MMQB: Steelers 21, Seahawks 0

MMQB: Steelers 21, Seahawks 0

"For the fifth consecutive week, the offensive line has failed to open running lanes for Shaun Alexander, and this week it was particularly painful for the team as Alexander couldn't get to the outside either. The pass blocking was up to the high standards of past games, but Matt Hasselbeck couldn't do a thing with all the time the offensive line afforded him."

Pittsburgh Steelers 21 Seattle Seahawks 0
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Play Of The DayPittsburgh had the ball, 3rd and 17 on the Seattle 37-yard line leading by 7 midway through the 3rd Quarter.  The Seattle defense sat back in a soft zone and CB Marcus Trufant passed WR Cedrick Wilson off to what I can only assume was supposed to be safety help, only the safeties were, inexplicably, on the deep side of the first down marker and Wilson caught the ball at the marker for a first down.  Pittsburgh would go on to score their second touchdown of the game and Seattle's goose was cooked.

Handouts to the Standouts:  OLB Julian Peterson led the team with 6 tackles and had several great plays on defense, including a sack and a goal line stuff of RB Willie Parker.

That's it.

Things That Made Me Go "Blech"Matt Hasselbeck was simply awful, overthrowing open receivers left and right, that is, when he wasn't trying to force the ball into tight coverage.  Hasselbeck finished the day 13-27 for 116 yards and 1 interception, and was lucky to have escaped with only one pick.  What made Hasselbeck's performance all the more troubling was the fact that he had all day in the pocket for most of the game and still seemed lost.

John Marshall appeared to have learned absolutely nothing from last weeks victory over San Francisco as he called zone coverage after zone coverage on third and long and Ben Roethlisberger completed them all day long.  When the other team is down to their third and fourth string wideouts, why on earth aren't you manning up on them and bringing heat?  Especially since that defensive scheme worked wonders against the similarly depleted 49ers just one week ago?

Poor clock management at the end of the first half forced the Seahawks to have to pass for a chance to score which led to a rushed throw and a pick on what could have been a game-tying score to end the half.  Does anybody talk to Mike Holmgren thorugh that fancy headset of his or it just for show?

WR Ben Obomanu dropped an easy first down pass immediately after the Steelers 10+ minute scoring drive in the third quarter, putting the poor Seahawk defense back on the field after a mere 1:30 rest.  The Steelers would predictably score on the ensuing drive.

Craig Terrill missing out on two sacks of Ben Roethlisberger.  Either Big Ben was covered in Pam (and I don't mean Ms. Oliver) or Terrill's got to do a better job of wrapping up the quarterback after he gets to him.

Offense:  For the fifth consecutive week, the offensive line has failed to open running lanes for Shaun Alexander, and this week it was particularly painful for the team as Alexander couldn't get to the outside either.  The pass blocking was up to the high standards of past games, but Matt Hasselbeck couldn't do a thing with all the time the offensive line afforded him.  WR Deion Branch left the field in the 2nd quarter with a sprained ankle and did not return to the game.  Considering that the Steelers were missing Pro Bowlers Casey Hampton and Troy Polamalu, the Seahawks inability to move the ball was all the more frustrating.  This one rests squarely on the shoulders of Matt Hasselbeck who played the worst game I've seen from him since 2004.

Defense:  The stat sheet on the game is going to show that the Seahawks defense played a poor game, which is a shame because they played extremely well until the first drive of the second half, and, even then, it would appear to be dubious play calling that helped keep the Steeler drive alive.  Three times the Seahawk defense put the Steelers in third and long and three times the Steelers converted on passes in front of the Seattle zone which was, for some completely unknown reason, on the far side of the first down marker.  Once Pittsburgh scored on a  17 play ten minute plus drive, the Seahawks defense was gassed.

Special Teams:  P Ryan Plackemeier had a feast or famine game, sending off several booming punts and one fantastic high bouncer that was downed on the one which would be offset by several short punts that gave Pittsburgh better field position than they should have had.  K Josh Brown kicked the ball exactly once today, the opening kick of the second half, which he put into the endzone for a touchback.  KR Ben Obomanu took two kickoffs out of the endzone, crossing the 20 yard line once and was solid on punt coverage downing one Plackemeier punt on the one yard line.  PR Nate Burelson fielded one punt that he probably should have fair-caught.  Still, a week without a blocked punt must be considered a victory for special teams, right?

Additional Notes:  Shaun Alexander made a fantastic block during he second half of a blitzing CB buying Matt Hasselbeck time to complete an 11 yard dart to WR Bobby Engram.

The Golden Microphone Award:  Troy Aikman continues to impress with his skills in the booth, while Joe Buck continues to ride his fathers apparently huge coattails.  My favorite Buck moment was after a statistic flashed up on the screen showing that Ben Roethlisberger has thrown 6 red zone interceptions over the 2006-2007 season, Joe piped in about how Big Ben "just doesn't make mistakes like Rex Grossman".  Later in the game, after a Willie Parker touchdown was overturned by a Seahawks challenge, Buck chimed in with "Well, I guess he'll stay with one touchdown."  Uh, Joe, Najeh Davenport scored the other touchdown.  Parker finished the day with none.  For his continued mediocrity in the booth, despite his high opinion of himself, Mr. Buck wins this week's Golden Microphone Award.

Summary:  The Seahawks offense not only sputtered out of the gate, they stalled completely, leaving the defense out to dry.  A non-division, non-conference loss might allegedly sting less, but a shutout is never easy to take.  All the Seahawks can do is regroup and prepare for the reeling 0-4 New Orleans Saints next week.

Next Week:  MMQB will feature a guest columnist, as Dylan is headed to Vegas, baby.


Dylan is a die-hard Seahawks fan trapped in Eagles Country and firmly believes that "Live At Leeds" is the single greatest live performance since a deaf Ludwig Van debuted his final symphony in Vienna in 1824.  You can e-mail Dylan at NJSeahawksFan@gmail.com .

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