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Week 2 Game Recap: Seattle Seahawks 28, Pittsburgh Steelers 26


What you need to know

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks offense was, if not fearsome, at least well-rounded. The Steelers defense couldn’t focus on stopping any one aspect of their game, so in the end, it was a slow burn, but a very effective one. Russell Wilson took a few sacks, but his arm was in vintage form, hitting his wide receivers, tight ends, and running backs with uncanny accuracy. Chris Carson had his troubles with fumbles – giving the Steelers points – but looked good otherwise. Rashaad Penny also had a good game, however, so if the fumbles continue, we could see a more even split going forward. The highlights of the game go to TE Will Dissly, who snagged two TD passes on the day, and should be shooting up everyone’s waiver list in week 3.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Under Ben Roethlisberger's tenure as the Steelers quarterback, the Steelers were 10-2 for home openers. Naturally, the Steelers came out with a lot of confidence with the home crowd working for them and one of the most penalized and aggressive defenses in the NFL. The Seahawks did manage to get pressure on Ben Roethlisberger early and were stifling James Conner for little to no gain out of the backfield. In the first half, if it wasn't for a defensive pass interference call in the end zone the Steelers would not have been able to keep the game so close in the second half. When the second half started Ben Roethlisberger was sidelined for the rest of the game with an apparent elbow injury. The Steelers, with Moncrief benched and Roethlisberger sidelined, were moving the ball pretty well against the Seahawks and brought the score within two points of tying after a timely Russell Wilson fumble and quick touchdown for the offense. Unfortunately, the defense could not come up with another turn over or stop, allowing the Seahawks to hold the ball for over five minutes to run out the clock.

Seattle Seahawks

QB Russell Wilson, 79 offensive snaps, Pass: 29 - 35 - 300 - 3 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 6 - 22 - 0
Wilson came out with a pass first mentality, and it seemed to kick the Seahawks into a gear that they failed to find in week 1. He showed a lot of confidence in rookie DK Metcalf, targeting him on the opening two plays. Later, he placed a perfect TD pass over his shoulder while he was in very tight man coverage. Tyler Lockett was still his favourite play, as he found him on short patterns all over the field. Early on, Wilson was sacked a little too easily as the pocket disappeared on him, which stalled a couple of drives. But when the running game finally got untracked, the passing game opened up as well. Notable, Wilson found TE Will Dissly on two separate but very similar TD plays, hitting him with a well-timed pass up high after Dissly broke off the line freely. It was pretty sweet looking, and it would be a surprise if Wilson’s rapport with Dissly doesn’t continue. But, Wilson’s heroics weren’t finished yet. On an option handoff out of the shotgun, Wilson got ahead of Rashaad Penny and blocked for him all the way to the end zone. Holding a two point lead in the final minutes, Wilson used his legs with great success, finding huge gains on draw plays to move the chains and keep the clock running. Probably the best sign that Wilson has found his groove is that he was back to spreading the ball around to several targets, which is when he’s at his best.

RB Chris Carson, 43 offensive snaps, Rush: 15 - 60 - 0, Rec: 3 - 27 - 0 (3 targets)
Carson had a hard luck game, with two costly fumbles deep in his own territory. If you take those gaffes away, he looked good on the ground and also contributed as a receiver – even lining up wide for a hitch play. He seemed to be seeing the field well, but the Steelers did a formidable job of clogging the middle of the field. When the blocking was there, however, he took advantage. On his third carry, he followed the left tackle, who was pull blocking on a right side run, for a 24-yard gain. And so it went. Carson was either stuffed at the line, or put up a big gain, there wasn’t much in between. After his second fumble, he was not on the field for the final drive as the Seahawks held their lead. Probably nothing to worry about, but if the fumbles continue to be a problem, then Rashaad Penny, who played well, would be in line to take more of the workload.

RB Rashaad Penny, 26 offensive snaps, Rush: 10 - 62 - 1, Rec: 1 - 3 - 0 (1 targets)
Penny did not see the field much in the first half, but picked up steam as the game went on. He was used at first to give Carson a breather, but late in the game was given the call after Carson’s second costly fumble. His TD play was quietly a thing of beauty as he took the shotgun handoff up the middle, and, because it was an option play, when he had to bounce back outside, found himself running right behind Russell Wilson, who promptly blocked for him all the way to the end zone, a 37 yard score! The combination of good play and Carson’s ball security issues could give him a window to more playing time next week.

RB C.J. Prosise, 10 offensive snaps, Rush: 2 - 7 - 0, Rec: 3 - 13 - 0 (3 targets)
Prosise was used situationally. He’s still the most reliable receiver out of the backfield, and so he came in for the 2-minute drill in the first half. And he really does add a new dimension to the team, as an adept receiver who can also run it up the middle when necessary. He was leaned on somewhat heavily for that drive, but of course, that also made up the bulk of his playing time.

WR Tyler Lockett, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 10 - 79 - 0 (12 targets)
Lockett’s line tells the story. Ten catches, but no big gains. He was Russell Wilson’s security blanket underneath, and was targeted unsuccessfully on a couple of deeper routes. The Steelers did a great job of closing in after the catch, limiting his overall yardage. He did take one catch for about 20 yards, a quick out in the flats, which gave him some open field to work with.

WR Malik Turner, 16 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 54 - 0 (3 targets)
Turner was the clear third WR, and showed excellent awareness after the catch. He made a nice spin move away from the defender on one short catch to get a few yards. His second catch was short, on a 3rd and long, so he had no chance to get anywhere. And later, another catch and run over the middle, for a good gain. His competition on the depth chart, Jaron Brown, was charged with two penalties early in the game, which likely gave Turner more snaps than usual. If that continues, he could be a valuable cog in the wheel for the Seahawks.

WR DK Metcalf, 70 offensive snaps, Rec: 3 - 61 - 1 (7 targets)
Let’s say this again, shall we: Metcalf, for the most part, did not look like a rookie out there. On the first play from scrimmage, he worked the defender expertly on the sideline, coming back for a slightly underthrown ball, and an easy first down. He was not targeted for a while after that, and in the 2-minute drill, finally reminded us that he is a rookie after all, when his second offensive Pass Interference call in as many games stalled the drive. In the second half, he really used his size advantage. After a short mid-field catch, he manhandled the smaller D players for extra yards. Coverage was tight on him all game, but he did a beautiful job tracking the ball on his TD catch. It came over his shoulder in the end zone for a 28 yard score.

TE Will Dissly, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 50 - 2 (5 targets)
Dissly’s had a great game on paper, but it was even better to witness. Before the two scores, he got open downfield for a 43-yard catch and run, but it was negated by a holding call. Then, he made an excellent high catch in the end zone on a well-timed throw. The second score was essentially the same play, as he cruised off the line untouched and Russell Wilson timed it perfectly for him to catch it and walk in. Dissly also snagged a first down catch late in the game, and was used heavily in crunch time, moving the chains and reminding us how very hard he is to take down. Move him up your charts, folks, he looks like the real deal.


Pittsburgh Steelers

QB Mason Rudolph, 28 offensive snaps, Pass: 12 - 19 - 112 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 1 - 7 - 0
His performance wasn't without its flaws, but Rudolph stepped in and looked like a serviceable NFL starting quarterback. Rudolph showed good accuracy to all levels of the field and enough arm strength to drive the ball to the outside hashes. If it wasn't for Donte Moncrief's tipped pass, Rudolph would have likely finished the day without a turnover on his resume. On the day, Rudolph had three highlight throws. The first was his first touchdown to Vance McDonald. Rudolph could have thrown the ball when he first saw pressure, but instead he hung in the pocket and allowed the deeper sections of the secondary to uncover enough for McDonald to have room to operate. Rudolph's second highlight throw came in the third quarter. It was a flea flicker play. The ball came back to Rudolph and he hit Juju Smith-Schuster as he was pulling away from his defender. If Rudolph had a little more juice in his arm he might have been able to hit Smith-Schuster in stride for a touchdown, but it was still a nice deep throw. Finally, Rudolph's second touchdown was a thing of beauty. On a play action play, Rudolph completely turned his back to the opposing defense. When he turned around, Rudolph delivered an accurate and on time pass to Vance McDonald and brought the Steelers within two points.

QB Ben Roethlisberger, 29 offensive snaps, Pass: 8 - 15 - 75 - 0 TD / 0 INT
Ben Roethlisberger, coming into his 2019 home opener, had a 68.9% completion percentage and a 22-7 touchdown to interception ratio. Unfortunately, his sterling track record did not carry over into this game. Roethlisberger was seeing extreme pressure as early as the second play of the game. He took a sack where he landed awkwardly on his elbow. Similar to Week 1, Roethlisberger did take his deep shots against the Seahawk's secondary. Also similar to Week 1, Roethlisberger targeted speedy wide receiver, Johnny Holton. Holton, this time, was open as he split his defenders deep, but Roethlisberger overthrew the ball. Roethlisberger's best pass of the game came just before half time. Roethlisberger looked the defender inside so Juju Smith-Schuster could gain outside leverage and work in space. Roethlisberger went to the locker room with a couple minutes left in the first half and did not return the rest of the game.

RB James Conner, 31 offensive snaps, Rush: 11 - 33 - 1, Rec: 3 - 12 - 0 (4 targets)
It looked like early on in the game James Conner was going to be a focal point of the game. The Steelers were using the Seahawks aggressiveness against them as Roethlisberger, and Rudolph, were allowing oncoming rushers to get close and then hit Conner in the flat when they over pursued their angle. James Conner, by both quarterbacks, handled significant punishment when targeted. On a reception in the third quarter Conner didn't catch, he was hit hard immediately after missing the catch and again late in the third quarter before leaving with a knee injury. Conner had multiple runs where he was close to breaking off a bigger run than what he had. Conner's best run of the night came on a run up the middle. It looked like there wasn't any room, but Conner got small and navigated himself through the Steelers line for a 10+ yard run.

RB Jaylen Samuels, 22 offensive snaps, Rush: 3 - 18 - 0, Rec: 1 - 13 - 0 (1 targets)
Involved early to give James Conner a breather, Samuels looked explosive in the open field, reliable in the passing game, strong in pass protection, and able to be a playmaker downfield when the opportunity arises. Samuels notable play of the game will not show up in the box score. As he was being covered by a defender, Samuels worked downfield and went to make a play on the ball in the end zone. The defender did not turn around and Samuels was able to draw a defensive pass interference penalty putting the Steelers in position for their first touchdown of the game. It should be noted if James Conner is dealing with a knee injury which would lead to him missing time, Samuels will likely receive a larger workload. Benny Snell did not receive any additional work after James Conner was injured.

RB Benny Snell, 2 offensive snaps, Rush: 1 - 23 - 0
It was only one touch, but Snell showed why he was picked in the fourth round and how he earned a game day active. On his first carry, Snell had excellent blocking ahead of him, was in his lineman's back pocket as he approached the line, and made a simple cut to find his running lane. Snell accelerated quickly through the hole and evaded multiple arm tackles through the pile.

WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, 47 offensive snaps, Rec: 5 - 84 - 0 (8 targets)
After combatting all night with Stephen Gilmore in Week 1 against the Patriots, Juju Smith-Schuster saw a much easier day against the Seattle Seahawks who don't have a traveling shutdown cornerback. The downside is Ben Roethlisberger didn't target him until halfway through the second quarter. When Smith-Schuster was targeted he was a reliable target for Ben Roethlisberger and getting good opportunities after the catch. Smith-Schuster's had two prominent receptions on the night, one with each quarterback. The first, with Ben Roethlisberger, came in the second quarter. Smith-Schuster used his eyes to work the defender inside in tandem with Roethlisberger and was able to work his route outside for a great opportunity in the open field. In the third quarter, with Rudolph in, Smith-Schuster sprang free on a flea flicker play. Smith-Schuster tracked the ball well, slowing down and made a strong hands catch over the defender. However, if Rudolph would have led his receiver better, Smith-Schuster would have a touchdown on the night.

WR James Washington, 34 offensive snaps, Rec: 2 - 23 - 0 (3 targets)
Washington wasn't involved much, but his highlight catch came in the second quarter. The Steelers offense had two first downs from a defensive holding on Juju Smith-Schuster and a Smith-Schuster reception. On a crossing route, Roethlisberger threw the ball behind Washington. Washington displayed excellent body control and hands as he reached behind him for the pass and immediately turned up field.

WR Donte Moncrief, 18 offensive snaps (1 targets)
Being targeted only once should be bad enough for Moncrief, but he did maximum damage with his target on the day. On a routine catch, Moncrief missed the reception and tipped the ball in the air with a defender waiting behind him. The defender showed better hands than Donte Moncrief, securing the tipped ball and intercepting Mason Rudolph on his first drive. Moncrief was benched immediately. Moncrief's drop count currently rests at five going into Week 3.

TE Vance McDonald, 52 offensive snaps, Rec: 7 - 38 - 2 (7 targets)
After not seeing a target until the fourth quarter of Week 1, the Steelers were making an effort to get McDonald involved early and often. In fact, Vance McDonald's first reception came on the first play of the game. While it was only a simple screen, McDonald almost broke away from potential tacklers. McDonald provided good yards after the catch ability, which Ryan Switzer was lacking in Week 1, and a good end zone presence once Mason Rudolph entered the game. In fact, both of Vance McDonald's touchdowns on the day were from Mason Rudolph. On the first touchdown, Vance McDonald sat down in a soft spot of the coverage. After he made the reception, McDonald turned into a running back and carried defenders into the end zone with him. If McDonald's first touchdown catch was a class on power running after the catch, we should consider McDonald second touchdown reception a class on hands and being where you are supposed to be. After turning his back to the defense, Mason Rudolph turned around to find Vance McDonald in position for an easy touchdown pass.