Pittsburgh Steelers GameDay: Seattle Seahawks Preview | Steel City Underground

Steel City Underground

Pittsburgh Steelers GameDay Preview

Welcome to the most comprehensive Pittsburgh Steelers Game Day Preview on the internet! Steel City Underground brings you your one stop shop for everything you need to know about the Steelers and their upcoming opponent! Mike Drakulich of Pittsburgh SportsNation brings you inside the huddle for both teams, providing all fans with a Game Story, Steelers Keys to Victory, Score Prediction, Game Information, a detailed breakdown of each team, Individual Stats, and Team Stats. Heck, you'll even know the weather at kickoff! The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!

Steelers Seek Answers To Horrific Performance In Season Opener

If someone were to ask about what happened in the Pittsburgh Steelers game against the New England Patriots last week, here would be some questions you'd literally give up 10 years of your life to get answers for.

If you can, please channel Sam Kinison's voice, first starting off mildly, but getting louder with each passing question...

Let's start off slowly by asking why the team seemed to come out so flat again, as they have so often in previous season openers?

Why did Mike Tomlin not challenge the blatant defensive pass interference against Johnny Holton on the initial drive?

Can anybody explain why Ryan Switzer is playing more snaps than that of, say, James Conner or James Washington?

How on earth does Donte Moncrief drop four to six passes (depending on who was counting)?

Is there a reason why the Patriots had receivers running wide open down the field?

Why do the Steelers refuse to bump and disrupt the Patriot wide receivers off the line of scrimmage?

Why was James Conner avoiding contact with defenders instead of pounding through them?

Why the hell did James Washington run out of bounds after he caught that long pass from Ben Roethlisberger?

Is the use of Play Action illegal in the Steeler's playbook?


It was, as usual, a frustrating affair for the Steelers in Foxborough. Not to be critical or anything.

Week two is just a few short days away, and the Steelers (0-1) will have to sort out their misgivings and lack of execution quickly, as the 1-0 Seattle Seahawks visit Heinz Field this Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Roethlisberger was quite frank about what he and the Steelers faced in New England, and what needs to be done in the Steeler's 2019 home opener.

“They’ve been the best team in football for a while now. I think everybody is trying to chase them. We weren’t good enough and we’ve got to get better,” Roethlisberger said Wednesday morning during player interviews on the South Side. “I’m only going to focus on the quarterback play because that’s what I control. The quarterback’s got to get better.”

Big Ben completed 27-of-47 passes for 276 yards with an interception in the 33-3 trouncing they took at the hands of the Patriots.

“We didn’t execute enough,” Roethlisberger said. “I didn’t make enough plays, enough throws and they outscored us.”

Even though Moncrief was responsible for dropping four to six passes that fateful night in Gillette Stadium, Roethlisberger still has confidence in his new teammate.

“Nothing’s changed with that,” Roethlisberger said. “He’s a smart receiver. He’s a guy that’s going to give you everything he’s got. He’s a veteran guy that’s been around. He can run different routes, not just a deep-ball guy. I really just like the personality that he has. He’s a guy that’s easy to talk to and will communicate back with you. I’m excited for this week. I’m looking forward to big things.

“I’m not discouraged at all. If you saw the game, you saw that I’m not going to shy away from throwing it to him.”

Roethlisberger, like Moncrief, is looking forward to making amends this week vs Seattle.

“That’s me included,” Roethlisberger said. “I threw an interception and I wasn’t the most accurate passer. I’m not thinking about that this week. I’m thinking about moving forward and how do we get better and, how do we make plays? To me, it doesn’t matter who it is, I’m going into this like nothing happened in the past. I’m going to throw it to hopefully the guy that’s open and they’ll just make plays for me.”

The defense will also be licking their wounds from their lackluster performance against the Patriots.

“We busted some daggum assignments,” Keith Butler said Thursday.

Communication breakdowns lead directly to a 58 yard touchdown reception by Philip Dorsett.

Hopefully, if Sean Davis is able to return this week, those breakdowns will cease to exist. Six of the 13 defensive players mainly used in Sunday's game were either new, rookies, or 2nd and 3rd year players.

“It helps quite a bit because even though we played a new defense against these guys, Sean has been out there and done that,” Butler said. “He knows what we expect of him. Him and Terrell (Edmunds) have played together a lot. To me, what’s big to me is our defense playing together and knowing each other well enough, knowing that if something happens, we can make an adjustment.”

Many solutions were offered this week, including just simplifying the defense.

“We always look at that,” Butler said. “We’re not so smug to think that we can be too smart as coaches sometimes. We looked at every angle that we can, and try to gauge what our guys can handle.

“Sometimes we’re right, and sometimes we’re wrong. We’ve got to be able to communicate and do the things that we ask them to do. Everything draws up on the board real good — but what happens on the field is maybe sometimes a little bit different.”

Steelers Keys to Victory

  1. Attack: Enough of these short passes and runs towards the sidelines. Man up and attack downfield with power and confidence.
  2. Pressure Russell Wilson: Wilson is super accurate and will pick you apart if you allow him to stand in the pocket. T.J. Watt and Bud Dupree need to turn the dogs loose.
  3. Create Some Turnovers: Can any team in Pittsburgh create a turnover?


Seattle, though 1-0, wasn't exactly lights out in their 21-20 victory over Cincinnati last week at home. The Bengals, by all accounts, should've stolen that game.

The Steelers are coming off of an awful game against New England in which they were embarrassed 33-3. Now they have a chance to forget about that debacle, and come back strong in their 2019 home opener.

If that is going to happen, the offense is going to have to step it's game up.

“What I was most disappointed in was our first and second downs,” said Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner Thursday afternoon, in regards to his team's performance vs the Patriots. “We had opportunities for more yards, run after catch, run after contact. We lost third-and-1 on first and second down.

“That’s where we have to be better. They shouldn’t come up that many times. We have to be better playmakers. We have to be getting more first downs on first and second down. And quite frankly, eff third down.”

Despite one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and a running back in James Conner coming off a Pro Bowl year, the Steelers were soft as a down pillow in their rushing attack in week one.

“I’ll be honest,” Fichtner said. “We wanted to establish the run, and we tried. I think we ran the ball 10 times in the first half. It wasn’t, probably, as efficient per run. I probably got a little bit down when we didn’t make the first third-and-1. I think we blocked it. We had more in it, and we didn’t get it. That probably drained on me for the next several calls I made.”

In their last eight games, which includes last season, Pittsburgh has rushed for over 100 yards just once. In that span they are averaging a paltry 66 yards rushing per game. Unbelievably, they've been held to 40 yards rushing or less in three of those games.

That trend has to cease immediately.

“Establishing the running game goes hand in hand with moving the ball and controlling it,” guard David DeCastro said. “Not being able to convert first downs,  it happens every time, we get down a couple of points, and we become one-dimensional. That’s tough because you want to be able to control the game, burn some clock and help the defense gather their breath.”

In other words, it's time to return to playing hard nosed Steelers football.

“Randy mentioned that he believes in us,” said Jaylen Samuels. “If we get that third down again hopefully we get the ball. Hopefully the running back has the ball in his hands, and we’re going downhill and not sideways. As running backs that’s what we want.

“We want the ball, but we can’t make the calls. We have to execute whatever Randy calls. He didn’t call the downhill runs. We had to go out there and execute. It’s football. We have to go out there and make someone miss, and we didn’t. We just have to move on and learn from it.”

Last week was bad, but it was only one week. Half of the league starts off 0-1 after the first week. It's what teams do in facing adversity that defines their season the rest of the way.

Expect to see the Steelers gain some of their manhood back by playing physical football, and making splash plays when called upon. Roethlisberger will bounce back and so will his weapons. Pittsburgh would be smart to give more chances to James Washington, rookie Diontae Johnson, and especially tight end Vance McDonald.

The defense will be out for blood, and they had better be. As talented as Pittsburgh is, the specter of an 0-2 start and heading to San Francisco isn't very comforting.

Pittsburgh bounces back big time...

Steelers 31 Seahawks 17

Game Information

NFL Week 2

Pittsburgh vs Seattle Seahawks

  • Venue: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, PA. | Field: Kentucky Bluegrass
  • Game-time: Sunday, September 15th, at 1:00 pm ET
  • Game Tickets Link
  • TV: FOX (WPGH Channel 53 in Pittsburgh) | Announcers: Kenny Albert (play-by-play) Ronde Barber (analyst) | Lindsay Czarniak (reporter)
  • Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 102.5 WDVE & WBGG 970 AM | Announcers: Bill Hillgrove (play-by-play) Tunch Ilkin (analyst) | Craig Wolfley (sideline) Missi Matthews (sideline)
  • Internet Broadcast: Steelers Nation Radio (SNR) on Steelers.com
  • Weather at Kickoff: 78 and partly cloudy. Winds W 5 mph.
  • Vegas Line: Pittsburgh -3.5

Pittsburgh Steelers vs Seattle Seahawks History

Series History: Began in 1977

  • Steelers are 9-9 overall vs Seattle
  • At Home: 7-2
  • On Road: 1-7
  • Post-Season: 1-0
  • Streak: Seahawks won last meeting.
  • Last Regular Season Meeting: Seahawks Win, 39-30 (Nov. 29, 2015)
  • Last Post-Season Meeting:  Steelers Win, 21-10 (Feb. 5, 2006 - Super Bowl XL)

Did You Know?

  • Roethlisberger earned 117 wins in his first 175 regular-season starts, which is the second-most by an NFL QB in NFL history through 175 starts (Tom Brady, 136).
  • WR JuJu Smith-Schuster established single-season career highs for receptions (111) and receiving yards (1,426) in 2018, leading the Steelers’ offense in both categories.
  • RB James Conner became the first player in team history with at least 1,000 scrimmage yards and 10 TDs in the team’s first eight games of a season (2018), and scored at least one TD in five straight games (Games 5-9).
  • DT Cameron Heyward recorded 8.0 sacks in 2018, tied for the sixth-most among all NFL defensive tackles.
  • LB T.J. Watt led Pittsburgh’s defense and tied for second among all NFL linebackers with 13.0 sacks in 2018.

A look at the Pittsburgh Steelers!

Scouting the Steelers

OFFENSE (Pro Style)


Ben Roethlisberger

One of the best in history. Great arm and always looking to extend a play to make yards.

  • Passing Yards: 276 | TD Passes: 0 | Interceptions: 1 | Sacks: 1 | Yards Rushing: 7 | Rushing TD's: 0

Mason Rudolph

The Heir to Big Ben's Throne?

  • Passing Yards: 0 | TD Passes: 0 | Interceptions: 0 | Sacks: 0 | Yards Rushing: 0 | Rushing TD's: 0

Running Backs

James Conner

Stronger, leaner, and healthy, Conner looks to another Pro Bowl season.

  • Yards Rushing: 21 | Rushing TD's: 0 | Receptions: 4 | Yards Receiving: 44 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Jaylen Samuels

Dynamic playmaker who can play several positions.

  • Yards Rushing: 4 | Rushing TD's: 0 | Receptions: 1 | Yards Receiving: 2 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Benny Snell, Jr.

Will be used to spell Conner and possibly short yardage situations.

  • Yards Rushing: 0 | Rushing TD's: 0 | Receptions: 0 | Yards Receiving: 0 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Roosevelt Nix (Fullback)

  • Yards Rushing: 0 | Rushing TD's: 0 | Receptions: 0 | Yards Receiving: 0 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Wide Receivers

Juju Smith-Schuster

One of the league's best already. Smith-Schuster is set to prove he is a true #1 receiver for the Steelers.

  • Receptions: 6 | Receiving Yards: 78 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0  | Rushing TD's: 0

Donte Moncrief

Great routes and reliable hands. Looking to become a favorite of Rothlisberger.

  • Receptions: 3 | Receiving Yards: 7 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0  | Rushing TD's: 0

James Washington

Ready to have a breakout season and establish himself as a big time playmaker in the NFL.

  • Receptions: 2 | Receiving Yards: 51 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD's: 0

Ryan Switzer

Superb in the slot. Will return punts and kicks.

  • Receptions: 6 | Receiving Yards: 29 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0  | Rushing TD's: 0

Dointae Johnson

Talented rookie whose time will come to shine. Blessed with wicked moves in open space.

Versatile player who also moonlights as a RB and at cornerback. Special athlete.

  • Receptions: 3 | Receiving Yards: 25 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD's: 0

Tight Ends

Vance McDonald

The Vanimal, when unleashed, is a sight to see. Could be a major part of offense if utilized correctly.

  • Receptions: 2 | Receiving Yards: 40 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0  | Rushing TD's: 0

Xavier Grimble

  • Receptions: 0 | Receiving Yards: 0 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD's: 0

*Denotes Starter


Left Tackle: Alejandro Villanueva | Left Guard: Ramon Foster | Center: Maurkice Pouncey | Right Guard: David DeCastro | Right Tackle: Matt Feller

DEFENSE (Base 3-4)

Defensive End: Cam Heyward | Defensive Tackle: Javon Hargrave/Dan McCullers | Defensive End: Stephon Tuitt

Left OLB: T.J. Watt | Left MLB: Mark Barron/Devin Bush | Right MLB: Vince Willams | Right OLB: Bud Dupree

Cornerback: Joe Haden | Strong Safety: Terrell Edmunds | Free Safety: Kameron Kelly/Sean Davis | Cornerback: Steven Nelson

Nickle: Mike Hilton/Cameron Sutton



Chris Boswell

  • Extra Points: 0-0 | FG: 1-1 | 0-19:  1-1 | 20-29:  0-0 | 30-39:  0-0 | 40-49:  0-0 | 50+:  0-0 | Long: 19


Jordan Berry

  • Yards per Punt: 45.6

Kickoff Returner

Ryan Switzer

  • Yards per Kickoff Return: 21.5 | Return TD's: 0

Punt Returner

Ryan Switzer

  • Yards per Kickoff Return: 0.0 | Return TD's: 0

Pittsburgh Injury Report (9/13/19)

  • Out: FB Roosevelt Nix (Knee)
  • Doubtful: None
  • Questionable: CB Joe Haden (Shoulder), C Maurkice Pouncey (Ankle)
  • Probable: None

A look at the Seattle Seahawks!

Scouting the Seahawks



Russell Wilson

Great accuracy and very mobile out of the pocket.

  • Passing Yards: 196 | TD Passes: 2 | Interceptions: 0 | Sacks: 4 | Yards Rushing: 8 | Rushing TD's: 0

Running Backs

Chris Carson

Big, bruising back that wears opposing defenses down by game's end.

  • Yards Rushing: 46 | Rushing TD's: 1 | Receptions: 6 | Yards Receiving: 35 | Receiving TD’s: 1

Rashaad Penny

  • Yards Rushing: 18 | Rushing TD's: 0 | Receptions: 0 | Yards Receiving: 0 | Receiving TD’s: 0

Wide Receivers

DK Metcalf

Emerging receiver that is looking to become Wilson's favorite target.

  • Receptions: 4 | Receiving Yards: 89 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0  | Rushing TD's: 0

Tyler Lockett

Talent abound, but injuries have slowed his career.

  • Receptions: 1 | Receiving Yards: 44 | Receiving TD’s: 1 | Rushing Yards: 0  | Rushing TD's: 0

Jaron Brown

  • Receptions: 0 | Receiving Yards: 0 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD's: 0

David Moore

  • Receptions: 0 | Receiving Yards: 0 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD's: 0

Malik Turner

  • Receptions: 0 | Receiving Yards: 0 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD's: 0

Tight Ends

Nick Vannett

  • Receptions: 2 | Receiving Yards: 16 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0  | Rushing TD's: 0

Walt Dissly

  • Receptions: 1 | Receiving Yards: 12 | Receiving TD’s: 0 | Rushing Yards: 0 | Rushing TD's: 0

*Denotes Starter

DEFENSE (Base 4-3)

This isn't your father's Legion of Boom... Seattle has a tough front seven, but the secondary is weak and can be exploited.



Jason Myers

  • Extra Points: 3-3 | FG: 0-0 | 0-19:  0-0 | 20-29:  0-0 | 30-39:  0-0 | 40-49:  0-0 | 50+:  0-0 | Long: 0

Seattle Injury Report (9/13/19)

  • Out: None
  • Doubtful: None
  • Questionable:
  • Probable: None


Total Offense: Pittsburgh averages 308 YPG | Seattle averages 268 YPG

  • Rushing: Pittsburgh averages 32 YPG | Seattle averages 72 YPG
  • Passing: Pittsburgh averages 276 YPG | Seattle averages 196 YPG
  • Scoring: Pittsburgh averages 3 PPG | Seattle averages 21 PPG

Total Defense: Pittsburgh allows 465 YPG | Seattle 429 allows YPG

  • Rushing: Pittsburgh allows 99 YPG | Seattle allows 34 YPG
  • Passing: Pittsburgh allows 366 YPG | Seattle allows 395 YPG
  • Scoring: Pittsburgh allows 33 PPG | Seattle allows 20 PPG

Defensive Stats


  • Sacks: 1 | Interceptions: 0 | Fumbles: 0


  • Sacks: 5 | Interceptions: 0 | Fumbles: 2

Pittsburgh Steelers 2019 Schedule


Fri. Aug. 9 Tampa Bay at Heinz Field- W, 30-28
Sat. Aug. 17 Kansas City at Heinz Field- W, 17-7
Sun. Aug. 25 Tennessee at Nissan Stadium- W, 18-6
Thur. Aug. 29 Carolina at Bank of American Stadium- L, 19-25


Sun. Sept. 8 New England at Gillette Stadium, L- 33-3
Sun. Sept. 15 Seattle at Heinz Field 1 p.m. (FOX)
Sun. Sept. 22 San Francisco at Levi’s Stadium 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Mon. Sept. 30 Cincinnati at Heinz Field 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Sun. Oct. 6 Baltimore at Heinz Field 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Oct. 13 LA Chargers at Dignity Health Sports Park 8:20 p.m. (NBC)
Sun. Oct. 20 BYE WEEK
Mon. Oct. 28 Miami at Heinz Field 8:15 p.m. (ESPN)
Sun. Nov. 3 Indianapolis at Heinz Field 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Nov. 10 LA Rams at Heinz Field 4:25 p.m. (FOX)
Thur. Nov. 14 Cleveland at FirstEnergy Stadium 8:20 p.m. (FOX)
Sun. Nov. 24 Cincinnati at Paul Brown Stadium 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 1 Cleveland at Heinz Field 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 8 Arizona at State Farm Stadium 4:25 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 15 Buffalo at Heinz Field 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 22 New York Jets at MetLife Stadium 1 p.m. (CBS)
Sun. Dec. 29 Baltimore at M&T Bank Stadium 1 p.m. (CBS)

* - Times may change due to flexible scheduling

NOTE: All times are Eastern | Home games in Bold


Sat./Sun. Jan. 4/5 Wild Card Weekend
Sat./Sun. Jan. 11/12 Divisional Playoff Games
Sun. Jan. 19 Conference Championships
Sun. Jan. 26 Pro Bowl (Orlando, Fla.)
Sun. Feb. 2 Super Bowl LIV (Miami, Fla.)

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