Steelers shut out Seahawks
Ike Taylor breaks up a pass intended for the Seahawks' Ben Obomanu in the second quarter yesterday at Heinz Field.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin shakes hands with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger after the Steelers defeated the Seahawks, 21-0.
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The day turned hot at Heinz Field yesterday -- and the temperature rose as well. Nothing on a sweltering October day burned brighter than the Steelers. If the Seattle Seahawks claimed not to see a Super Bowl performance by the Steelers 20 months ago in Detroit, they witnessed one yesterday in Pittsburgh.
Crushed by injuries right up to the final minutes before kickoff, the Steelers ground the Seahawks like Seattle's Best on the way to a 21-0 victory and their first shutout in the seven-year history of Heinz Field.
"We got it handed to us pretty good," Seattle's Mike Holmgren acknowledged after experiencing a shutout for only the second time in his 245 regular-season games as a NFL coach. The Steelers (4-1) did it with some of their best players on the sideline -- Pro Bowl defenders Troy Polamalu and Casey Hampton did not play, nor did four-time Pro Bowl receiver Hines Ward, all injured. Then, about an hour before kickoff, Santonio Holmes, their other starting receiver, injured his hamstring during warm-ups and joined them on the sideline.
It turned out to be no problem all the way around.
"We take a lot of pride as backups," veteran backup nose tackle Chris Hoke said. "We don't look at ourselves as second-teamers. ... We feel like we can step in and keep this thing going." They never stopped, dominating the Seahawks (3-2) everywhere. Willie Parker ran for 102 yards as the Steelers outgained Seattle on the ground, 163-38. Ben Roethlisberger completed 18 of 22 passes for 206 yards and a touchdown as Seahawks' quarterbacks managed to complete less than half of their passes for 122 yards and an interception. Seattle's offense barely worked up a sweat as the Steelers held onto the ball for nearly 41 minutes of the 60-minute game.
"Demoralizing them with the run and having to deal with the heat, I'm sure it wore on them at the end," Steelers tackle Marvel Smith said. Roethlisberger, a picture of perfection most of the day, threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Heath Miller in the second quarter. And when cornerback Ike Taylor intercepted a Matt Hasselbeck pass at the goal line on the final play of the first half, it was over for the Seahawks even though they trailed by just 7-0.
It was a great play of many good ones for Taylor yesterday, who broke up two other passes he also might have intercepted. "He delivered for us today," coach Mike Tomlin said. There are 30 minutes of play in each half and the Steelers' offense had the ball for nearly 25 minutes in the final two quarters as Seattle's offense did little but wave a white towel at the end.
The Steelers' touchdown drive that began the third quarter traveled 80 yards on 17 plays and consumed 10:17. It overcame every obstacle this side of a Route 28 rock slide, including three holding penalties, two of which whipped out long runs by Parker and Najeh Davenport, and it converted three third-and-long plays. It ended with Davenport leaping high for a 1-yard touchdown run and a 14-0 lead, and then leaping into the South end zone stands. Not to be outdone, he leaped into the North end zone stands at the conclusion of the next series, this time lasting 8:06 and covering 85 yards on 13 plays. Davenport scored his second touchdown around right end from 5 yards before this former Green Bay Packers back brought the Lambeau Leap for the second time to Heinz Field.
"The Heinz Field Hop," Davenport called it.
Davenport ran seven times for 58 yards, including a 45-yard dash around left end that helped create the first touchdown that ended in Miller's hands over the middle.
"We did a good thing with the one-two punch," said Parker, who has four 100-yard games this season. "When Najeh broke that long run, they were like, 'Hey, this big guy can run.' So we put him in the game a little bit more than usual and we kind of thrashed them." With Holmes and Ward out, Tomlin turned to Cedrick Wilson and Nate Washington as starters and had Willie Reid as the only other wide receiver. All contributed. Wilson led the team with five receptions and 69 yards, Davenport caught four passes for 38 and Reid caught a 25-yard pass.
"Obviously, you miss guys like that and you count on the other guys to step up and they did a great job stepping up," said Roethlisberger, who had a 120.8 passer rating.
While Roethlisberger was sacked three times, his line did a good job of giving him plenty of time to throw one week after a so-so game in Arizona.
"Ben's always solid," tackle Marvel Smith said. "When we give him time back there, he can sit back there and pick apart any defense."
Hasselbeck, on the other hand, looked terrible for Seattle. The veteran, who played in the Super Bowl against the Steelers, entered the game with a passer rating above 100 and left with one of 44.7 for the day. Holmgren replaced his quarterback with backup Seneca Wallace, down 21-0 with 7:10 left. It looked very much like a white flag.
"I was surprised," Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel said. "You kind of knew when that happened they threw in the towel."
First Published October 8, 2007 12:00 am