Steelers 32, Seahawks 25: Studs, Duds From Preseason Loss – Sports Illustrated

For the Seattle Seahawks, both good news and bad news emerged from their preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Saturday.
On the positive side, the Seahawks showed some signs of prowess on both sides of the ball; finding themselves in prime position to take home the victory.
Unfortunately, a costly fumble found them on the wrong side of a 32-25 loss at the hands of the Steelers at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh.
Regardless of the outcome, there will be positives for the Seahawks to take from every matchup. Of course, there will be areas for the team or individuals to seek improvement.
Battling against Pittsburgh’s first-unit offense for much of the first half, Smith went 10 of 16 for 101 yards. The Seahawks veteran finished with an 85.7 rating in his first two quarters. In the final drive of the half, Smith made a wise decision to keep the ball on a run-pass option play on third-and-goal from the 2 for the touchdown, capping an exciting 2-minute drill for the Seahawks. Smith was far from perfect. However, he showed enough command and field-savvy to enhance his case to earn the team’s starting job.
As one of Seattle’s top dual-threat offensive options, running back DeeJay Dallas effectively showcased his abilities against the Steelers defense. Dallas carried the ball 10 times for 73 yards, his longest an 18-yard run midway through the third quarter. On his highlight of the night, Dallas stiff-armed his way to a leaping 17-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
Preseason games seldom yield standout defensive gems. However rookie defensive end Boye Mafe delivered Seattle’s key play on defense. On 4th-and-1 at the Seahawks 44, Mafe chased down Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett on a play-action bootleg for a sack to give Seattle the ball in Steelers territory with the score tied at 25 in the fourth quarter.
Overall, Lock put in a solid night of work. Seattle’s new quarterback went 10 of 14 for 112 yards with two touchdown passes in his debut. In his first three drives, Lock was 8 of 11, amassing 102 yards. However, in the closing moments of the fourth quarter, with a chance to win the game, Lock was unable to pick up linebacker Mark Robinson off the left edge. Robinson forced Lock into a fumble, which the Steelers would recover. Pittsburgh would win the game on the ensuing drive. While placing the blame for Saturday's loss squarely on Lock’s shoulders is unfair, his costly mistake in the clutch may keep him beneath Smith on the quarterback depth chart for the foreseeable future.
With 4:28 left in the first half, Smith was in prime position to lead the Seahawks on a potential deep drive, while keeping Pittsburgh’s offense n the sidelines. However, a key drop and poor body positioning prevented that from happening. Tight end Noah Fant, who was acquired from the Denver Broncos in the Russell Wilson trade, had time and several yards of space to get his second foot down to complete the catch on a pinpoint throw by Smith. Unfortunately, he was unable to do so and the pass was incomplete. On the ensuing play, receiver Bo Melton dropped the third-down pass on a slant route that likely would have extended the drive. With coach Pete Carroll continuously stressing the importance of ‘four-minute offense,’ the Seahawks must show improvement in this area moving forward. 


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