Dave's Sports Views

Analysis, humor and opinion on the sports world

Location: Dallas, Texas, United States

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Super Matchup: Steelers vs. Seahawks

A short post tonight, since I’m desperately trying to get a hold of Mike Tice to buy some Super Bowl tickets.

This matchup might not have the same luster as previous Super Bowls, but anyone who watched the domination by Pittsburgh and Seattle today has to admit that the two best teams are playing the Super Bowl.

Both the Steelers and Seahawks carved up the opposing defense, played turnover-free football, and made big plays on defense. They bring veteran coaches and the two hottest quarterbacks in the NFL to Detroit.

Pittsburgh had some trouble corralling Jake Plummer, but they forced him into the kinds of mistakes that have haunted him in the past. Ben Roethlisberger picked on the Denver secondary, making the Broncos pay for their attempts to focus on the Steelers’ running game. It will be interesting to see what Seattle tries to do on defense, given that Roethlisberger has now shown three weeks in a row that he will beat you if given the chance. Pittsburgh’s running game only averaged 2.7 yards per carry Sunday, yet they controlled the game offensively. Steelers’ teams couldn’t win in the past without running the ball well.

Seattle won with the legs of Shaun Alexander, who ran well and was not tentative despite his concussion last week, and the arm of Matt Hasselbeck, who has taken his game to another level in the postseason after his most successful regular season. Carolina had no running game, with its top three backs out of action, and the Seahawks did what almost no one else could this year – shut down Steve Smith.

Both Mike Holmgren and Bill Cowher have been to the big game before. In fact, one of them was there three years in a row, when Cowher’s Steelers lost to Dallas in 1996 before Holmgren’s Packers went to consecutive games in 1997 (beating New England) and 1998 (losing to Denver). It's an offensive tactician against a defensive ringleader.

Looking at this game now, with two weeks of hype in front of us, it looks dead even. Pittsburgh hasn’t seen a running back in Alexander’s league in the postseason, but Seattle hasn’t faced a team with as many offensive weapons. There will certainly be something to watch in between the commercials.



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