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Cheat Sheet: Steelers vs. Seahawks

How to Watch/Listen

  • TV coverage: Broadcast locally in Pittsburgh on NBC (WPXI-TV)
  • Steelers Radio Network - Game coverage begins at 8:20 p.m. ET; Pregame programming begins at 6:00 p.m; Postgame coverage starts immediately following the game.
  • Don't miss a minute of the action... check out all of the ways that you can watch, listen and follow along as the Steelers on gameday. Click here >>>

Injury Update

The Steelers continued preparation for Sunday night's game against the Seattle Seahawks, and they appear to be a team on the mend.

Check out the most updated Injury Report: Click here >>>

Series History

The Seahawks entered the league in 1976 as an expansion team. Their first meeting against Pittsburgh came the following season when the Seahawks were in the AFC West from 1977 until 2001. The upstart Seahawks predictably lost their first two matchups against Pittsburgh in the late 70s, but Seattle evened up the series 2-2 and these teams exchanged wins up until 1992. This has been a very even series, with Seattle now holding a 10-9 (including the playoffs) edge after winning the last meeting in 2019 in Pittsburgh. During the Seahawks long stint as an AFC team, Seattle and the Steelers never met in the playoffs. However, they of course did meet in Super Bowl XL, with Pittsburgh prevailing.

Game action photos from the Steelers' Week 2 game against the Seattle Seahawks at Heinz Field

Matchup Rundown

  • The Steelers and Seahawks both are 2-3. Seattle's point differential sits at -6, while the Steelers are -18. Pittsburgh's opponents collectively are currently 17-8 and are +132 in point differential, while the Seahawks opponents are 12-13 with a +9-point differential.
  • The Steelers offense averages 5.2 yards per play and Seattle's defense is giving up 6.2 yards per play on defense. Seattle's offense is averaging 6.5 yards per play while the Steelers defense surrenders 5.7 yards per snap.
  • Both defenses are near the top of the league in the red zone, with the Steelers ranking fifth (43.7%) and Seattle ranking sixth (50%).
  • Here is how many yards each of the four prominent wide receivers in this upcoming game average per route run so far in 2021: DK Metcalf (2.59), Chase Claypool (2.47), Tyler Lockett (2.45) and Diontae Johnson (2.26). All four rank between 23rd and 31st in the NFL.
  • Metcalf's average depth of target is 13 yards downfield while Lockett's is at 13.9. Johnson's is at 9.9 and Claypool gets targeted 12.6 yards downfield on average.
  • Seattle's offense is converting just 34.7% of their third downs, 26th in the NFL. Pittsburgh is converting on 43.9%, which ranks eighth.
  • The Seahawks offense's 76.9% rate in the red zone ranks only behind the Saints, 49ers, and Bengals while Pittsburgh's offense ranks 19th converting on 60% of their attempts.

The Steelers So Far

Offensive Overview

  • Chase Claypool and Diontae Johnson have each played in three of the last four games. In the three games played, Claypool has 17 catches for 296 yards. Johnson has caught 20 passes for 269 yards.
  • James Washington was inactive last week. But in Week 4 with Claypool sidelined, Washington was on the field for 82% of the snaps. In Week 3 with Johnson inactive, Washington played 80% of the offensive snaps.
  • Roethlisberger is now only three sacks behind Tom Brady, who has been sacked 530 times in his career. Roethlisberger has played 68 fewer games than Brady.
  • Roethlisberger dropped back on 26 occasions last week. Not only was that the lowest number of the year thus far, but Pittsburgh had been averaging 45.5 dropbacks per game before facing the Broncos in Week 5.
  • Over the last three weeks, Roethlisberger's average depth of target has increased from 5.9 to 7.0 against the Packers to 8.6 yards downfield against Denver.
  • Najee Harris has been on the field for 280 of a possible 322 Steelers offensive snaps. He has gone out on a route on 76% of Roethlisberger's drop backs. That is the highest percentage in the league. Harris and Alvin Kamara (71%) are the only two backs over 68%.

Defensive Overview

  • Pittsburgh's defense has taken the ball away four times in 2021. Only the Falcons, Raiders, 49ers, and Jaguars have produced fewer turnovers.
  • The Steelers have given up multiple passing touchdowns the last four weeks and seven to opposing wide receivers over the past three games. But Pittsburgh has allowed just one touchdown to a tight end over the past five weeks. 82% of the touchdowns Pittsburgh has surrendered this year have been to opposing wide receivers which is the highest rate in the league. However, every other team in the league except for the Steelers has given up a touchdown this year to an opposing running back.
  • TJ Watt has eight sacks in his last six games at Heinz Field.
  • The Steelers defense has been on the field for 330 snaps in 2021. Of the defensive linemen, Cameron Heyward has logged 256 snaps and Chris Wormley has been on the field for 228 plays. None of the other defensive linemen have played more than 92 snaps.

Seahawks News, Notes, and Stats

Offensive Overview

  • Snapping the ball just 54.2 times on average, Seattle's offense is running the fewest plays in the league. Houston is 31st at 56.0. Even with so few plays run, Seattle has been efficient on offense though. They are producing .44 points per snap, which is the eighth best in the league.
  • Seattle has only turned the ball over three times this year, which is the best in the league. However, in Geno Smith's 928 career passing attempts over eight seasons, he has thrown 37 interceptions against 30 touchdowns. Russell Wilson's touchdown to interception ratio in 2021 is 10 to 1.
  • The 31-year-old Smith will be making his first start since Week 12 of the 2017 season.
  • The Seahawks passing game is dominated by Lockett and Metcalf. Lockett has received 24.6% of the targets this year while Metcalf is at 26.7%. However, last week against the Rams with Smith in the game a portion of the time, eight different Seahawks were targeted at least twice. That being said, Lockett had a long touchdown brought back because of a penalty, drew a long pass interference penalty and on the play Wilson injured his finger, Lockett was all alone deep downfield.
  • Seattle's offense has only run four plays this year inside of the 10-yard line. Every other offense in the NFL has run at least 10. For context, the Bills have snapped the ball a league-high 36 times in this area of the field.
  • 94% of Seattle's offensive snaps have come out of 11 Personnel (60%) or 12 Personnel (34%). Only three teams are using 12 Personnel at a higher percentage than the Seahawks.
  • Chris Carson was absent for last week's game and Alex Collins led the Seattle running backs with 46 out of a possible 65 snaps. Deejay Dallas was the next most active running back, but only saw the field for 14 snaps. Nine different Seahawks have carried the football this year.
  • Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf have logged 249 and 242 snaps respectively this season. Freddie Swain is clearly the Seahawks third wide receiver right now. Swain played 40 snaps while Seattle's fourth receiver in terms of usage, Penny Hart, was used on just a dozen snaps last week. Swain has played 174 snaps this year compared to just 33 for Hart.

Defensive Overview

  • Deebo Samuel, Julio Jones, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods have combined to catch 48 passes for 694 yards against the Seahawks over the past four weeks.
  • Darrell Taylor has three sacks this year, which leads the team. No one else has more than one for the Seahawks. However, Pittsburgh and Seattle are each averaging exactly two sacks per game, which is tied for 17th in the league.
  • A tight end has found the end zone against Seattle's defense now in three straight games.
  • Seattle's defense (382) has been on the field for exactly 100 more snaps than the Seahawks offense (282).
  • Seattle's defense was on the field for 67 snaps last Thursday night. Bobby Wagner never left the field and is the definition of an every down linebacker. The other Seattle defenders that played every snap were DJ Reed, Sidney Jones, Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs. Alongside Wagner, fellow linebacker Jordyn Brooks only left the field on six occasions. Reed, Adams, and Wagner haven't missed a single defensive snap yet in 2021. Diggs and Brooks are the only other defenders to have played 300 snaps out of a possible 382 this year for Seattle.
  • The Seahawks defensive line is a committee at end as well as at defensive tackle. Poona Ford has been out there for 259 snaps and Rasheem Green for 251, but no other Seattle defensive lineman has played more than 197 snaps this year. But a total of 10 Seahawks defensive linemen has played at least 100 snaps.
  • Seattle's defense has allowed the opponent to accumulate 450 yards or more in four straight games. That has never happened five times in a row in NFL history and the Seahawks are only one of four instances in which a four-game streak has occurred since 1950.

The Advanced Scout Podcast

Check out Matt's podcast preview on the Seahawks: Listen Here >>>

Matt's Most Memorable Moment: February 5, 2006: Super Bowl XL: Steelers 21, Seahawks 10

Ben Roethlisberger led the Steelers to the Super Bowl in just his second season in the NFL. This was Seattle's first ever Super Bowl appearance and they were quickly down on the scoreboard 14-3 after Willie Parker's 75-yard touchdown run. With 6:04 left in regulation, this was still a 14-10 game in Pittsburgh's favor. But at that moment, the Steelers called a trick play in which Antwaan Randle El (a former college quarterback turned wide receiver) threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Hines Ward to put the game away. Ward was the MVP of Super Bowl XL after catching five passes for 123 yards including that key touchdown. Every one of Ward's receptions went for a first down. Probably the most memorable aspect of the Steelers fifth Super Bowl victory was this was Jerome Bettis' last game, and it took place in Bettis' hometown of Detroit. This was also the first time in NFL history when a sixth seed went on to win the Super Bowl.

Facts from NFL Research

  • The Steelers (17 seasons) and Seahawks (9 seasons) have the two longest active streaks of seasons without a losing record
  • Since Russell Wilson entered the NFL in 2012, the Seahawks and Steelers both rank in the top-5 in win percentage.
  • Ben Roethlisberger has been pressured at a lower rate over the last two weeks despite being blitzed at a higher rate.
  • Roethlisberger is 3-2 in his career against the Seahawks, including playoffs.
  • Seatle has allowed the 5th highest passer rating (119.0) on deep passes in 2021 and 3.0 yards of average target separation on deep passes (Most in NFL).
  • The Seahawks have the last-ranked total defense this season.

Key Matchups

  • Seahawks QB Geno Smith vs. Steelers S Minkah Fitzpatrick-Fitzpatrick creates a lot of problems for any quarterback. He can line up all over the defense and can be used in a variety of ways, but Fitzpatrick is at his most dangerous as a deep middle defender, where he most often aligns. Seattle's pair of wide receivers, DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, are great deep threats and the Seahawks surely will be looking to get them downfield. Smith isn't the deep passer that Russell Wilson is and should be very wary of Fitzpatrick when Seattle looks to stretch the field.
  • Steelers RB Najee Harris vs. Seahawks LB Bobby Wagner-Wagner is going to the Hall of Fame and is right there with Luke Kuechly as the best off the ball linebacker of this generation. And Wagner is still playing terrific in all phases of the game. Wagner is going to tangle with Harris repeatedly on Sunday night. Whether it is as a man defender or in zone, which is Seattle's preferred coverage tactic, Wagner will be covering Harris quite often. And of course, as we saw against Denver, the Steelers will look to get Harris coming downhill between the tackles with straight ahead blocking right at Wagner.