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Seahawks rally past Steelers 39-30

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Russell Wilson completed 21 of 30 passes for 345 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions as the Seahawks rallied past the Steelers 39-30.

Looking to gain ground on the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals and further strengthen their hold on a Wild Card spot, the Pittsburgh Steelers took a cross-country trip to Seattle to take on the up-and-down Seahawks Sunday.

The battle between Pittsburgh’s dangerous receiver duo and Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” secondary garnered a lot of attention throughout the week, but it was Heath Miller and Markus Wheaton who proved to be the catalysts for the offense in the early going.

Key catches from Miller, an 11-year veteran, helped set up the Steelers in scoring position, where Chris Boswell nailed a 44-yard field goal to give the team an early 3-0 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.  Wheaton, who has seen limited snaps, got in the action on the team’s ensuing possession by making a crucial 21-yard reception to put the Steelers down on the Seattle 35.

The Seahawks managed to hold Pittsburgh at the 27, forcing a field goal attempt. That’s when the Steelers decided to get tricky, shifting Landry into the shotgun and running a trick play, which resulted in Jeremy Lane intercepting the pass and taking it back deep into Pittsburgh territory.  Four plays later, Russell Wilson connected with Doug Baldwin in the end zone to make the score 7-3.

Despite the trick play blowing up their face, the Steelers came out strong on the following drive. A 36-yard kick return by Jacoby Jones, coupled with a 15-yard personal foul, gave the team excellent starting field position at the Seattle 49.

After a few plays netting a modest gain, Wheaton notched a 19-yard catch to put Pittsburgh inside the Seattle red zone. One play later, Martavis Bryant took a double reverse, tip-toed the sideline and sprinted into the end zone from 11 yards out to retake the lead, 10-7.

The two teams traded blows back and forth, as the Seahawks mounted an 11-play drive covering 85 yards which ended in Wilson throwing for his second touchdown of the day, a 12-yard strike to Jermaine Kearse.  The Steelers dished one right back, with Wheaton once again playing a central role. Catches of 13 and 41 yards allowed the team to down into enemy territory with less than two minutes left in the half. Deangelo Williams finished off the drive a 6-yard touchdown run, and a two-point conversion made by a Jesse James reception made the score 18-14.

Following halftime, the Steelers defense forced a three-and-out and got the ball back to the offense, which embarked on a six-minute drive thanks in large part to Ben Roethlisberger, who passed on five of the drive’s 10 plays. The drive stalled inside the 10, however, and Boswell booted his second field goal to make it 21-14.

Seattle stormed back late in the third quarter, as an interception by defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin set it up at the Pittsburgh 39. A subsequent bobbling circus catch by Jimmy Graham set Seattle up at the 1, and Thomas Rawls punched it in a play later to bring the score within one. The Steelers blocked Steven Hauschka’s extra point to maintain a slim lead.

The fourth quarter brought more of the same.

The opening play appeared to be in Pittsburgh’s favor, as the Steelers recovered a Kearse fumble. However, replay review showed the ball actually hit out of bounds, resulting in Seattle maintaining possession. Seattle punted away, but immediately regained possession after Richard Sherman intercepted Roethlisberger after Antonio Brown fell down.

The turnover set Seattle up on the Pittsburgh 39, and soon after Wilson connected with Kearse for his third touchdown toss of the day and the latter’s second receiving score. The two-point conversion attempt failed, giving the Seahawks 26-21 advantage.

Roethlisberger wasted no time regaining the lead on the next possession, as he maneuvered a collapsing pocket to deliver a bomb to Wheaton, who took it across the goal line for a 69-yard score. Another failed two-point conversion later, and the score was 27-26 with less than 12 minutes left.  Wheaton finished the game with nine receptions for 201 yards.

Wilson rebutted by continuing his dissection of Pittsburgh’s secondary, completing 4 for 4 for 69 yards and his fourth touchdown of the day, this time going back to Baldwin for the second time. Seattle failed its third straight extra point/two-point conversion, resulting in a six-point lead.

With nearly half the quarter elapsed, the Steelers once again worked their way down the field looking for points. In the process, Roethlisberger set the record for most yards thrown for against Seattle with 456. Despite burning down the field, Pittsburgh once again failed inside the 10, settling for a field goal to cut the deficit to two with three minutes left on the clock.

Needing a big stand to get the ball back with time left, the defense instead allowed Baldwin to break free for an 80-yard score, his third, on third down to put the game out of reach. The score marked the fifth touchdown pass for Wilson, a career high.

Jones finished the game under center for Pittsburgh and ended in less than outstanding fashion, as Kam Chancellor made a highlight reel interception off a tipped pass to secure the game for Seattle.

Both teams now sit at 6-5 and remain in the thick of the Wild Card race, but Pittsburgh’s division crown chances look slim after a Bengals victory today sent them to 9-2, giving them a three-game lead over the Steelers with five remaining.

The Steelers will look to rebound next week against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football.

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