Ben Roethlisberger was prolific, passing for the most yards by an opposing quarterback in Seahawks history. But from a failed fake field goal attempt to four interceptions, the Steelers made mistakes that proved costly in a 39-30 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday.
For a split second, it looked as if Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger might rumble all the way into the Seahawks end zone with the go-ahead score.
On third-and-goal at the Seattle 10, with the Seahawks leading by five and barely three minutes remaining in the game, the defense dropped back, expecting a pass. After a few pump fakes to further rock the Seahawks back on their heels, Roethlisberger took off for the end zone.
Seattle linebacker K.J. Wright met him with crunching pads at the 3-yard line, toppling the hulking QB like a sequoia, nine feet from pay dirt. Pittsburgh, despite the deficit and a winding clock, chose to kick a short field goal. And by the time the Steelers’ offense got the ball back, the Seahawks were ahead by nine and Roethlisberger had disappeared down the tunnel.
Despite throwing for more passing yards against the Seahawks than any opposing quarterback ever has, Roethlisberger ended the game undergoing concussion protocol.
The Steelers, having racked up 538 total yards against one of the league’s most accomplished defenses, still left Seattle tagged with a 39-30 loss. Blame the miscues, from a botched first-half fake field goal through the four turnovers.
Pittsburgh opened the second quarter with a 125-48 edge in yardage and a softly lofted pass from backup quarterback Landry Jones intended for offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva. It was picked off by Seattle defender Jeremy Lane.
“I called a fake field goal that was unsuccessful,” Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said. “I own that. That’s part of it. We weren’t good enough today. We’ll own that.”
The first option, Jones said, was to look for tight end Heath Miller running a crossing route from left to right. Miller was well covered, so Jones, rolling right out of deep shotgun formation, lofted a pass toward Villanueva breaking out of the back side.
The pass never reached its 6-foot-9, 320-pound target. Instead, Lane gleefully plucked it out of the air and ran 54 yards the other way. Six plays later, Seattle had its first lead despite its slow start.
“Hey, they read it out,” Jones said. “That guy made a great play. You’ve got to give them props. When it left my hands, I thought it was a good throw. I thought it was high enough to get over that guy. He just made a really good play on the ball.”
Miller left the game before halftime with a rib injury; Ryan Shazier also departed early for concussion testing. It was that kind of game, physical and nasty, points and penalties both piling up.
Roethlisberger — with the exception of one pass that slipped out of his hand on the way to defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin, and another interception during which star wideout Antonio Brown slipped — was lights out. He completed 36 of 55 passes for 456 yards. He finished four completions shy of the Steelers’ record for a game and three short of the mark for attempts.
Roethlisberger extended drives and spread the wealth. With Richard Sherman limiting Brown to six catches and 51 yards, Roethlisberger found Markus Wheaton for 201 yards and a long touchdown. With first-half target Miller knocked out of the game, Roethlisberger checked down to running back DeAngelo Williams for seven receptions and 88 yards.
He led the Steelers to 3 yards of the go-ahead score before the kicking team came on with 3:02 to go.
“We just needed to get a stop,” Tomlin said. “I felt comfortable in our ability to do it. Those are the calculated risks you take.”
Instead, the Steelers allowed an 80-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Doug Baldwin. And having been checked on the sideline during Seattle’s drive, Roethlisberger went to the locker room.
For the second time in the game, and with CenturyLink still vibrating with excitement from the long score, backup QB Jones made a surprise appearance in the Steelers’ huddle. On the third play of the drive, his long pass down the right sideline was picked off by Kam Chancellor to put the game away for good.
“It was a great football environment, and I think both teams played a good game,” said Steelers offensive guard Ramon Foster. “We made more mistakes, and they capitalized on them.”
|Most passing yards|
Ben Roethlisberger’s 456 yards passing were the most by a quarterback against the Seahawks:
Information in this article, originally published Nov. 29, 2015, was corrected Nov. 30, 2015. A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Jeremy Lane’s interception return was for 24 yards. It was 54 yards.