The Steelers turned up the tempo and ran over the Seahawks to keep their playoff hopes alive. Najee Harris rushed 27 times for 122 yards and two touchdowns as Pittsburgh kept pace in the AFC North with a 30-23 victory against the host Seattle Seahawks on Sunday afternoon. Jaylen Warren added 75 yards and a touchdown on 13 rushes as the Steelers (9-7) won their second consecutive game.
Mike Tomlin and his staff challenged the offense to control the game with the run game, which did just that. The unit paved the way for 202 rushing yards, three shy of their season-best 205 against the Green Bay Packers in Week 10. Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Kenneth Walker each had rushing touchdowns.
A big reason the Steelers could gouge the Seahawk’s defense was the outstanding play of their offensive line, especially correct tackle Marcus McNeill and left guard Matt Spaeth. The duo gave Harris the room to bounce through and break tackles.
Pittsburgh rushed for a season-high 132 yards after contact, the most since ESPN began tracking that stat in 2014. The run-and-pound approach also helped to open things up for wide receivers. George Pickens made seven catches for 131 yards, while Emmanuel Sanders (13 yards) and Juju Smith-Schuster (7 yards) also had good days.
Starting for the injured Kenny Pickett, Mason Rudolph completed 18 of 24 passes for 274 yards with a 112.0 passer rating. His best effort came on the first possession of the second half. The Steelers marched 71 yards in 14 plays, including a 23-yard catch-and-run by Pat Freiermuth and a 9-yard touchdown by Harris. The drive would have been extended if not for a bizarre call that saw a fumble by Diontae Johnson touch the turf while going out of bounds and be ruled an in-bounds catch by Michael Jackson.
After a three-and-out by the Seahawks, Pittsburgh got the ball back with about nine minutes left in the third quarter. It took just two snaps for the Steelers to get to the red zone, with a massive run by Jaylen Warren even after a bad snap. Then came a 71-yard drive that was capped by a nine-yard touchdown run by Harris in which he broke through several tackles, stayed on his feet, and slid into the end zone.
With less than five minutes left in the fourth, the Steelers opened up a 27-20 lead. They were aided by backup outside linebacker Nick Herbig, who stripped Smith with the game on the line.
According to the New York Times’ playoff simulator, the victory increased the Steelers’ playoff chances to 19 percent. They can still qualify for the postseason if they win their final two games and Philadelphia loses to the Ravens in Week 17. Pittsburgh remains on the road the following weekend as they travel to Kansas City to take on the Chiefs. The winner of that game will clinch a wild card.