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Old 10-03-2007, 04:38 AM   #1
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Default Seattle at Pittsburgh- PFW's Game of the Week

Seattle at Pittsburgh - Oct. 7, 2007 at 1:00 p.m.
PFW's Game of the Week


At a glance: These teams last met in Super Bowl XL, with the Steelers winning 21-10. Both sit atop their divisions with 3-1 records, and both have lost to the same opponent: the Arizona Cardinals.

Overview: A little more than 19 months ago, these teams played for the NFL title in Detroit. The Steelers, thanks to strong defense, some blown Seahawks opportunities and a game-changing TD pass from Antwaan Randle El to game MVP Hines Ward, won Super Bowl XL, 21-10.

Most of the principals from that game are still with their respective teams. The Seahawks are led by head coach Mike Holmgren, whose West Coast offense remains difficult to stop, thanks in large part to the cohesiveness of an offense featuring stalwart QB Matt Hasselbeck and RB Shaun Alexander.

One of the dominant story lines of Super Bowl XL was Steelers head coach Bill Cowher?s quest for his first title. Cowher has since retired, but his replacement, Mike Tomlin, has kept much of the Steelers? traditional tendencies in place. The Steelers are physical on offense, aggressive on defense, sound in the kicking game. As coaching transitions go, the Steelers couldn?t have executed a smoother one.

Both teams are seeking to return to their championship form of two seasons ago. Neither team performed to expectations in 2006, but both have started quickly in ?07. Indeed, consistency of approach has paid off for these clubs.

When the Seahawks have the ball: It?s a footnote likely to be forgotten with the passage of time, but the Seahawks actually moved the ball fairly well vs. the Steelers in Super Bowl XL. Seattle rolled up 396 yards of total offense vs. Pittsburgh. Perhaps most impressively, Alexander rushed for 95 yards on 20 carries.

That performance came at the end of Alexander?s MVP season ? one that saw the Seahawks? longtime featured back rush for 1,880 yards and 27 touchdowns on 370 carries.

Alexander isn?t quite the player he was two seasons ago. He doesn?t appear as quick as he was, and he has played hurt for much of the past two seasons. A foot injury kept him out of six games a season ago, and he?s currently playing with a broken bone in his wrist. That said, the Steelers must be leery of him. Alexander boasts very good vision, and he will make the most of every run. If Pittsburgh does not play sound run defense, Alexander could approach 100 yards once again.

But running against the Steelers is easier said than done. NT Casey Hampton is playing at a Pro Bowl level, and DEs Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel are stout at the point of attack. This allows a tough, veteran LB corps to swarm. However, the Steelers? defense could be without two of its top weapons vs. the run, SS Troy Polamalu (abdominal strain) and Hampton (hamstring).
The Seahawks? passing game can be a thing of beauty when Hasselbeck is in sync with his receivers as he was last week at San Francisco. Hasselbeck completed 23-of-31 passes for 281 yards with two TD passes and one interception. Nine different Seahawks caught a pass.

After being shut out in the season-opening win vs. Tampa Bay, WR Deion Branch has been outstanding, catching 20 passes for 329 yards and a touchdown in his last three games. Don?t be surprised if Holmgren sends Branch and Nate Burleson deep on occasion to test Steelers CBs Deshea Townsend and Ike Taylor. When the teams last met, the Seahawks went after Taylor throughout the first half, and Hasselbeck and WR Darrell Jackson had one TD pass that was called back due to a questionable penalty.
Seahawks WR D.J. Hackett, expected to be an important part of the offense entering the season, is likely to miss another game with an ankle injury.

When the Steelers have the ball: The Steelers won Super Bowl XL in spite of QB Ben Roethlisberger, who completed only 9-of-21 passes for 123 yards and threw two interceptions, including one that led to a touchdown that cut Pittsburgh?s lead to 14-10.

Almost two years later, the scouting report is about the same on Roethlisberger. He is a hot-and-cold passer who can force the action too much at times, and he?s at his best when supported by a strong running game.
He had no such support last week at Arizona. The Cardinals held RB Willie Parker to 37 yards on 19 carries. Roethlisberger was under pressure from the rush more than he had been all season and was sacked four times. He also threw two interceptions.

If the Steelers? offense is to find a consistent rhythm, the offensive line must be stout in the face of a Seattle pass rush that has been downright disruptive at times this season. The Seahawks notched six sacks vs. the Niners last week, three courtesy of OLB Julian Peterson, one of the finest all-around threats at his position in the league.

Peterson is not the Seahawks? only standout at linebacker. MLB Lofa Tatupu is incredibly quick, though he needs to be kept clean of blockers to thrive.
The Steelers will balance their running game with plenty of shotgun, four-WR looks that spread the field. WR Santonio Holmes, who has improved by leaps and bounds in his second NFL season, thrives in Bruce Arians? offense. However, the offense missed WR Hines Ward in the loss to Arizona; his status is up in the air for the Seattle game. If Ward misses another game, the Steelers will need WRs Cedrick Wilson, Nate Washington and Willie Reid to step up.

The Seahawks? secondary is improved from a season ago, thanks in large part to the addition of veteran safeties Deon Grant and Brian Russell.
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Old 10-03-2007, 06:45 AM   #2
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Default Re: Seattle at Pittsburgh- PFW's Game of the Week

I think that Fast Willie is going to have a hard time finding running room against Seattle. Hopefully this week we throw in some play action and screens to counter their run defense. We need Hines back, big time. Our other receivers just don't get it done. And Ben needs a big game. I don't see any problems with us stopping Alexander either. We will beat the Seahawks. Tomlin is going to have this bunch ready to go.
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Old 10-03-2007, 08:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Seattle at Pittsburgh- PFW's Game of the Week

say, mix 'em up with some reverse plays, I like that! See, it worked in 2004 with Ward & Randle. Maybe asking Parker to make some throws is too much...(like D Bus did)? Worth to try.....Our defense still rule!!!
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Old 10-03-2007, 08:42 AM   #4
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Default Re: Seattle at Pittsburgh- PFW's Game of the Week

We better win. I work with a Seahawks fan. He stills gives me grief over the Super Bowl.
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Old 10-03-2007, 08:59 AM   #5
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Default Re: Seattle at Pittsburgh- PFW's Game of the Week

It is probably the best game of the week, matching up 2 teams in the second tier below the Colts and Pats.

Win and all is well at 4-1 going into the break - lose and the good news the Steelers have experienced since January may start melting away.

Without Hines playing, Washington needs to get his head into the game or the Hawks can just load up on the run and try to shut down Holmes.
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:16 AM   #6
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Default Re: Seattle at Pittsburgh- PFW's Game of the Week

several seahawks have already admitted this is a "revenge" game for them. they feel they have something to prove and will emotionally be fired up. the steelers need to match that and come out with the emotion that they wanna punch somebody in the mouth.

if you ask me, this isnt a "business as usual" game.
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:29 AM   #7
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Default Re: Seattle at Pittsburgh- PFW's Game of the Week

Quote:
Originally Posted by BurghZ0n3 View Post
say, mix 'em up with some reverse plays, I like that! See, it worked in 2004 with Ward & Randle. Maybe asking Parker to make some throws is too much...(like D Bus did)? Worth to try.....Our defense still rule!!!
Wilson used to be a QB too. They tried letting him throw one in the SF game but both receivers were covered
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:50 AM   #8
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Default Re: Seattle at Pittsburgh- PFW's Game of the Week

Lol - I just can't wait until we win. Hopefully there are going to be some Hawk fans in my seating area at Heinz :D
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Old 10-03-2007, 09:56 AM   #9
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Default Re: Seattle at Pittsburgh- PFW's Game of the Week

I'd say....34-20. May the force be with our players....Pittsburgh's Force that is....
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Old 10-03-2007, 11:14 AM   #10
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Default Re: Seattle at Pittsburgh- PFW's Game of the Week

this is the second week in a row now that we will be facing a highly motivated team and coach. we have to match their intensity or it will be like last week all over again.
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