FBG says: Tough matchup. As expected, the Seahawks opened the year following 2018's run-dominant blueprint. The game was close throughout, but Seattle kept the ball on the ground for 25 of its 45 snaps. There wasn't much success to be found - those 25 rushes netted just 72 yards - but better days should be ahead. The front line has its issues in pass protection, but all five starters are strong run blockers, earning the unit an A+ run grade from Footballguys' Matt Bitonti. Chris Carson remains the clear-cut lead back, and despite the rough opener, his arrow is pointing up in this scheme. His emergence as an explosive runner has made a novelty item of the disappointing Rashaad Penny, who managed just 18 yards in the opener. Since the offseason, Penny hasn't looked dynamic in either phase of the offense; he's well behind Carson in the pecking order. Russell Wilson remains a threat to run, though he's far less aggressive than some of his peers. He's more valued for his ability to extend pass plays than as a high-volume rusher.
The Steelers boast one of the league's better run defenses, and for the most part, it showed up in Week 1. Patriots power back Sony Michel was completely neutralized, putting up just 14 yards on his 15 attempts, with a long gain of 5. But their performance followed a familiar Steelers trend: winning the power game, but flailing badly against speedy, one-cut runners. Michel may have been bottled up, but scatbacks Rex Burkhead and James White combined to post 12 for 70. It's a long-standing problem, and the team hopes top pick Devin Bush will pick up big slack in those matchups. Bush looked a bit lost in his debut but showed off dazzling speed and a nose for the play (11 total tackles). His rookie success will hinge on the line's ability to keep him clean, and luckily for Bush, the Steelers are stacked upfront. Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward are elite space-eaters, which should keep Bush and company free to make plays. Any step forward from safety Terrell Edmunds, who was drafted first in 2018 but has struggled in the lineup, would be a bonus for this generally-stout unit.