PLAYER OF THE GAME
Ben Roethlisberger. Unlike his performance in the Steelers’ victory over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL, Roethlisberger was the biggest reason his team won. Again.
The player who goes by “Big Ben” came up big, time and again, while completing 22 of 30 passes for 298 yards. He threw for one TD – a 2-yarder to Mike Wallace – and did not throw an interception. That was good for a passer rating of 115.7.
He was especially efficient – and effective – on third downs, hitting 9 of 13 for 171 yards.
“The quarterback was tremendous making his plays,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. “He was able to make the plays throughout when they needed them.”
Honorable mention to Wallace, who caught eight passes for 126 yards; and Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who was credited with a eight tackles but seemed to have twice that many.
PLAYS OF THE GAME
Offense: Roethlisberger and Wallace hooked up on a 53-yard completion on a third-and-9 play, but let’s go with the TD pass – as Wallace made a nice grab of a nice throw in the end zone against Seahawks cornerback Brandon Browner.
Defense: James Harrison’s sack of Tarvaris Jackson in the fourth quarter. It was one of the Steelers’ five sacks, but this one came on a fourth-and-eight play after the Seahawks had reached their deepest penetration of the game – the Steelers’ 26-yard. There was a chance to perhaps kick a field goal and avoid the shutout, but Harrison prevented it.
Special teams: Another Sunday, another big return allowed by the Seahawks’ special teams. This time, it was a 41-yard punt return by the Steelers’ Antonio Brown. He didn’t score, as the 49ers’ Ted Ginn Jr. did in the opener. But Brown’s return set up the Steelers’ second touchdown.
Carroll said there were no serious injuries from the game, but the Seahawks played without wide receiver Sidney Rice (shoulder), cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle), fullback Michael Robinson (ankle) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (hamstring).
There was a report on Sunday that Rice has a labrum injury similar to the one that put tight end John Carlson on injured reserve for the season. But Carroll said that is not the case and he still is hoping that Rice will be able to make his Seahawks debut in Sunday’s home opener against the Arizona Cardinals at CenturyLink Field.