2011 Pittsburgh Steelers Season Preview - Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh

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Ahh, the Seahawks. The Steelers’ foes from their “one for the thumb” Super Bowl win in SB40.

While the Steelers were in the midst of creating their legacy of championship football, great northwest was getting an expansion team.

Courtesy sodahead.com

The Seahawks first took the field in 1976 and managed to set a couple of interesting (and dubious) records in their brief history.

They are the only team to have switch conferences twice, and they are the only team to ever win their division with a losing record in a non-strike shortened year. Well done, Seattle.

Let’s see what’s in store for Seattle when they travel to the ‘Burgh for a SB40 rematch.

Recent History

Actually, these two teams have met since the Steelers won SB40 (or the refs gave them the game, if you are from Seattle). It says a lot that years later Seahawks’ fans are still grousing about how they were jobbed by the refs in that game. Try losing a Super Bowl when your quarterback, who threw only seven picks in the entire regular season, throws three in the Super Bowl. Then you will have a reason to cut yourself, Seattle.

In their last meeting on Oct. 7, 2007, the Steelers won handily, 21-0, in Pittsburgh.

We all know what happened in SB40.

The meeting prior to that was on Nov. 2, 2003 in Seattle. The Seahawks took one from the Steelers that day, 23-16.

The Steelers and Seahawks have only met 16 times all-time, one of those in the Super Bowl. In the rest of the games, the Seahawks are 8-7. Twelve teams have all-time even or winning records against the Steelers and Seattle is one of those teams. Remember, most of the rest of those teams (Cowboys, Giants, Reskins, Eagles) were playing the Steelers when they were horrid (1933-1971). Seattle is one of the few teams with an even record against the Steelers in the Super Bowl era.

Seattle’s Offense vs. Pittsburgh’s Defense

One has to wonder who will be playing quarterback for the Birds in 2011. Right now, the only QB under contract on their roster is Charlie Whitehurst. I know what you are thinking, “Umm, who?”

Matt Hasselbeck and J.P. Losman are both unrestricted free agents along with a small army of other players on both sides of the ball. It stands to reason that one of these guys will be signing a deal within a few days of the end of the lockout, or Seattle will make a play for a guy like Kevin Kolb from Philadelphia.

Either way, Head Coach Pete Carroll is going to have a lot of coaching to do to even bring this passing offense up to mediocrity.

Seattle ranked 19th in yards per game passing and 28th in passing touchdowns. According to footballoutsiders.com, the Seahawks ranked 29th in Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA) in passing offense. Their rating of -8.4% means they were 8.4 percent worse than the average passing offense.

The rushing offense was not much better, ranking 31st in rushing yards per game, even with Marshawn Lynch running the ball. Anyone who saw Lynch go all “beast mode” on the then-defending champion New Orleans Saints in January knows this man can run the ball when he wants to, but his pedestrian 3.6 yards per carry last year is not going to get it done against the Steelers’ aggressive run-stopping defense. One has to think most defenses were loading up to stop Lynch and daring Hasselbeck to find one of his band of no-name receivers.

Footballoustsiders.com says the DVOA of Seattles’ rushing offense ranked 28th in the league.

Clearly, the Seahawks knew they needed help on the offensive line. With their first two picks in the draft, they took guards. They took a receiver in the fourth round, but it’s doubtful he will see too much time in the offense unless there is an outbreak of cholera in the Seattle locker room.

Whomever is under center for the Seahawks should have a little better protection. The question will be: Are the rookies on that line going to be enough to stop that great front seven in Pittsburgh.

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