When: Sunday, 10 a.m. PDT, Heinz Field, Pittsburgh
Records: Seahawks 0-1; Steelers 0-1
TV: KCPQ/13, with Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston and Tony Siragusa
Radio: 710 ESPN and 97.3 FM, with Steve Raible, Warren Moon and Jen Mueller
Rest of the West: It’s an East Coast thing this week, as the Cardinals play at the Washington Redskins on Sunday and the Rams play at the New York Giants on Monday night. The 49ers host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
The Seahawks offense vs. the Steelers’ blitzes: They don’t just call this place Blitzburgh; the Steelers have continued to earn that nickname by ranking either first or second in the NFL in sacks the past four seasons. And this isn’t one player or even one side of the line for the Seahawks, because the way the Steelers come after the quarterback with their zone blitzes will force everyone to deal with it – from rookie right tackle James Carpenter, to veteran tight end Zach Miller, to whoever is kept in to help protect Tarvaris Jackson, to the Seahawks’ QB who was sacked five times by the 49ers last week.
One to watch
Marshawn Lynch vs. the Steelers run defense. The idea behind the Seahawks’ offensive plan under coordinator Darrell Bevell is to setup the play-action passing game with the running game. The idea behind the Steelers’ defensive plan is to stuff the run. They allowed a league-low average of 62.8 rushing yards last season, but were gashed for 170 by the Ravens last week. Lynch had little room to run against the 49ers, but went “Beast Mode” a couple of times to break 12- and 7-yarders. The Seahawks can use anything Lynch can give them against a Steelers defense that just isn’t used to giving up anything.
Fun to watch
Troy Polamalu and Earl Thomas. This isn’t a true matchup, with Polamalu being the Steelers’ strong safety and Thomas the Seahawks’ free safety. But these two definitely are fun to watch. Polamalu has had a been-there-done-that career, with two Super Bowl championships, six Pro Bowl berths and a NFL defensive player of the year award on his resume. Thomas is striving to match, or surpass, everything that Polamalu done – listening intently to all the questions this week about comparisons between the two. Thomas respects Polamalu, but is not in awe of him.
One tough task
The Seahawks. They’re not only traveling to the East Coast, where they’re 1-10 the past four seasons, they’ll be facing a Steelers team that’s still salty after being beaten 35-7 by the Ravens in Baltimore last week.
After turning the ball over 18 times all of last season, the Steelers had seven turnovers against the Ravens – including three interceptions and two fumbles by QB Ben Roethlisberger. … The Steelers (minus-7) and Seahawks (minus-3) rank last and next-to-last in the league in turnover ratio. … Roethlisberger is seeking his 70th win, which just happens to be the club-record number Dave Krieg posted for the Seahawks. … Steelers CB Ike Taylor is playing with a broken left thumb, but he held the Ravens’ Lee Evans to no catches last week. … Rookie Marcus Gilbert will start at right tackle for the Steelers because Willie Colon got a season-ending triceps injury in the opener. … The Steelers are 6-0 in September games at Heinz Field under coach Mike Tomlin. … Steelers WR Hines Ward needs 66 receiving yards to move past Don Maynard (11,834) and into the 20th spot on the NFL’s all-time list. … LB James Harrison needs one sack to become the fifth Steeler with 50 in his career. … The Seahawks are looking to avoid going 0-2 for the first time since 2008, and the second time since 2002. … SS Kam Chancellor leads the Seahawks in tackles (nine).