Steelers dominate Seahawks, 21-0
The Steelers introduced the only coach to win four Super Bowls before the start of Sunday's game.
Then they treated Chuck Noll to the kind of performance he grew accustomed to seeing in the 1970s when he helped build the Steelers into a dynasty.
The Steelers pounded Seattle offensively, defensively and ultimately into submission in a 21-0 pasting of the Seahawks in front of 64,478 at Heinz Field.
Willie Parker gained 85 of his game-high 102 yards in the second half, Ben Roethlisberger turned in a near-flawless performance and the defense played as if it were anything but short-handed.
No Troy Polamalu, no Casey Hampton• No problem.
The absence of two Pro Bowl-caliber players as well as cornerback Bryant McFadden because of injuries did not stop the Steelers from posting their first shutout at Heinz Field.
Nor did the loss of wide receiver Santonio Holmes to a hamstring injury he suffered during pregame warmups hold back an offense that also was without wide receiver Hines Ward.
"They showed their character," coach Mike Tomlin said after his team improved to 4-1 heading into the Steelers' bye week. "It was just a great, great team win. Everybody in a helmet was a playmaker."
Indeed, reserve running back Najeh Davenport jump-started the offense with a 45-yard run in the second quarter.
That set up the Steelers' first touchdown -- a 13-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to Heath Miller -- and they snuffed out the only drive Seattle mounted in the game when Ike Taylor intercepted a Matt Hasselbeck pass near the end zone on the final play of the first half.
The 17-play, 80-yard drive the Steelers put together at the start of the third quarter was worth more than the seven points they got after Davenport crashed into the end zone from the 1.
It set the tone for a second half in which the Steelers wore down the Seahawks as much as the sun on an unusually warm October day.
There was plenty of talking among the players in a rematch of the teams that met in Super Bowl XL. But the Seahawks mostly chirped at each other when they failed to stop the Steelers' running game in the second half.
"When a team's out there and they know we're running the ball and they get to arguing amongst themselves ... that's demoralizing for a defense for us to just run the ball down the field and they know it's going to happen," left tackle Marvel Smith said. "If we knock the tackle out of there and into the linebacker's lap, he's complaining saying 'C'mon, you all got to hold in there.' Ain't nothing better than that."
The players on the defensive side of the ball for the Steelers could have said the same thing after they stuffed Shaun Alexander (25 yards on 11 carries), extending their streak of not allowing a 100-yard rusher to 30 games, and gave up just 122 yards through the air.
Inside linebacker James Farrior led the defense with two-and-a-half sacks, and Taylor made his second interception of the season and almost picked off two other passes.
"I don't care if it's high school, college or pros, you goose egg 'em and that's a statement," defensive end Brett Keisel said. "We can build off this."
Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren said he expected much more from his offense, especially since the Steelers were without Polamalu (ribs) and Hampton (hamstring).
"They're a good defensive team," Holmgren said. "But at the same time, we take a lot of pride in our offense, and we didn't play very well."
Seattle also takes pride in its defense, which is presumably why its players were jawing at each other during the second half as the Steelers controlled the Seahawks up front and Roethlisberger (18 of 22 for 206 yards) picked apart their secondary.
"They started just getting on each other about the little things," Parker said, "and when a defense starts doing that, we've got them every time."
A look at how Steelers coach Mike Tomlin and his two predecessors, Bill Cowher (1992) and Chuck Noll (1969), fared in their first season:
TOMLIN (4-1) Steelers 21, Seahawks 0
COWHER (3-2) Browns 17, Steelers 9
NOLL (1-4) Browns 42, Steelers 31