Reviewing Seattle Seahawks’ Week 2 Win Over Steelers Before Week 3

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Week 2 of the Seattle Seahawks’ season began at 10am this past Sunday morning when the country-crossing Hawks competed against the underhanded Pittsburgh Steelers. (Never forget 2005!) Coming off an embarrassing Sunday night thumping from the New England Patriots, the Steelers were ready to show their home crowd what the 2019 season was all about. Across the field, the Seahawks were still riding high from their week one win over the Cincinnati Bengals but looked ready to defend their rightful place among the best of the NFC this year.

This week’s game upheld some of the worrisome characteristics from the previous week, but it also offered evidence of improvement. From Tyler Lockett getting heavily involved in the passing game with 10 receptions to D.K. Metcalf and Will Dissly having not-quite-breakout and breakout-ish games respectively, the Seattle offense looked like it was coming together in encouraging ways. Except for the O-line, which continues to be frightening—not in a ferocious way, but in a concerned-for-Wilson’s-health way.

And the Seahawks pulled off a narrow win, outscoring the Steelers 28-26 and escaping town 2-0, which happens to be team’s best start since their Super Bowl season.

The Hawks no doubt celebrated such a hard-fought victory 30,000 feet in the air, feeling fully inflated from the intoxicating power of a true-team win. It was certainly a special day for Coach Pete Carrol. Beyond getting his 100th Seahawks win on his 68th birthday, his players inhabited every inch of his coaching motto: “It’s not how you start, but how you finish.”

For the 53 men on the Seahawks, that motto really is the most important thing. Sure, it’s nice when the team scores early and sets the tone for the contest right out the gate, but in the ultra-competitive NFL, it’s the team that never stops trying to scrape out a win that usually does.

Each of the NFL’s 32 teams enjoys their own unique concoction of playmakers and personalities, who sometimes dig a little deeper and push a little harder for four full quarters, ultimately driving their team to pull off an unlikely win. And those are the kind of players Coach Carroll, and GM John Schneider dream about adding to their roster.

For example, not long ago, in the 2014 NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers, Seahawks receiver Jermaine Kearse had been targeted five times and had zero catches. As the Hawks mounted their insanely improbable comeback, who other than Kearse to find success in a clutch moment—his first pass of the day, during overtime, to win the most important game of the season and earn redemption.

That’s the Seahawk’s motto in action; no matter what happens, you never stop fighting to win.

Sunday offered the latest in a long tradition of games that continue to prove this point. With the Seahawks heading into the 4th quarter leading 21 to 13, things looked good, but not done. At this point in the game, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had been injured and removed in favor of backup Mason Rudolph. Surprisingly, the second Steelers QB managed better than the first, if only because of his intact health.

As the Steelers attempted to mount their comeback, the Seahawks’ defense amped up the pressure in the front while tightening the coverage in the secondary. The downside of this approach comes in the red zone, when everything collapses into short yardage and covering potential targets becomes more difficult. The Steelers took advantage of these situations, scoring an early 4th quarter touchdown to bring the score within 2-points. But on the subsequent, game-tying 2-point conversion attempt, the Steelers fell short, returning the ball to the Hawks.

And the Seahawks returned a defining response. After a challenge-winning pass interference penalty resulted in a new set of downs, Wilson tossed (yet another) gorgeous deep ball to Metcalf, generating a 28-yard touchdown that vaulted the Hawks back into a respectable lead of 28-19. Then, the damned Steelers scored another McDonald touchdown (maybe we need to cover this guy), causing a new flood of tears to stream down my face as the score climbed to 28-26.

With a little over 4 minutes remaining in the game, the Seahawks wanted to run out the clock and deny the Steelers another possession. But how best to accomplish this? An inbound pass to Lockett, sure. A few Rashaad Penny runs up the middle, yes please. But most impactful, and my own favorite moment of the game, was when our beloved quarterback, Russell Wilson, used his legs to chew up huge chunks of the field and clock.

During the Seahawks’ final drive, Wilson rushed three times; first he earned a critical first down, then he had one called back, and finally he scrambled 16 yards to setup a 1-yard run by Chris Carson to put the game away permanently.

Wilson doesn’t run nearly as much as he used to. Partially due to a franchise-wide desire to protect him from unnecessary hits (he already takes plenty…thanks, O-line), but also due to his age and diminished speed. He’s never been a real burner, but even a smart, productive, take-what-the-defense-gives-you run needs some speed to be effective, and #3 doesn’t appear to be as quick in 2019 as he was in seasons past.

But when the team needs it, when it really counts, watch Wilson tuck the ball under his arm and run full speed ahead towards the first down marker–safely sliding before getting tackled, of course. Because, it’s not how you start, but how you finish.

Next Sunday, the red-hot 2-0 Seahawks welcome the leader-less 1-1 New Orleans Saints to town. As this season unfolds, it will be interesting to see if the Hawks can not only start off as winners but finish as winners too.

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About Author

Jon Aiken

Born and raised in Seattle, Jon developed a deep love for the Mariners and Seahawks and continues to watch, analyze, and discuss them on a daily basis. As a professional advertising copywriter, the blending of these two loves (sports/words) seemed like a natural creative evolution. He recently moved south to Tacoma, fully embracing his new hometeam, the Rainers.

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