water without its franchise quarterback. The Seahawks showed fight to get back into the game, and this at least shows Seattle can still compete while Wilson sits at least two more games. But the loss drops the Seahawks to 2-4, and with both Arizona (6-0) and Los Angeles (5-1) winning this weekend, the NFC West title is probably already out of reach with 11 games still to play.

Grade: C+

– Nick Patterson, Herald writer

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