Last year in the regular season, Geno Smith lost a fumble in overtime and the Steelers recovered and kicked the winning field goal. This year, Drew Lock took a hit in a tied game and the first turnover by the Seahawks proved to be super costly. Pittsburgh was able to get the winning touchdown with just seconds remaining in a 32-25 finish that had a lot of highlights of a preseason opener. I’m being a little harsh on Lock in the headline since the sack looked to be very much on the offensive line/miscommunication, but it’s also accurate and people will click more.
Update: Looks like Lock could’ve perhaps done something about that blitz.
Pete: “We could have handled that better. I want to get clarification (on) exactly what the call was up front, but it looked like it was a hot off the edge and he needed to see it, and didn’t see it. That’s possibly what happened.”— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) August 14, 2022
The young Seahawks defense got picked on pretty easily on the first possession of the preseason. A 3rd and 1 run by Anthony McFarland broke contain to the outside for 24 yards, with Cody Barton giving up 15 more yards on a personal foul penalty. Veteran Justin Coleman was beaten on a 3rd down by Gunnar Olszewski, and a blown coverage seemingly by rookie Tariq Woolen led to a wide open Olszewski touchdown on the next play.
Seattle’s offense only picked up one first down — Geno Smith found Noah Fant on the run all the way to midfield — and punted after Smith took a 3rd down coverage sack. Seahawks football is back, baby!
After the teams exchanged punts, the Steelers had a short field after a huge punt return by Steven Sims. Boye Mafe saved a touchdown, then nearly got the ball back for the Seahawks on a strip sack of newly inserted quarterback Mason Rudolph. Steelers fans seemed unhappy with Rudolph’s insertion, but they sure cheered when he threw a dime to exciting rookie WR George Pickens for a touchdown in the corner of the end zone. Rookie Coby Bryant had the coverage but Pickens made a great play.
Seattle finally got on the board with a run-heavy, Travis Homer-heavy drive. He had a couple of chunk plays on the ground as well as a 25-yard catch-and-dash to help put the Seahawks in the red zone. Predictably, a bad screen pass helped kill any hopes of a touchdown and Jason Myers was brought in for a short field goal... which he barely made after it hit the upright and crashed through.
With the Seahawks down 17-3 approaching halftime, Geno executed a nearly perfect two-minute drill, converting a couple of 3rd downs with his legs and scoring a touchdown on 3rd and goal from the 2-yard line. The highlight of that series was Smith’s down the middle throw to Cade Johnson for 21 yards.
Smith finished the game 10/15 for 101 yards and a rushing touchdown, with one sack taken.
Meanwhile, Drew Lock’s first series as a Seahawks quarterback was a successful one. A play-action out in the flat to rookie Bo Melton gained 39 yards, and on consecutive 3rd downs he found other seventh-round newcomer Dareke Young. His second 3rd down conversion to Young was a tight window throw into the end zone to tie the score at 17-17.
Two series after a Steelers TD and two-point conversion (with rookie QB Kenny Pickett in charge of the offense), Lock’s second touchdown pass was a checkdown to DeeJay Dallas, who had a linebacker on him and he easily ditched him and then dodged two more Steelers tacklers for the score. The two-point conversion to Travis Homer knotted things up at 25-25.
With the Steelers advancing towards a game-winning field goal, Pittsburgh went for it on 4th and 1 in Seahawks territory with under two minutes to go. Kenny Pickett rolled out, saw no one open, and ran into Boye Mafe. A huge sack with 1:17 to go and the Seahawks got the ball back in Steeler territory! Two sacks for the Seahawks rookie.
Welp. Lock got drilled on a blindside blitz for a sack, fumble, and Steelers recovery. Bad time for a breakdown in line protection and Lock was wrecked. A few plays later, Kenny Pickett thrilled the hometown fans with a game-winning touchdown to Tyler Vaughns, who broke the tackle from Josh Valentine-Turner and dove into the end zone with three ticks on the clock. Ah well.
The only injury of note for the Seahawks was wide receiver Cody Thompson leaving the game with a shoulder problem. Otherwise we’ve got Seahawks football back and making strong takes one way or another after one exhibition is pointless.
Lock finished the game 11/15 for 102 yards, 2 TDs, a couple of sacks taken, but unfortunately the only turnover. DeeJay Dallas led the Seahawks in rushing with 71 yards on 10 carries, as well as a receiving teeder.
Perhaps most encouraging? The offensive line through most of the game looked very impressive in pass protection and in run-blocking, with Charles Cross catching the eye as Seattle’s top draft pick.
Seattle’s next preseason game is Thursday at home versus the Chicago Bears on August 18th, live on ESPN at 5 PM PT.