PITTSBURGH — Pete Carroll isn’t sure the Seattle Seahawks have actually started the 2011 season yet.
Pittsburgh drilled Seattle 24-0 on Sunday as the Seahawks managed just 164 yards in a listless, lifeless performance that left little doubt the defending NFC West champions remain very much a work in progress.
“We’d didn’t score a point, period, and that is just embarrassing,” said Seattle quarterback Tarvaris Jackson.
The Seahawks (0-2) weren’t even close.
Seattle didn’t take a snap on Pittsburgh’s half of the field until the fourth quarter and never made it to the red zone. The Steelers (1-1) bounced back from a humbling loss to Baltimore a week ago with 60 minutes of dominance.
“We have to stay the course. We have to keep battling. We have to keep working,” Carroll said.
The Seahawks hoped the return of guard Robert Gallery would bolster their inexperienced offensive line and take some of the pressure off Jackson.
Didn’t happen. Seattle rushed for just 35 yards, and while Jackson didn’t turn it over, he failed to make big plays in the passing game and spent the second half trying to stay upright. Jackson completed 20 of 29 passes for 159 yards, but his longest completion of the day went for all of 17 yards.
Carroll said he never considered bringing in backup Charlie Whitehurst, and the Seahawks didn’t feel like quarterback play was the problem on a day the defense let Pittsburgh roll up 421 yards and hold the ball for nearly 39 minutes.
“We didn’t get the job done,” safety Atari Bigby said. “I don’t know what our third-down percentage is, but we need to pick it up.”
Pittsburgh converted 8 of 15 third downs.
Seattle stuffed the Steelers on a fourth down at the goal line on Pittsburgh’s opening drive, but it was a brief reprieve. The Steelers simply kept coming, punting just once in their first seven possessions as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger shook off a shot to the knees by Seattle’s Raheem Brock to threw for 298 yards and a score.
“I thought we could have scored a lot more points than we did,” Roethlisberger said. “We won the game, and that is the most important thing right now.”
Carroll took responsibility, saying it’s his job to put his players in better position.
The Seahawks were shut out for the second straight time at Heinz Field, after the Steelers beat them 21-0 in 2007. Seattle rebounded to win the division and make the playoffs then. There’s still plenty of time, but Carroll knows a sense of urgency is required.
Having wide receiver Sidney Rice would help. Rice practiced during the week but missed his second straight game with a shoulder injury. Without their best big-play threat, the Seahawks struggled to keep up.
“We didn’t have enough firepower,” Carroll said.
Pittsburgh had plenty.
Mike Wallace caught eight passes for 126 yards and a score, and Rashard Mendenhall ran for 66 yards and a touchdown. A week after committing seven turnovers while getting whipped by rival Baltimore, the Steelers worked with relentless efficiency against Seattle, who failed to get a takeaway for the second straight game.
“Turnovers are going to come,” said safety Earl Thomas. “We just have to pressure the quarterback.”
The Seahawks sacked Roethlisberger just twice, but put a scare into the Steelers after Brock dived at Roethlisberger’s knees just as he completed a 16-yard pass to Heath Miller. The play drew a flag for roughing the passer and a gasp from the Heinz Field crowd.
The quarterback lay on the ground for several minutes before gingerly making his way to the sideline. He sat out two snaps, while reserve Charlie Batch executed a couple of go-nowhere handoffs to Mendenhall and Ike Redman, before returning and throwing incomplete on his first play back. The Steelers settled for Shaun Suisham’s field goal and a 17-0 halftime lead.
The end of Pittsburgh’s first drive brought back memories of the 2006 Super Bowl, when the Steelers beat Seattle 21-10.
The Steelers went for it on fourth-and-goal at the Seattle 1 when the Seahawks stuffed Mendenhall just before the goal line. The Steelers challenged the play, sending referee Bill Leavy under the hood for a second look.
Leavy called that Super Bowl, a game marred by what Leavy has admitted were a couple of bad calls against Seattle, including a dubious touchdown awarded to Roethlisberger on a quarterback sneak in which it appeared he might not have crossed the goal line.
There was no controversy this time, as Mendenhall was ruled down short of the goal line. It was the lone highlight on a long day for the Seahawks.
“We played a tough team, a very mature team,” Bigby said. “I think we can take a lot from this game as far as the way they handle their business.”
STEELERS 24, SEAHAWKS 0
Seattle 0 0 0 0– 0
Pittsburgh 7 10 7 0–24
Pit — Mendenhall 1 run (Suisham kick), 3:28. Drive: 9 plays, 60 yards, 4:51. Key Plays: Roethlisberger 6 pass to Wallace on 3rd-and-1; Sanders 15 pass to Ward; Mendenhall 11 run. Pittsburgh 7, Seattle 0.
Pit — Redman 20 run (Suisham kick), 12:41. Drive: 6 plays, 53 yards, 2:40. Key Plays: A.Brown 41 punt return to Pittsburgh 47; Roethlisberger 9 pass to Moore on 3rd-and-5; Roethlisberger 16 pass to Wallace. Pittsburgh 14, Seattle 0.
Pit — FG Suisham 20, 1:52. Drive: 14 plays, 81 yards, 7:43. Key Plays: Roethlisberger 12 pass to Wallace; Roethlisberger 14 pass to Sanders; Mendenhall 10 run; Roethlisberger 9 pass to Wallace on 3rd-and-3; Roethlisberger 16 pass to Miller. Pittsburgh 17, Seattle 0.
Pit — Wallace 2 pass from Roethlisberger (Suisham kick), 3:30. Drive: 9 plays, 71 yards, 5:47. Key Plays: Roethlisberger 14 pass to A.Brown on 3rd-and-3; Roethlisberger 23 pass to Wallace; Roethlisberger 18 pass to A.Brown; Roethlisberger 15 pass to Ward on 3rd-and-2. Pittsburgh 24, Seattle 0.
A — 63,663.
FIRST DOWNS 8 23
Rushing 1 5
Passing 7 16
Penalty 0 2
THIRD DOWN EFF 2-12 8-15
FOURTH DOWN EFF 1-2 0-1
TOTAL NET YARDS 164 421
Total Plays 47 68
Avg Gain 3.5 6.2
NET YARDS RUSHING 31 124
Rushes 13 35
Avg per rush 2.4 3.5
NET YARDS PASSING 133 297
Sacked-Yds lost 5-26 2-16
Gross-Yds passing 159 313
Completed-Att. 20-29 23-31
Had Intercepted 0 0
Yards-Pass Play 3.9 9.0
KICKOFFS-EndZone-TB 1-1-0 5-4-3
PUNTS-Avg. 8-48.1 3-58.3
Punts blocked 0 0
FGs-PATs blocked 0-0 0-0
TOTAL RETURN YARDAGE 39 87
Punt Returns 1-0 6-64
Kickoff Returns 2-39 1-23
Interceptions 0-0 0-0
PENALTIES-Yds 6-66 4-48
FUMBLES-Lost 0-0 0-0
TIME OF POSSESSION 21:16 38:44
RUSHING — Seattle, Jackson 3-12, Lynch 6-11, Forsett 3-10, Washington 1-(minus 2). Pittsburgh, Mendenhall 19-66, Redman 10-49, Roethlisberger 5-8, A.Brown 1-1.
PASSING — Seattle, Jackson 20-29-0-159. Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger 22-30-0-298, Sanders 1-1-0-15.
RECEIVING — Seattle, Obomanu 4-35, Durham 3-30, Forsett 3-20, Tate 2-12, A.McCoy 2-9, E.Williams 1-17, Miller 1-13, Washington 1-9, M.Williams 1-9, Baldwin 1-4, Lynch 1-1. Pittsburgh, Wallace 8-126, A.Brown 4-67, Ward 4-33, Sanders 2-44, Mendenhall 2-12, Miller 1-16, Moore 1-9, Redman 1-6.
PUNT RETURNS — Seattle, Washington 1-0. Pittsburgh, A.Brown 4-56, Sanders 2-8.
KICKOFF RETURNS — Seattle, Washington 2-39. Pittsburgh, A.Brown 1-23.
TACKLES-ASSISTS-SACKS — Seattle, Browner 6-1-0, Chancellor 5-4-0, Thomas 5-1-0, Trufant 5-1-0, M.McCoy 4-5-0, Curry 4-2-0, Branch 2-2-0, Bryant 2-1-0, Hawthorne 2-1-0, Bigby 2-0-1, Brock 2-0-0, Wright 2-0-0, Hargrove 1-2-0, McDonald 1-2-0, Thurmond 1-2-0, Clemons 1-1-1, Hill 1-1-0, Mebane 1-1-0, Woods 1-1-0, Forsett 1-0-0, Washington 1-0-0, Sherman 0-1-0. Pittsburgh, Polamalu 6-2-1, Timmons 5-3-0, Foote 4-0-1, Clark 3-1-0, Gay 3-0-0, Lewis 2-3-0, Harrison 2-2-1, Farrior 2-1-1, Woodley 2-1-0 1/2 , Keisel 1-0-0, Sylvester 1-0-0, Taylor 1-0-0, Worilds 1-0-0, McLendon 0-1-0 1/2 , C.Allen 0-1-0, Battle 0-1-0, C.Brown 0-1-0, Hood 0-1-0.
INTERCEPTIONS — None.
MISSED FIELD GOALS — Pittsburgh, Suisham 41 (WR).
OFFICIALS — Referee Bill Leavy, Ump Darrell Jenkins, HL George Hayward, LJ Mark Perlman, FJ Jim Quirk, SJ Keith Parham, BJ Keith Ferguson.