The Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers feel as if the had the rugs pulled out from underneath them. The Seahawks clawed back from a 16-0 deficit to pull within two points late in the fourth quarter against the San Francisco 49ers. Then Ted Ginn did what Ted Ginn is occasionally wont to do, suckerpunching Seattle with a kickoff and a punt returned for touchdowns with less than four minutes to go in the game. The Steelers, meanwhile, entered Sunday's opener against the rival Baltimore Ravens with their usual swagger and left the field as perplexed as fans at the 35-7 drubbing that took place. Both teams hope to regroup this week.
For the Seahawks, that means kickstarting an offense that was utterly stagnant last week. Tarvaris Jackson completed 21 passes to nine different receivers last week, but managed just 5.1 yards per attempt for 197 yards. The running game provided little relief, averaging 2.9 yards per carry and just 2.5 from lead back Marshawn Lynch. The defense played well, allowing just 209 yards albeit against an sorry 49ers offense. Both sides of the ball are, in theory, in for a tougher test this Sunday, but the Steelers are just as, if not more so battle scarred.
The Steelers' offense managed nearly 100 more total yards that the Seahawks last week, but turnovers doomed a shell-shocked Pittsburgh squad. Ben Roethlisberger accounted for three interceptions and two lost fumbles as the biggest contributor to the team's seven giveaways on the day. The running game couldn't rejuvenate the squad with Rashard Mendenhall averaging just 3.8 yards per carry in the loss. Most disappointing was the performance of what is supposed to be one of the best defenses in football. The Steelers' vaunted defensive front gave up 170 yards rushing to a Ravens offense that they held to 35 yards during the AFC Championship Game.
Both teams have playoff hopes, with the Steelers aiming even higher. To the winner goes a brand new start to the season. The loser, meanwhile, gets an early wake up call.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, September 18; 1:00pm ET
Location: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Steelers: WDVE 102.5 FM / 970
Seahawks: 710 AM ESPN / 97.3 FM KIRO