The Big Plays: Seattle Seahawks fall to Pittsburgh Steelers 30-23

Dec 31, 2023, 4:08 PM | Updated: 5:38 pm

Seattle Seahawks Pittsburgh Steelers Najee Harris...

Steelers RB Najee Harris dives for a touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks on Dec. 31, 2023. (Conor Courtney/Getty Images)

(Conor Courtney/Getty Images)

The Seattle Seahawks no longer control their own playoff destiny, as they fell to the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-23 on Sunday afternoon at Lumen Field.

Steelers 30, Seahawks 23: Instant Reaction | Recap | Box score

Despite a strong second quarter where Seattle scored a pair of touchdowns, the Seahawks were held out of the end zone after halftime as the Steelers pulled away.

The loss certainly hurts the Hawks, who came into the game holding the seventh of eight playoff spots in the NFC. Now at 8-8, Seattle still holds that spot, but it also knows it will go into its final game of the season next Sunday against Arizona tied with New Orleans and either Minnesota or Green Bay for the two final wild cards from the conference.

The Saints are 8-8 after beating Tampa Bay on Sunday, while the Vikings and Packers are both 7-8 and play each other on Sunday night. Tampa Bay is also 8-8, though it currently holds the NFC South lead due to a tiebreaker with New Orleans.

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So what transpired in Sunday’s game? Here’s a look at the big plays from the loss to Pittsburgh.


ā€¢ The Steelers struck first late in the opening frame, with Jaylen Warren bouncing through a few gaps for an 18-yard touchdown run that made it 7-0 Pittsburgh.


ā€¢ Seattle tied things up by going 75 yards in seven plays. DK Metcalf had the biggest play, a 33-yard catch on a pass from Geno Smith that put the Seahawks in Pittsburgh territory.

Kenneth Walker III took care of the rest. After immediately following Metcalf’s catch with an 11-yard run, he finished the job on the very next play with a 13-yard run to the end zone to even the score at 7-7.

ā€¢ Though the Steelers retook the advantage with a field goal, the Hawks grabbed it for the first time themselves with an eight-play, 75-yard drive capped off by this 11-yard TD throw from Smith to Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Seattle went ahead 14-10 with the score, but the lead wouldn’t last for long.

ā€¢ Pittsburgh went 75 yards on nine plays in under four minutes, scoring on a 9-yard run by Najee Harris with 1:32 to go before halftime. That gave the Steelers a 17-14 lead at the break.


ā€¢ Seattle had tied things up again with a Jason Myers field goal, but the Steelers continued to ride their run game to paydirt. Harris scored again, this time on a 4-yard rush, to push Pittsburgh back ahead 24-17.


ā€¢ The Seahawks inched a bit closer, making it a 24-20 game with a 42-yard field goal by Myers 90 seconds into the final frame. That was set up by an almost sideline-to-sideline scramble by Smith that picked up 25 yards as the third quarter ended. Prior to his run, Smith had also hit Metcalf for a 32-yard pass.

ā€¢ Pittsburgh tacked on another Chris Boswell field goal with just over seven minutes to go, meaning the Seahawks wouldn’t be able to take the lead on one possession without a two-point conversion. A long bomb from Mason Rudolph to George Pickens picked up 33 of the 65 yards that the Steelers covered on a 13-play series that took 6:23 off the clock.

ā€¢ Things really went sideways for Seattle as it began its next series. On first down, Smith was hit by Nick Herbig, who recorded a sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery all in one fell swoop to give the Steelers the ball back with a very short field, meaning they could quickly put the game away.

Pittsburgh didn’t put the game away, but it did make it a two-score game with another Boswell field goal, a 21-yard chip shot that put the Steelers ahead 30-20.

ā€¢ The Seahawks were able to answer, though just with a 24-yard field goal by Myers that only made it 30-23. They stalled out at the Pittsburgh 5 after going 69 yards on 11 plays, with an 18-yard pass to Colby Parkinson that got Seattle to the 5 serving as the biggest gain of the drive.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, Myers’ onside attempt was handled by Pittsburgh right at the two-minute warning, and the Steelers picked up a pair of first downs to allow them to run out the clock.

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