Pittsburgh Steelers: Battling The Seahawks’ 12th Man


This Sunday in Seattle, a tie will be broken between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Seattle Seahawks. Each team has won eight of the 16 games played between the two teams.

The Steelers and Seahawks used to be in the AFC together, and the first time they met was in 1977. Pittsburgh won that first game 30-20 on December 4. A year later in a rematch, ironically, the Black and Gold prevailed again by a score of 21-10. Ironic because the Steelers and ‘Hawks met in Super Bowl XL and as every fan knows, Pittsburgh won that game by the same score. Those first two games were in the ‘Burgh.

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Of the 16 games played, weirdly enough, Pittsburgh has won a quarter of those games by scoring 21 points. In the third meeting in Seattle in 1981,  Seattle won for the first time 24-21 as the Steelers again scored three touchdowns but lost the game. There have been four shutouts in this head-to-head series, 16-0 and 30-0 won by Seattle in 1982 and 1986, but of the last three meetings since 2006,  the Steelers have won all three. The three victories include that NFL championship game, but the last two came in the regular season both won by Pittsburgh by scores of 21-0 and 24-0.

That first meeting 38 years ago saw Terry Bradshaw calling the signals for the Steelers and Jim Zorn on the other side. Franco Harris was Pittsburgh’s primary running back and running the ball first string in Seattle was Sherman Smith. 10 years later, the key players in the game played that season were Mark Malone, Walter Abercrombie, Steve Largent, Dave Krieg, Curt Warner, Frank Pollard, and a man who played for both teams John L. Williams.

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Players have come and gone in this series, but from those Super Bowl XL rosters, and for the visiting Steelers, only James Harrison, Heath Miller, and Ben Roethlisberger are still on Pittsburgh’s roster from that championship winning team. From Seattle’s roster…not ONE player remains from that 2005 squad.

Come Sunday, much will be on the line for both teams and Pittsburgh is 5 1/2 point underdog. Here’s to hoping the ‘dogs have some bite. When Pittsburgh is playing in Seattle, Pittsburgh has won four of six games against the spread in those six games.

When the Steelers have the ball: Ben Roethlisberger and his many weapons face a tough challenge come Sunday against the league’s second ranked defense. Pittsburgh’s offense on the other hand is ranked sixth overall and would be much higher if Big Ben had not missed a handful of games.

Seattle’s defense is yielding just over 300 yards per game, that includes 190 yards of passing given up on the average, and 96 on the ground. With an aggressive defense that suffocates, the Steelers’ offense will have to find holes to make things happen. Despite the excellent defense, Seattle has still lost as many games they have won this season (5-5).

Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers /

Pittsburgh Steelers

Watch for Ben Roethlisberger to focus on three players: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, and Heath Miller. DeAngelo Williams will get the bulk of the carries in the running game but if he can’t get it going, the end result will be much more of an air game for Pittsburgh.

When the Seahawks have the ball: There has been a lot of buzz about how Russell Wilson‘s new monster contract has affected his season as he sits in position 17 among the leaders in passing yards. Also there is talk about how Wilson has done too much media stuff. Along the way he has thrown just 13 touchdowns and seven interceptions. On the ground, it’s not Marshawn Lynch leading the way this season rather Thomas Rawls who is toting a 6.0 per-carry average.

Lynch’s Mark is about 3.8 and there is talk that this might be his last season in Seattle. Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham are leading the Seattle air game and the Steelers’ defense should be able to handle the passing attack. The way Rawls has been running, hard and aggressive, he could pose problems for Pittsburgh.

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Intangibles: To win, the Steelers will have to be completely on top of their game. Their biggest obstacle aside from themselves will be Seattle’s 12th man. The fact that ‘Hawks fans have probably not forgotten the Super Bowl XL loss and how some penalties in that game seemed unfair and to Pittsburgh’s advantage, should add to the noise level come Sunday.

Prediction: My gut says Seattle wins at home in a key game for both. But my intellect says the Steelers are the better team and when faced with a difficult opponent, they come prepared. Pittsburgh’s weaponry is back on track and with the bye week and a long layoff, Ben Roethlisberger is that much healthier. No one has been able to shut down Antonio Brown and Seattle will face that challenge. But A.B. Is only one of several weapons. Prediction: Steelers 30 Seahawks 20.