An unhappy close to 2023.
The Seattle Seahawks (8-8) have been playing a lot of close games, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. This week, they lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7) in a 30-23 disappointment. Pittsburgh racked up 468 yards of total offense, went 6/13 on 3rd down, and only punted once. Najee Harris rushed for 122 yards and two touchdowns, while Jaylen Warren added another 75. Mason Rudolph was 18/24 for 266 yards and nothing close to a turnover.
Geno Smith threw for nearly 300 yards and a touchdown, but had a costly fumble that increased Pittsburgh’s lead to 10 with under 5 minutes to go. The offensive line lost Evan Brown and Abe Lucas to injuries, and the pass rush was fierce despite just the one sack given up.
Unless the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings tie on Sunday Night Football, Seattle is out of a playoff spot and will need help in order to get back in.
This defense is abysmal.
The Steelers got the ball on offense first, picking up a couple of first downs and advancing to Seahawks territory. On 4th and 5 at the 41, Mike Tomlin opted to go for it, and Mason Rudolph’s deep shot to George Pickens was knocked away for the incomplete pass and turnover on downs! Riq Woolen on the coverage!
Seattle went three-and-out with the good field position. Pete Carroll chose to punt it on 4th and 1 from midfield, and Michael Dickson’s kick went into the end zone for a touchback. Only a net of 30 yards.
The Seahawks defense almost got a gift turnover when Diontae Johnson made a catch, bobbled the ball as he went out of bounds, and Michael Jackson recovered it inbounds. However, Johnson touched the ball while he was out of bounds, which ends the play and thus the takeaway was overturned. That proved crucial, as the Steelers capped off a 14-play, 80-yard drive with an 18-yard touchdown run by Jaylen Warren. Pittsburgh went for it on 4th and 1 and converted, by the way.
Seattle’s offense finally got the ball back. Geno was fortunate not to get picked on the first play. Two plays later, he hit Noah Fant for a first down to extend the series. He then avoided TJ Watt on a nearly guaranteed sack, and hit DK Metcalf for a 33-yard gain into Steelers territory. Two Kenneth Walker runs put the Seahawks into the end zone!
It took all of two snaps for the Steelers to reach the red zone. A huge run by Jaylen Warren even after a bad snap, followed by a wide open George Pickens to the Seattle 15. He fumbled the ball but it was knocked out of bounds. Go figure! A blitz collapsed the pocket on 3rd down, and Leonard Williams took down Rudolph for the sack. Chris Boswell gave Pittsburgh the lead from 39 yards out.
Geno Smith, Noah Fant, DK Metcalf, and Kenneth Walker picked apart Pittsburgh’s defense and got into the red zone very quickly. A 3rd and 7 became 3rd and 12 after a Charles Cross false start. No problem! It’s Jaxon Smith-Njigba over the middle for the touchdown!
Of course, the Seahawks defense is awful, so they wasted no time letting the Steelers march into the red zone. Bad tackling the theme of Seattle’s defensive story. Najee Harris turned into prime Marshawn Lynch and powered his way for 9 yards and a score before halftime.
Seattle went three-and-out in the two-minute drill, and Pittsburgh called it a half after getting the ball back.
The Seahawks came out throwing in the 2nd half. Completions to Jake Bobo, Colby Parkinson, and Noah Fant got Seattle to the Pittsburgh 30. A huge run by Kenneth Walker set up first and goal.... if only for a Metcalf holding penalty wiping it out. This stalled out the drive, but they got a tying field goal from Jason Myers.
A 6-play, 71-yard drive gave the Steelers the lead again. Diontae Johnson was wide open on a busted coverage for 42 yards, and Najee Harris kept the run game assault going with a 4-yard touchdown run. It was a Pittsburgh Push, if you will.
Seattle went three-and-out after a bad snap by backup center Olu Oluwatimi was dropped by Ken Walker. Not an accurate snap and an injured Walker ended up falling on it.
At long last, Devon Witherspoon led by example with his tackling. Witherspoon had a big tackle for loss on Jaylen Warren, resulting in a 3rd and 14. Rudolph’s pass was short of the sticks. A punt by the Steelers at long last!
Backed up inside their own 15, Geno Smith almost had a calamitous exchange with JSN, who dropped a tap pass. It was ruled incomplete, as it’s technically a forward pass. On the next play, DK Metcalf had a 33-yard catch-and-run. A 25-yard Geno Smith scramble put the Seahawks into Steelers territory. The Pittsburgh defense tightened up and forced a Jason Myers field goal, which he made.
Najee Harris continued to dominate Seattle’s defensive players, including a stiff arm that knocked Riq Woolen off his feet. An unbelievable diving catch by George Pickens on 3rd down was made for 34 yards. Mason Rudolph had big pressure in his face and somehow got the throw off.
George Pickens with the catch of the day pic.twitter.com/9kMPuEwLUz— Dugar, Michael-Shawn (@MikeDugar) December 31, 2023
On 3rd and 5 in the red zone, a checkdown to Warren gained 4 yards. Rudolph sneaked for the conversion and a fresh set of downs. After two stuffs, the Steelers had 3rd and 12 and threw a safe pass. Boswell hit another field goal to make it 27-20 with 7:14 left.
A strip-sack by Nick Herbig gave the Steelers the ball right back.
The Steelers only managed a field goal out of this trip, but they burned time off the clock and Pete Carroll wasted a timeout on a horrible challenge.
It was hurry-up time for Geno and company with under 5 minutes to go. Geno completed six straight passes to get inside the Pittsburgh 10. Three straight incomplete passes resulted in another field goal from Myers with 2:01 left.
Seattle stupidly went for an onside kick, which the Steelers recovered. Mike Jackson got toasted by George Pickens for a big gain and a first down. Najee Harris gained 12 on 3rd and 7, game over.
1st Quarter: Jaylen Warren 18-yard touchdown run - PIT 7, SEA 0
2nd Quarter: Kenneth Walker 13-yard touchdown run - PIT 7, SEA 7
2nd Quarter: Chris Boswell 39-yard field goal - PIT 10, SEA 7
2nd Quarter: Geno Smith 12-yard touchdown pass to Jaxon Smith-Njigba - PIT 10, SEA 14
2nd Quarter: Najee Harris 9-yard touchdown run - PIT 17, SEA 14
3rd Quarter: Jason Myers 43-yard field goal - PIT 17, SEA 17
3rd Quarter: Najee Harris 4-yard touchdown run - PIT 24, SEA 17
4th Quarter: Jason Myers 42-yard field goal - PIT 24, SEA 20
4th Quarter: Chris Boswell 26-yard field goal - PIT 27, SEA 20
4th Quarter: Chris Boswell 21-yard field goal - PIT 30, SEA 20
4th Quarter: Jason Myers 24-yard field goal - PIT 30, SEA 23
Seahawks Injury Report
RT Abe Lucas was ruled out with a knee injury after leaving the game in the 2nd quarter. He was replaced by Stone Forsythe.
C Evan Brown suffered an injury on the opening possession of the 2nd half. He was replaced by rookie Olu Oluwatimi. Brown was ruled out with a concussion.
CB Artie Burns limped off the field with an undisclosed injury.
Next week’s opponent
The Seahawks have their final regular season game on the road against the Arizona Cardinals (4-12) at 1:25 PM PT on FOX, Sunday, January 8.