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Seahawks 28 Steelers 26: Winners and Losers from a big road win in Pittsburgh

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NFL: Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks are 2-0 for the first time since 2013, and by the barest of margins. We saw a one-point win on opening day, a two-point win on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, so expect a three-point win against the New Orleans Saints.

Let’s get to winners and losers after a rare September road win for Seattle.

Winners

Russell Wilson

He has to be top of the list. A sparkling 29-35 for 300 yards and 3 touchdowns, with a couple of key scrambles when the team needed it most. His timing was sharp, he was decisive on the quick throws, and the Steelers defense was simply undressed for virtually the entire 2nd half. Naked and afraid, Pittsburgh couldn’t get off the field for the final 5:34, and it was glorious to see.

This is the best start of Wilson’s career, and it looks like he may very well top his outstanding 2018.

Pete Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer

Happy birthday, Pete! The first pass interference challenge failed, but the second one (which I thought was doomed to fail) worked and was a game-changer at a time when the Seahawks were faced with 3rd and 20. Carroll and Brian Schottenheimer must be praised for the offensive gameplan, which eschewed a run-heavy attack and went straight for Pittsburgh’s suspect secondary. The aforementioned quick passes and blitz beaters slowed down Pittsburgh’s pass rush, and this game felt uniquely different because the passing offense clicked so well without relying heavily on play-action. Forfeiting possessions when getting behind the sticks was not to be found here.

Wilson was “unleashed” as we’ve so desired and it worked to near-perfection.

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D.K. Metcalf

It was a bit of a 1st half struggle for Metcalf, but all three of his catches were first downs, with his last one representing his first career NFL touchdown. Metcalf has given Seahawks fans every reason to be excited about his potential through two games, and you can tell that he’s the default #2 WR on the depth chart already.

Rashaad Penny

The much maligned, heavily scrutinized second-year running back had one of the best games of his career. His 37-yard touchdown run was one of the best plays of his career, as he sidestepped Anthony Chickillo, and glided his way into the end zone. I can’t stress enough how much Penny needed a game like that, and when he does get into the open field he is quite speedy.

Will Dissly

George Kittle is one of the NFL’s best TEs, and he had 48 catches in four years at Iowa. Will Dissly had 25 catches at Washington and was projected as a blocking TE, yet he looks like the most suitable player Seattle has had at the position since Zach Miller. Five catches for 50 yards and a couple of touchdowns for Uncle Will, who’s developed great chemistry with Wilson as a receiver, and we should be hyped for that.

Tyler Lockett

The man got his targets. A career-high 10 catches for 79 yards, with four receptions moving the chains. He also drew the (admittedly iffy but “by the rules” correct) pass interference that drastically changed the course of the contest. We are used to Lockett as the deep ball threat, but it’s good to see him factor into the offense in a different way.

Malik Turner

Who saw that coming? Turner had 3 catches for 54 yards, including a nice 30-yard scamper to dig Seattle out of bad field position. He entered this game with two receptions (thanks, Nshima!) to his name, and how he leaves with reason to believe he can get more targets down the line... and that’s even when David Moore comes back.

Branden Jackson

The Seahawks front four was largely muted, but Jackson had the only sack and had a couple of other pressures while Jadeveon Clowney and company were largely quiet. It’s good to get some help from the lower-end of the rotation, and hopefully we see Ziggy Ansah make his debut next week.

Lano Hill

Replacing the injured Tedric Thompson, Hill did get beat on a flea flicker to JuJu Smith-Schuster, but he recovered well enough to prevent that big play from turning into a touchdown. What’s of greater importance is his interception on the two-point conversion, which ended up being the final margin of victory.

Bradley McDougald

The Seahawks secondary only has two interceptions over the last 12 games and McDougald has them both. Donte Moncrief probably won’t have a job in the NFL on Monday, but that’s not our problem, and his drop was punished further by Bradley’s great hustle. It was a clutch pick that led to Dissly’s second TD.

Losers

Chris Carson

I will give him some redemption for converting the game-ending 4th and 1. His fumbling issues are a real concern, though. Officially, one of his fumbles was attributed to Russell Wilson, as the handoff was never completed, but Carson just dropped it. That’s three lost fumbles in two weeks, and he had a few fumbles last season. All of those turnovers were deep in Seattle territory, and the two on Sunday led to touchdowns. That needs to be sorted out ASAP, as Carson already was benched for fumbles in junior college.

D.J. Fluker and Germain Ifedi

The offensive line struggled for much of this game, but Fluker and Ifedi were particularly bad. Ifedi had three penalties (and probably could’ve had more), and thus far looks nothing like a player who should get a second contract with the team. Fluker had some bad spots in pass protection, but luckily his ankle sprain wasn’t enough to take him completely out of the game.

Jaron Brown

The refs weren’t kind to him. Two block in the back penalties that were iffy at best, although the refs had nothing to do with Brown also forgetting to line up as a punt protector on the opening possession. He narrowly avoided giving Seattle a delay of game, and finished with zero targets again. Methinks that when David Moore comes back, Brown’s role in the offense will be back to WR4 as he was last year.

The two-minute drill

It is not fun watching the Seahawks perform a two-minute drill. Things were going well until D.J. Fluker’s injury, and then it became a wave of wasted time and moving backwards into a long field goal attempt. Seattle should’ve gotten points out of that drive, but instead we got minimal gains that didn’t stop the clock, and a pair of D.K. Metcalf penalties on a single play.

Heinz Field turf

Fix your damn field. I was terrified when Russell Wilson slid and his knee buckled thanks to the giant clump of grass that he picked up. This makes FedEx Field look pristine.

Other Notes

  • Good to see C.J. Prosise make an appearance, gaining 20 yards on five touches. Perhaps we’ll see him more in two-minute situations moving forward.
  • Ronde Barber called Bobby Wagner “Russell Wagner.” That would be a truly unstoppable dual threat.
  • Nick Vannett absorbed a big hit on his lone catch of the game, literally one play before Dissly’s second touchdown. He also blew his block on the Wilson-Carson fumble, so a mixed day at the office for him.
  • The secondary held up fairly well, with explosive plays kept to a relative minimum whether Ben Roethlisberger or Mason Rudolph was in at QB. Incidentally, Rudolph looked better than Big Ben, who’s injured for the umpteenth time.
  • Jamar Taylor got burned by Johnny Holton on a deep ball, which Roethlisberger did not punish. I was impressed with his coverage against Smith-Schuster on an end zone shot, as he ushered JuJu towards the boundary and made it impossible for him to make a catch in bounds.
  • Seattle absolutely got away with delay of game on the Jason Myers field goal, which was nullified thanks to a roughing the snapper call on Pittsburgh. You take what you get, and these refs sucked. The DPI in Lockett’s favor may have been sketchy, but there should’ve been a flag on Bud Dupree for his helmet-to-helmet shot on Russell Wilson.
  • I don’t care if the Steelers are not very good, this was a damn good road victory and we saw major strides from this offense that we usually don’t see in September under Pete Carroll. Bring on the Saints, whether it’s Drew Brees, Teddy Bridgewater, or Taysom Hill at QB.

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