Seahawks beat Steelers 28-26, start season 2-0 for 1st time since 2013
The Seahawks’ Week 2 trip to Pittsburgh was full of a lot of firsts.
Safety Bradley McDougald made the first interception of Seattle’s season. DK Metcalf caught his first NFL touchdown. Tight end Will Dissly had his first two-TD game.
And then there are the two most important firsts: The Seahawks won in Pittsburgh for the first time since 1999, which in turn gives them their first 2-0 start to a season since they opened 2013 with four straight wins on their way to a Super Bowl championship.
Russell Wilson completed 29 of 35 passes for 300 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, leading the Seahawks to an important 28-26 victory over the Steelers on Sunday in a game most expected Seattle to lose.
The big story of the game, however, was the Steelers’ loss of longtime quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who didn’t return to the field after halftime due to an elbow injury. Pittsburgh had to turn to second-year backup Mason Rudolph, whose first offensive series in the NFL ended with McDougald’s interception off a deflection. That set up Dissly’s second TD catch off a Wilson pass, giving the Seahawks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish – though Pittsburgh didn’t make it easy.
Here’s a quarter-by-quarter look at the Seahawks’ victory.
Seahawks 0, Steelers 0
The first quarter gave a pretty good indication that the Seahawks and Steelers were set for a defensive struggle.
The Seahawks set the tone on the opening offensive series for Pittsburgh, with Branden Jackson sacking Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger on third down to force a three-and-out. It was a nice start in a homecoming for the 26-year-old Seattle defensive end – Jackson hails from the Pittsburgh area.
The Steelers answered Seattle’s sack, however – and then some. Linebacker T.J. Watt ended the Seahawks’ first series with a sack of QB Russell Wilson, and back-to-back sacks on Seattle’s second drive (both of which involved Pittsburgh DE Stephon Tuitt) forced Seattle to punt despite both running back Chris Carson and wide receiver Tyler Lockett making gains of over 20 yards earlier in the series.
Taking those sacks were preferable over how Seattle’s third series ended. A fumble by Carson was recovered by Steelers linebacker Mark Barron, and the only thing that stopped him from returning it for a touchdown was a penalty for blocking in the back on Pittsburgh. Barron’s fumble recovery put the Steelers deep in Seahawks territory as play entered the second quarter.
Steelers 10, Seahawks 7
After losing the ball on a fumble in their own territory late in the first quarter, the Seahawks nearly stopped the Steelers to force them to attempt a field goal. Unfortunately for Seattle, linebacker Mychal Kendricks’ breakup of a pass to wide receiver Jaylen Samuels was ruled pass interference, setting up running back James Conner for a 1-yard TD plunge to put the Steelers on the board first.
Luckily for the Seahawks, a penalty on Pittsburgh allowed them to even the score. Seattle’s Jason Myers kicked a 46-yard field goal, but a personal foul for unnecessary roughness on Steelers nose tackle Daniel McCullers allowed the Seahawks to take the points off the board and keep driving with a first down at the Pittsburgh 14. That was all the opportunity Wilson needed, as he found tight end Will Dissly on the very next play for a 14-yard TD strike to tie the game. It was Dissly’s third career touchdown and first since Week 4 of last year, which was when he suffered a patellar injury that ended the UW Huskies product’s rookie season.
It had been quite some time since the Seahawks had scored in a game in Pittsburgh, as 710 ESPN Seattle’s Curtis Rogers pointed out.
Will Dissly's 14 yd TD reception was the first points scored by the Seahawks in Pittsburgh since a Todd Peterson FG in 1999.
— Curtis Rogers (@AKidFromKent) September 15, 2019
The Seahawks hadn't scored an offensive TD in Pittsburgh since a Warren Moon to Christian Fauria 14 yd pass in 1998
— Curtis Rogers (@AKidFromKent) September 15, 2019
The Steelers answered with a 41-yard field goal, which could be considered a victory for Seattle since Pittsburgh marched right down the field into Seahawks territory. Penalties again were a factor, as the Steelers backed themselves up with offensive pass interference on a third-down completion, taking them from a fourth-and-1 to a third-and-14.
Seattle opened its next series at the Steelers 13, but Wilson and the offense went right to work with their two-minute drill. Wilson found wide receiver Malik Turner on the first play, who crossed the field for a 30-yard gain. The Seahawks moved into Steelers territory, but a 10-second runoff for an injury (more on that below) and a personal foul on DK Metcalf made Seattle settle for a 58-yard field goal attempt by Myers that just missed as the first half came to a close.
Turner and Lockett led the Seahawks with 54 receiving yards apiece, Turner on three receptions and Lockett on six. Wilson completed 15 of 19 pass attempts for 160 yards but was sacked four times for a loss of 26 yards. Carson rushed for a game-high 44 yards on seven carries in the first half.
Injury update: Right guard D.J. Fluker, who struggled throughout the first half, had to leave the game late in the second quarter with an ankle injury. Ethan Pocic entered the game in Fluker’s place.
PIT – James Conner 1 run, 14:44 (Chris Boswell kick, 7-0 PIT)
SEA – Will Dissly 14 pass from Russell Wilson, 8:40 (Jason Myers kick, 7-7)
PIT – Boswell 41 FG, 2:28 (10-7 PIT)
Seahawks 21, Steelers 13
The complexion of the game changed drastically as the third quarter began.
Ben Roethlisberger, the heart and soul of Pittsburgh’s offense since he was drafted in 2004, was knocked out of the game with an elbow injury to his right (throwing) arm, resulting in backup Mason Rudolph, a 2018 third-round pick, entering a regular season game for the first time in his career. Rudolph’s first drive was one for him to forget and one for the Seahawks to remember, as safety Bradley McDougald made a diving catch on a deflected pass and just stayed in-bounds for the first interception of Seattle’s season.
That was the chance the Seahawks needed, and Wilson led them down the field on their second touchdown drive of the day. To be more specific, it was their second touchdown drive of the day to end on a Will Dissly reception, as the second-year tight end hauled in a 12-yard pass for his fourth TD in six career games.
The Steelers looked much better in Rudolph’s second series, however. Conner had a 14-yard run up the middle, and the Seahawks were burned on a flea flicker for the second time in as many weeks as Rudolph completed the first pass of his NFL career on a 46-yard connection with JuJu Smith-Schuster. Pittsburgh settled for a 33-yard field goal that pulled the Steelers back within a point.
The Seahawks made sure Pittsburgh didn’t stay that close for long. Seattle answered with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that ended on an impressive 37-yard TD run by Rashaad Penny that featured Wilson of all people clearing the way as his lead blocker.
— Seattle Seahawks (@Seahawks) September 15, 2019
SEA – Dissly 12 pass from Wilson, 9:49 (Myers kick, 14-10 SEA)
PIT – Boswell 33 FG, 6:25 (14-13 SEA)
SEA – Rashaad Penny 37 run, 2:56 (Myers kick, 21-13 SEA)
Seahawks 28, Steelers 26
Once again, a penalty played a huge role in a pivotal moment of the game.
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll took advantage of the new rule allowing teams to challenge non-calls they think were pass interference, and he made the right call as it was ruled that Lockett was interfered with on a second-and-20 deep pass attempt. That moved Seattle all the way from its own 27 to Pittsburgh’s 35, and Wilson found Metcalf in the end zone for a 28-yard TD. Metcalf bobbled the pass but eventually came down with it for his first career touchdown reception.
The Seahawks weren’t out of the woods yet, however.
The Steelers had already scored with about 11 minutes to go on an 8-yard pass from Rudolph to Vance McDonald, though they couldn’t convert a two-point conversion to tie. And after Seattle pushed its lead back to nine points, Carson lost a fumble for the second time in the game and third time this season. This fumble was returned to Seattle’s 3 inside the final six minutes, and a play later Pittsburgh was back within two points thanks to another short pass from Rudolph to McDonald.
The biggest play of the game was yet to come. After Wilson scrambled for 15 yards on third-and-16 going into the two-minute warning, the Seahawks opted to go for it on fourth-and-1 at the Pittsburgh 33. Carson ran for 2 yards, giving the Hawks a first down and allowing them to kneel their way to victory.
PIT – Vance McDonald 8 pass from Chris Rudolph, 11:16 (Pass failed, 21-19 SEA)
SEA – DK Metcalf 28 pass from Wilson, 7:15 (Myers kick, 28-19 SEA)
PIT – McDonald 3 pass from Rudolph, 5:34 (Boswell kick, 28-26 SEA)