PITTSBURGH – To be sure, there was lots of good to go around in a game in which the Seahawks mostly played the kind of football they will need to survive loss without Russell Wilson for any length of time.
But Geno Smith’s one big mistake – a fumble that led to a 23-20 overtime loss – will be hard for Seattle to shake off as the Seahawks fell to 2-4 and dug a further hole in the NFC West.
On to some grades:
Until the fumble, this was what Seattle wanted out of Smith, who took care of the ball and showed poise taking what the defense gave him on the tying drive in regulation.
But the crucial mistake was sadly also one of the knocks on Smith, and it’s hard to overlook.
Alex Collins appeared more decisive throughout in what was his second start this season, especially in the second half when he got turned loose to finish with 101 yards.
But Collins was on the sideline for the final two drives.
Travis Homer served as the third-down back and had some big plays, and DeeJay Dallas had some good moments late as well.
Not a big day for Seattle’s big two receivers, and DK Metcalf’s fumble late in regulation that the Seahawks got back could have cost Seattle the game.
Tyler Lockett had just two catches for 35 yards on seven targets, though.
Gerald Everett’s return was much welcomed. He had two catches for 40 yards including a 41-yard reception in the third quarter that set up Will Dissly’s 1-yard TD catch that cut the lead to 17-14.
A mostly good run blocking day but some shaky pass blocking down the stretch as Smith was sacked five times, including on the Seattle’s fateful final play.
Guard Damien Lewis got beat on a screen pass that ended the first quarter with a 3-yard loss for the Seahawks, emblematic of Seattle’s continuing struggles to run screens.
And both Lewis and Duane Brown got beaten for sacks during Seattle’s second-quarter offensive face plant.
Lewis came out of the game with a shoulder injury in the third quarter and was replaced by Jamarco Jones. Jones was called for a hold that nullified a 16-yard Collins run in the fourth quarter. Overall, Jones did a nice job in the run game.
The Seahawks mostly did a nice job on the Steelers running game as Najee Harris was held to 3.4 per attempt.
Seattle’s interior line was particularly good early on Pittsburgh’s run, holding the Steelers to just four yards on four carries in the first quarter.
Seattle had only one sack – a team sack on the Ben Roethlisberger’s fumble in the fourth quarter. But the Steelers also mostly settled for short, quick passes.
A few things of note – Benson Mayowa was no match in coverage on Najee Harris on a 5-yard TD pass for the Steelers’ first score. But Mayowa was in coverage because the Seahawks had Jamal Adams blitzing. And an offsides on Alton Robinson gave the Steelers a first down on third-and-3.
On the positive, Robert Nkemdiche tipped a pass at the 5-yard line that the Seahawks unfortunately could not catch for an interception. The Steelers scored on the next play.
The pass coverage of the linebackers seemed much tighter than last week’s loss to the Los Angeles Rams. One example – a pass over the middle to Harris late in the third quarter that Bobby Wagner kept to a 4-yard gain with an open field tackle that set up a failed third-down attempt.
And Wagner and Jordyn Brooks each finished with a game-high 14 tackles as the Steelers did not have a run of longer than 11 yards by a back.
This might have been the best cornerback play Seattle has gotten all season with rookie Tre Brown a revelation in his first NFL game. But what might be remembered most is a dropped interception by Adams on Pittsburgh’s final possession of regulation.
Brown made one of the plays of the game with his sure tackle on the Steelers first possession of overtime to force a punt.
Brown first got in the game when he replaced Sidney Jones at left cornerback on the third series and then stepped in again in the third quarter when Jones suffered a chest injury.
D.J. Reed also played well throughout and had two pass breakups and nine tackles.
On the first series of the game the Seahawks unveiled something they had not used this season – a package featuring seven defensive backs with Ugo Amadi, Marquise Blair and Ryan Neal all on the field.
The seven-DB look appeared to allow the Seahawks to use Adams more as a blitzer – he had three in the first quarter alone.
Seattle didn’t seem to bring Adams as much later in the game appearing to go more straight up. And oh what might have been with the dropped pick.Grade: B-minus
That was an ice water kick by Jason Myers to tie it up at the end of regulation, capping a somewhat up-and-down day for special teams.
Michael Dickson had a rare shank of a punt that netted just 24 yards in the second quarter and allowed the Steelers to take over at their 46 and set up their first TD.
But Dickson countered that with a 65-yarder in the fourth quarter after Seattle was stopped at its own 22.
And there was the failed attempt to down a Dickson punt at the 1 in the first half.