On the run: The Steelers ground game struggled against the Patriots last week in the 33-3 loss at Gillette Stadium, with just 32 yards on 13 carries, including a seven-yard scramble by Ben Roethlisberger.
Offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner admits while he ran the ball early, he did shy away from it after James Conner was stopped twice on third-and-one, once for no gain, and the second time for a four yard loss, which had the bigger impact.
"I think we ran it 10 times in the first half," said Fichtner. "It probably wasn't as efficient per run. I probably got a little bit down when we didn't make the first third-and-one. I think we blocked it. I think we had more in it and we didn't get it, and it probably drained on me for the next several calls that I made. But there was a point where maybe game circumstance lead to the way the second half played out.
"But we don't want to neglect the run. We actually went into the game with a pretty extensive pony package where we would have both of our running backs in the game at the same time. It's a unique balance in trying to keep certain guys fresh in certain packages, especially early in the season. And it just never seemed like it flowed enough that we every really truly got in any of them."
Change of pace: The Steelers defense is being challenged with in the first two weeks of the season with a tale of two quarterbacks.
Last week they faced Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, a classic pocket passer who likes to get rid of the ball quickly.
This week they will see Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, a scrambling passer who can hurt you with his arm and his legs and doesn't mind holding on to the ball to make a play.
"It's very important for us to plaster (their receivers), for the defensive line to eliminate the rush lanes, keep him contained in the pocket because he does a lot with his feet," said Joe Haden. "You have to stay plastered on them because he is not scrambling to run, he is scrambling to throw. We have to keep him in the pocket and all of the defensive backs stay up on the guys."
Wilson completed 14 of 20 passes for 195 yards and two touchdowns in the Seahawks opening day win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Always expect the unexpected with Russ," said Mike Hilton. "He is a guy who likes to get outside the pocket and just freelance. He has guys who can make plays for him down the field. On the backend, we have to make sure we stick to our guys a couple more seconds than the normal."
He said it:
T.J. Watt on people making too big a deal about him wearing the green dot on his helmet as the defensive signal caller: "It's basically a walkie-talkie. I'd get a call and I'd say what the call was, what (Coach Butler) just told me in my ear. It's not a big deal at all. I have been playing with walkie-talkies since I was a little kid."