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Print

Steelers blank Seahawks, 24-0

Posted Sep 18, 2011

STEELERS 24, SEAHAWKS 0

Steelers’ record: 1-1
One year ago: 2-0
Series record (including playoffs): Steelers lead, 9-8

STORYLINE
In the immediate aftermath of their 2011 regular season opener, Troy Polamalu used the word, “humbling.” A few days later, offensive coordinator Bruce Arians said, “We came out thinking we were AFC Champions …” Losing to the Ravens always is bad, but losing to the Ravens because of over-confidence and being ill-prepared to match their intensity is unacceptable and potentially alarming. How would the Steelers respond?

TURNING POINT
This seemed to be one of those games where the visiting team would need some help early in the form of mistakes to grow some confidence if it was to pull off the upset. The Steelers’ failure on that early goal-to-go situation could have been the start of allowing that to happen, but the defense forced a three-and-out and the offense responded with a 9-play, 60-yard drive ending with a 1-yard touchdown run by Rashard Mendenhall. That prevented the Seahawks from building any kind of momentum early and allowed the Steelers to be in control throughout.

STAT THAT STANDS OUT
In two full games, games in which he has played every defensive snap, Ike Taylor has allowed one completion – that coming late in the third quarter against the Seahawks – a 9-yard pass to WR Mike Williams on a second-and-10.

WHAT WENT RIGHT
* After the offense failed to punch it in on that first-and-goal from the 1-yard line, the Steelers defense allowed only two yards on three plays to force Seattle to punt from its own end zone.

* It’s not usually a good idea to field a punt at your own 5-yard line, but that’s what Antonio Brown did late in the first quarter. Brown made CB Richard Sherman miss, and then he set up a good block on safety Kam Chancellor to get around the corner. It ended up as a 41-yard return, and the Steelers offense had good field position to begin its third possession.

* On a first-and-10 at the 23-yard line, Ben Roethlisberger executed a play-action fake to Isaac Redman, and as he did it there seemed to be a big lane there over the right side. That play ended with Roethlisberger scrambling for 3 yards, and on second down Redman got the ball and burst through a hole on the right side on what turned into a 20-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead.

* On a third-and-5 to open the second half, Aaron Smith got pressure on Seahawks quarterback Tarvaris Jackson, whose throw to WR Doug Baldwin was broken up by a hit from William Gay.

* On the Steelers' second offensive possession of the second half, Ben Roethlisberger completed 7-of-7 for 77 yards and the 2-yard touchdown to Mike Wallace to give the Steelers a 24-0 lead late in the third quarter.

* It was a fine defensive series for the Steelers after the touchdown pass to Wallace made it 24-0 late in the third quarter. On first down, Troy Polamalu was all over an attempted pass to TE Anthony McCoy. He timed his break on the ball perfectly and just missed what would have been a pick-six. Then on third-and-1, William Gay knocked a pass away from WR Mike Williams to force a punt.

* Nice bounce-back. Curtis Brown committed a rookie mistake when he allowed himself to be drawn into shoving match during a Seattle punt that ended with him being penalized and the Steelers offense forced to start the possession in a hole. On the next punt, Brown was serving as a gunner and he got down under Daniel Sepulveda’s punt to team with Stevenson Sylvester to drop Leon Washington for no gain on the return.

WHAT WENT WRONG
* It was a first-and-goal at the 1-yard line after CB Brandon Browner was flagged for interfering with Mike Wallace, and the Steelers seemed poised to end their opening possession with a touchdown. On first down, Rashard Mendenhall was stopped for no gain; on second-and-goal, safety Atari Bigby sacked Ben Roethlisberger for a 7-yard loss; on third down, Roethlisberger scrambled to within inches of the goal line. On fourth down, Mendenhall attempted to go over the left side but was stopped for no gain by safety Earl Thomas.

* It was a costly 16-yard gain. On a completed pass to Heath Miller, Ben Roethlisberger took a hit to the knee from DE Raheem Brock. The play drew a roughing the passer penalty to give the Steelers a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line. Roethlisberger was able to leave the field under his own power, and Charlie Batch came into the game. After handing the ball off twice, Batch was replaced by Roethlisberger, who threw behind a slanting Hines Ward on third-and-goal. The Steelers settled for a 20-yard field goal and a 17-0 lead late in the first half.

* Shaun Suisham was having himself a fine afternoon there for a while. He was 1-for-1 in field goals, and his kickoffs were deep enough and high enough to prevent Seattle’s Leon Washington from doing what he does best. In fact, three of Suisham’s five kickoffs were touchbacks. But then he missed a 41-yard field goal into the open end of Heinz Field; it was wide right.

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