By Dave Thomas
The rollercoaster ride that is the Seattle Seahawks season continued again this past Sunday, with the home team scoring a 29-13 win over the NFC West rival San Francisco 49ers. With the victory, Seattle evened its record at 5-5 heading into the last of three straight home games, a date with the AFC North’s Pittsburgh Steelers this coming Sunday.
For Seattle and head coach Pete Carroll, the up-and-down season has been one of streaks, to say the least.
After beginning the year at 0-2, Seattle won back-to-back games at home, then dropped its next two. After evening its record at 4-4, the Seahawks dropped a hard-fought 39-32 decision to NFC West-leading Arizona a week ago before rebounding against the lowly 49ers.
So, what can the Seahawks expect when Pittsburgh, sitting at 6-4 overall and coming off of its bye week, invades the Pacific Northwest?
Pittsburgh In Hunt For AFC North Title, Possible Wild Card
While Pittsburgh dropped its first head-to-head meeting with AFC North-leading Cincinnati at home earlier this season, the Steelers are certainly not out of the division title hunt.
Cincinnati, which had rolled to an 8-0 mark, has now dropped two straight, leaving the door for Mike Tomlin and his Steelers open to possibly grab the division when all is said and done.
Heading into its meeting with the Seahawks this season, Pittsburgh has been led to date by the likes of:
* QB Ben Roethlisberger (1,887 yards passing, 10 TD’s);
* RB DeAngelo Williams (534 yards rushing, 5 touchdowns);
* WR Antonio Brown (1,141 yards receiving, 5 TD’s);
* LB Lawrence Timmons (73 total tackles);
* S Mike Mitchell (3 INT’s); and
* DE Stephon Tuitt (4.5 sacks).
Roethlisberger Key To Pittsburgh’s Success
The big headlines coming out of the Steelers locker room this season have been key injuries, notably Roethlisberger and running back Le’Veon Bell (556 yards rushing on the season).
While Bell is done for the season (torn MCL), Roethlisberger has been nursing a foot injury the last few weeks.
Even though the team’s injury report for this coming Sunday’s tilt in Seattle has not yet been released, one would think with the recent bye that Roethlisberger will again get the call (tossed three touchdown passes in relief of Landry Jones, who was injured in Pittsburgh’s 30-9 win over Cleveland two weeks ago).
In order for the Seattle to make it two straight wins following its loss to Arizona two weekends ago, the Seahawks will again need a dominating performance on offense.
With starting running back Marshawn Lynch still bothered by an abdominal injury, look for rookie Thomas Rawls to get the call again this Sunday. Rawls, who rushed for 209 yards and tallied a pair of TDs (one on the ground, one through the air) against San Francisco, will have to negotiate a decent Pittsburgh defense.
Despite not being as talented as some of their past teams on the defensive side of the ball (Pittsburgh ranks 23rd currently in total defense in the league), the Steelers have been giving up 19.1 points per game.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.