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Old 01-25-2009, 10:40 PM   #1
I-Want-Troy's-Hair
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Default Seahags lose way

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...yndication=rss

While Hawks lose their way, Steelers stay course — and win

The Steelers' roster has changed, but not their results, and that's because the Steelers' identity remains unchanged. In Seattle, that identity is a question that could become a crisis if the Seahawks don't bounce back.

By Danny O'Neil

Seattle Times NFL reporter

The Seahawks and Steelers have gone in different directions since their matchup in Super Bowl XL in 2006.


Each has lost free agents, added draft picks and weathered retirements, but one thing remained constant: Pittsburgh's defense. The Steelers don't run the ball as well as they did back then, they pass a little more often, but they're as stout defensively this season as they were in 2005, maybe even a little more so:

It has been just three years since Seattle played Pittsburgh on football's biggest stage, not quite an average NFL career or a full presidential term.

The Seahawks lost a Pro Bowl guard to free agency in that time. So did the Steelers.

Seattle had a Pro Bowl center retire. So did Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh has swapped out 11 of its 22 starters since Super Bowl XL and changed coaches. Yet the Steelers are preparing to play for their second NFL title in four seasons, while the Seahawks are trying to regroup from their worst season in 16 years.

The Steelers' roster has changed, but not their results, and that's because the Steelers' identity remains unchanged. In Seattle, that identity is a question that could become a crisis if the Seahawks don't bounce back.

The offense that led Seattle to its only Super Bowl appearance has aged and eroded, and the defense that was supposed to lead the team in 2008 turned limp.

There have never been any questions about Pittsburgh's strength. It was defense when the Steelers won four Super Bowls in six seasons in the 1970s, and it was defense that led them to the title three years ago.

The Steelers have a very specific signature that has endured through the tolls of aging veterans and free-agent defections. This is a team built around a defense with an anchor of a nose tackle in Casey Hampton, a game-changing safety in Troy Polamalu, and two outside linebackers who pinch in on opposing quarterbacks like needle-nosed pliers.

Pittsburgh's top two pass rushers in 2005 were outside linebackers Joey Porter (10.5 sacks) and Clark Haggans (nine sacks). Both are gone, yet Pittsburgh's top two pass rushers in 2008 are their outside linebackers: James Harrison (16 sacks) and LaMarr Woodley (12 sacks).

Offense is where the Steelers simply find a way to make ends meet.

Three years ago, the Steelers were a team that rushed first, second and sometimes third. They had Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis carrying the ball, guard Alan Faneca opening holes. They were lucky the NFL isn't a test, because they didn't pass all that often. Pittsburgh attempted 379 passes in the regular season, the fewest in the league.

Bettis and center Jeff Hartings retired, Faneca is now a Jet, and the Steelers are no great shakes on offense this time around, either. They averaged 311.9 yards in the regular season, fewest of any of the 12 playoff teams. But Ben Roethlisberger is a quarterback entering his prime who has shown a knack for making just enough plays on third down. The defense has done the rest.

What will Seattle rely upon going forward?

The offense used to be the engine that made Seattle go. The Seahawks scored more points than anyone else in the 2005 season and sent six offensive players to the Pro Bowl. Only two of those Pro Bowlers remain: Matt Hasselbeck and Walter Jones. Guard Steve Hutchinson left for Minnesota in 2006, center Robbie Tobeck retired in 2007, and Seattle continued to stockpile defensive talent in the draft and free agency.

Seattle sent four defensive players to the Pro Bowl last season and returned all 11 starters in 2008, yet the defense that was supposed to lead the Seahawks turned out to be a liability. That became clear when injuries turned contagious among Seattle receivers in September and the offense slowed to a crawl. When the team desperately needed the defense to show some bare-knuckled toughness, it responded with flat-footed inadequacy.

One year after nearly setting a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a 16-game season, Seattle allowed more passing yards than any other team in the league in 2008.

One season of struggles is too short a time to pass judgment on the personnel decisions, especially with the Seahawks missing their quarterback for more than half the season. The Seahawks have three playoff berths and three division titles in Tim Ruskell's four seasons.

The Steelers missed the playoffs once in that time, too, going 8-8 in 2006, Bill Cowher's final season as coach. But Pittsburgh is back in the Super Bowl with Mike Tomlin in charge and that same old defense.

The question is how Seattle plans to bounce back, as the offense that was its signature back in 2005 is gone and so is the coach who put it together. What is left behind is a collection of defensive parts that looked pretty good until last season started, and the question of the team's identity.
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Last edited by I-Want-Troy's-Hair; 01-26-2009 at 12:13 AM.
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:39 PM   #2
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Default Re: Seahags lose way

make good use of that top 5 draft pick ,you buncha whiney bastards.....
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Old 01-25-2009, 11:51 PM   #3
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Default Re: Seahags lose way

Here's some salt for the wound. ouch bet that hit a nerve for the Ref's screwed us faithful.
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Old 01-26-2009, 12:53 PM   #4
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Default Re: Seahags lose way

What's really funny is a lot of Seattle fans are rooting for the Steelers

http://www.seahawkblue.com/showthread.php?t=13170


Something about hating Warner and not wanting the Cards to get a ring before them or something.
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:17 PM   #5
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Default Re: Seahags lose way

Quote:
Originally Posted by Killer View Post
What's really funny is a lot of Seattle fans are rooting for the Steelers

http://www.seahawkblue.com/showthread.php?t=13170

Something about hating Warner and not wanting the Cards to get a ring before them or something.
That's not what I'm reading here. XLIII has sent the Hawks fans into a relapse.

http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=114&f=1938&t=3834912
http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=114&f=1938&t=3817198
http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=114&f=1938&t=3795626
http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=114&f=1938&t=3795236
http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=114&f=1938&t=3794373
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Old 01-26-2009, 02:17 PM   #6
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Default Re: Seahags lose way

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Originally Posted by VegasStlrFan View Post
Here's some salt for the wound. ouch bet that hit a nerve for the Ref's screwed us faithful.
I saw one of the Super Bowl XL highlight shows yesterday. The funniest thing was on that "controversial" holding play, Locklear wasn't the only lineman holding. Another Seabag had a fistful of Hampton's jersey.
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Old 01-26-2009, 03:52 PM   #7
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Default Re: Seahags lose way

WAAAHHH! WAAAHHH! WAAAHHH!

Glad this matchup has them so pissed off. Whiny latte-chugging asshats.
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: Seahags lose way



Why don't they all go find a bridge to jump off. Cry me a river.

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Old 01-26-2009, 06:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: Seahags lose way

Are they not just so precious, acting all grown up, pretending their real fans of a real football team.
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Old 01-26-2009, 06:37 PM   #10
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Default Re: Seahags lose way

Quote:
hawkfan68 wrote:

2 of the last 4 Superbowls had representation from a NFC West team. That has to say something about the strength of the division.
.................................
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