Seahawks flat-out beaten
How good was the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense Sunday? So good that, even without two starters, it shut out the Seahawks 21-0, marking the...
Seattle Times staff reporter
The defeat Sunday at Pittsburgh marked the first time the Seahawks had been shut out since the 2000 season. A look at the 10 shutouts in franchise history:
at New England
Oct. 9, 1977
Nov. 4, 1979
Oct. 18, 1981
Dec. 19, 1982
Dec. 23, 1989
Sept. 9, 1990
Oct. 11, 1992
Oct. 18, 1992
Sept. 3, 2000
Oct. 7, 2007
PITTSBURGH — How good was the Pittsburgh Steelers' defense Sunday?
So good that, even without two starters, it shut out the Seahawks 21-0, marking the first time Seattle has been held scoreless since September 2000.
And how good was the Steelers' offense?
So good that Brian Russell's arms were bruised and scratched from spending the afternoon chasing receivers and running backs all over the field.
The Steelers' offense, even without its starting receivers, dominated the time of possession, keeping the ball out of the Seahawks' hands for all but 19 minutes, 15 seconds, and barely more than five minutes of the second half.
In the end, the Steelers were the better of two 3-1 teams on a hot fall day at Heinz Field, stuffing the Seahawks in the Super Bowl XL rematch.
"Pittsburgh, they had their way with us," Seahawks running back Shaun Alexander said.
Especially in the second half, when the game got away from the Seahawks.
Leading 7-0, the Steelers converted three third-and-long plays and overcame three holding penalties during a 10:17 drive. It ended in a touchdown run by Najeh Davenport, the first of his two in the game, with 4:43 left in the third quarter.
The Seahawks managed just two first downs for the game from that point, and that made for a far too busy day for the defense.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had 88 passing yards at halftime. He finished with 206 and completed all nine of his second-half attempts, often scrambling out of trouble and making connections while on the run. Running back Willie Parker, a Super Bowl hero, had just 17 yards on 10 carries at halftime. He finished with 102 yards on 28 rushes.
"We should have found a way to get off the field on third down," Russell said.
"We didn't get any turnovers, and I thought that was the biggest difference in the game," linebacker Julian Peterson said.
The Seahawks' offense was not a difference and only had one real chance to score. Following Roethlisberger's 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Heath Miller late in the second quarter, the Seahawks looked to respond.
Starting from their own 17-yard line, they converted a third down with a 30-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck to Ben Obomanu. Two players later, Hasselbeck hit tight end Marcus Pollard for 22 yards over the middle and was hit late by Pittsburgh's Anthony Smith, putting the ball at the Steelers' 14 after the personal-foul penalty.
After an incomplete pass, the Seahawks had seven seconds left to score. But Hasselbeck was intercepted in the end zone by Ike Taylor when he underthrew Obomanu.
A mistake, yes, but the Seahawks might have cost themselves even more of an opportunity when they did not use a single timeout during the drive. They lost precious seconds after Hasselbeck was sacked on the fourth play of the drive.
"You can't take them with you," Hasselbeck said of not calling a timeout. "Probably have to look at the film there. At the very least, we should have come out of there with three points."
The drive took place without receiver Deion Branch, who sprained his right foot early in the second quarter and did not return. Fullback Mack Strong also exited early with a pinched nerve in the lower neck and linebacker Leroy Hill missed time in the second half because of cramps.
The Steelers swarmed to Alexander, holding him to 25 yards on 11 carries, the former league Most Valuable Player 's lowest rushing total since November 2002 when he had 18 yards against Denver. Pittsburgh took away Hasselbeck's preferred options and forced safety-valve throws for small gains and never gave up anything big out of their base defense.
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren compared the defeat to one the Seahawks were dealt last season, when the Chicago Bears dumped a previously 3-0 Seattle team 37-6.
"There wasn't much room for error with us today," Holmgren said. "We lost a couple of guys that are key to us.
"For those guys on the team that didn't realize what you have to do to compete against a team like this — a good football team — we learned it today," he said. "And we were able to use that game last year in a positive way."
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company
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