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The BTSC Delorean: Looking back at the most memorable Steelers vs. Seahawks contests

With the Steelers welcoming the Seahawks to Acrisure for a preseason tilt, BTSC looks back at the most-memorable games ever played between the two franchises.

Super Bowl XL - Pittsburgh Steelers vs Seattle Seahawks Photo by Gregory Shamus/NFLPhotoLibrary

Do the Seattle Seahawks and the Pittsburgh Steelers have a long history, that would be a firm no. But the two teams from opposite sides of the country almost always put on a fantastic show when pitted head-to-head. Since 1977, the team from Emerald City and the Men of Steeltown have battled a total of 20 times (including one really huge postseason game) and they have come out even at 10-10.

Here’s a brief tale of the tape:

Points: Seahawks 376, Steelers 342

Wins: Steelers 10, Seahawks 10

Home Record: Steelers 8-3, Seahawks 1-7

Shutouts: Steelers 2, Seahawks 2

Biggest Win Margin: 1986 - Seahawks 30, Steelers 0

Closest Game: 2019 - Seahawks 28, Steelers 26

Postseason Record: Steelers 1, Seahawks 0

Now Let’s take a look at the most memorable games that these two franchises have offered up to the football world.

December 4, 1977 - Steelers 30, Seahawks 20

Welcoming an expansion team to Three Rivers Stadium, one would think that the Steelers would dominate, but instead they played an uninspired brand of football that they weren’t proud of afterwards. “We were never out of control, we just didn’t have the killer instinct,” offered Terry Bradshaw to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I really can’t imagine us losing to an expansion team, but we should have beat them easy.” The Steelers quarterback ran for two scores, threw a 22-yard scoring pass to Lynn Swann and converted a key fourth down with a 16-yard scramble. The Steelers had gaffes however, turning it over twice with a Bradshaw interception and a Franco Harris fumble. But the inexperienced Seahawks lost three fumbles, one of the recovered by Loren Toews and a Jim Zorn interception picked-off by Mel Blount. It wasn’t pretty, but the first meeting between the two teams foreshadowed an interesting and competitive history between the two combatants over the years.

November 8, 1981 - Seahawks 24 , Steelers 21

The third meeting between the two then-AFC franchises really typified the 1981 Steelers who started off strong in games all year, only to fall miserably in the end. The Steelers led in the second quarter 21-3 behind touchdown runs by Franco Harris and Frank Pollard and one of the most-famous plays in Steelers history, Terry Bradshaw’s finding his third-string quarterback, Mark Malone, wide open for a then-team record 90-yard Touchdown bomb. But once again, the Steelers would deteriorate in a game that they had complete control of. The Jim Zorn to running back Dan Doornink connection tore apart the Steel Curtain for a 44-yard score and another 34-yard gain set up a Theotis Brown one-yard score. Then a Zorn bomb of 53 yards to Steve Largent after an Efren Herrera field goal set up the other Theotis Brown one-yard score of the day for the 24-21 lead. Bradshaw would rally the black and gold and it seemed like they would prevail when No. 12 hit Harris with a short pass that Franco took 82 yards to Kingdome glory, but a very questionable holding call on Craig Wolfley negated it. The Steelers got another chance late and took it all the way down to the Seattle five, but weren’t able to send the game into overtime as the much-maligned David Trout violently hooked the kick left from a mere 22-yards away. The rookie from Pitt’s second miss of the day to go with two Bradshaw picks hampered the black and gold on this day, losing to the Ospreys for the first time ever. Despite the Malone record and Franco reaching the 10,000-yard mark for career rushing yards, the Steelers lose making the 70s feel eons away. To make matters worse, backup quarterback Cliff Stoudt was lost for the season after snapping his right forearm, not like erroneously reported on a mechanical bull which he actually did ride, but on a test-your-strength punching bag in a Seattle lounge. That would have major repercussions at the end of the season when Bradshaw would go down.

October 23, 1983 - Steelers 27, Seahawks 21

Franco Harris channeled his earlier days rushing for 132 yds and a nine-yard touchdown to open the scoring in the Kingdome, while Keith Willis led the way on defense with 3 12 sacks to help lead the Steelers to their first (and only) win ever in the Emerald City. Second Quarter scoring runs by Cliff Stoudt and Frank Pollard combined with a Gary Anderson field goal saw the visitors up 24-0 at intermission. However, Seattle made adjustments at Halftime to make it a game, the biggest being the replacement of Jim Zorn (1/8 for 2 yards and a pick by Dwayne Woodruff) for Dave Krieg (13/20 for 214 yards and 2 TDs). The Seahawks desperately rallied with 21 points in the final 16 minutes of the game, but a Gary Anderson field goal and the Steelers forcing a turnover on downs in the final two minutes iced the game for Chuck Noll’s charges.

December 6, 1992 - Steelers 20, Seahawks 14

The Steelers shot out of the gate in Bill Cowher’s inaugural season as the HC of the Hypocycloids, but even the wins in the second half of the season got more difficult to achieve. This home tilt against visiting Seattle was definitely a challenge. Despite Neil O’Donnell throwing three interceptions on his first three series, breaking his leg and giving way to Bubby Brister to throw two more, blowing a 10-point lead and failing to score from one-yard out...The Steelers found a way to win, albeit ugly. Ernie Mills opened the scoring in the first quarter on a 19-yard connection with O’Donnell and Gary Anderson chipped-in with a field goal, but then the Seahawks took over with three interceptions by Eugene Robinson and Stan Gelbaugh scoring passes to Tommy Kane and the great (and future Steeler) John L. Williams. But three missed field goals by John Kasay, Barry Foster’s 10th 100-yd performance of the season and a fourth-down stop by the Steelers at the Seattle 26 led to the Steelers scoring 10 points in the final 2:28 to win the game and stay the course in their eventual AFC Central crowning.

February 6, 2006 - Steelers 21, Seahawks 10 (Super Bowl XL)

The Steelers finally got that elusive “one for the thumb” after a magical season in which they had to fight and claw to get into the postseason. The game had controversial moments such as an offensive penalty on Seattle’s Darrell Jackson to turn a touchdown into a field goal and a debate on whether Ben Roethlisberger actually crossed the plane on Pittsburgh’s first touchdown for a Halftime lead of 7-3. But all that downplays the black-and-gold accomplishments and the Seattle miscues in Detroit on that day. Despite No. 7’s being a bit off in Super Bowl XL, the second-year quarterback made some important plays in this contest. His improv scrambling skills were on full display when he escaped harm on a 3rd and 28 heave to Hines Ward for 37 yards to set up the previously-mentioned first score. But the Steelers broke it open immediately in the second half when Alan Faneca freed Willie Parker for a record 75-yard scoring dash. After a Kelly Herndon pick of Ben made a Jeramy Stevens touchdown possible to make the score 14-10, Antwaan Randle El took a reverse handoff and threw a 43-yard beauty to the game’s MVP Ward, setting the score at 21-10 with 8:56 left in the game. Great defense for the Steelers featuring interceptions by Ike Taylor and sacks by Deshea Townsend, Casey Hampton and Clark Haggans helped cement the Men of Steel’s first Lombardi in 26 years, Bill Cowher’s shining moment and Jerome Bettis’ swan song in front of his home city of Motown.

November 29, 2015 - Seahawks 39, Steelers 30

The Space Needle Showdown in 2015 was one of the the most-exciting games between the two teams, it’s a shame there had to be a franchise hanging a loss in that particular column. It was even more disappointing that the Steelers came out on the defeated end. In a game that featured seven lead changes, the Seahawks ultimately prevailed by scoring 19 fourth-quarter points, including two Russell Wilson touchdown throws to Doug Baldwin in the final 8:12. Wilson (21/30 for 345 yards) had five touchdown tosses on the day, with three going to Baldwin (145 yards) and the other two to Jermaine Kearse. Thomas Rawls added 81 yards and a TD run for the victors. Ben Roethlisberger did put together the best passing performance ever against Seattle, as he threw for 456 yards, 201 went to Markus Wheaton who caught Ben’s only touchdown throw of the day. Wheaton was open due to the fact that Antonio Brown was blanketed most of the day by Richard Sherman. Martavis Bryant and Deangelo Williams had scoring runs, while Chris Boswell added three field goals. The Steelers were ultimately undone by interceptions, Ben Roethlisberger threw two and Landry Jones matched that total when No. 7 went out late in the fourth quarter and into the concussion protocol. The Steelers fell to 6-5, but still made the playoffs.

September 15, 2019 - Seahawks 28, Steelers 26

Multiple losses were suffered by the home-team Steelers in Week 2 of the 2019 season, the game, their franchise quarterback and a bizarre challenge on a pass interference call. Russell Wilson was superb, throwing for 300 yards and three scores, including two to tight end Will Dissly. But his brain and three scrambling first downs helped drain the final 5:34 off of the clock. The Steelers had plenty of chances on the afternoon, but losing Roethlisberger for the season with an elbow injury right before halftime, mental gaffes and poor officiating worked against the Men of Steel. A huge error by Daniel McCullers, whose personal foul allowed Seattle to take a field goal off of the board and replace it with Dissly’s first TD, made a big difference in the contest and put the Hawks on the board by a score of 10-7. In the third, Seattle took the lead on Dissly’s second score after Bradley McDougand intercepted a Mason Rudolph pass that bounced off of the stone hands and then helmet of Donte’ Moncrief. Rudolph filled in admirably for Ben, going 12/19 for 112 yards with two touchdowns to Vance McDonald and that interception that was actually quite a good throw. But the killer in this game was when Terrell Edmunds cleanly broke up a long pass intended for D.K. Metcalf, but Pete Carroll challenged the call and it was overturned into a pass interference penalty. That went from a stop to a touchdown and a terrible loss for the demoralized black and gold.

October 17, 2021 - Steelers 23, Seahawks 20 (OT)

In a game between two teams with disappointing 2-3 records in front of a Sunday Night crowd at Heinz Field, Steeler Nation felt that the black and gold would easily get back on track with stars Russell Wilson and Chris Carson out injured. But not so fast! Geno Smith, starting for the first instance in four years, completed 23 of 32 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown to Will Dissly, while past-tormentor Alex Collins ran for 101 yards and a score against the Steelers defense. As for the renegades from the Steel City, Ben Roethlisberger (229 yards/1 TD) opened the scoring with a touchdown toss to rookie running back Najee Harris who added 83 yards on the ground. While the running back scored on a pass play, tight end Eric Ebron reached the end zone on the ground to make the score 14-0 right before the half. After the intermission, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks obviously made adjustments as evidenced by scoring 17 points to the Steelers 3 in the next 17:01. The Steelers tried to wrap up the game with 3:59 remaining on the clock after a Chris Boswell field goal from 52 yards away. But this game was about to get even more interesting and a tad controversial. With the clock nearing zeroes and no timeouts left, D.K. Metcalf caught a pass near the sidelines but inexplicably decided to turn up field and not go out of bounds to stop the clock. Not only was he stopped, but James Pierre stripped the ball and Seahawk receiver Freddie Swain pounced on the ball with two seconds left and no time to get to the line of scrimmage. Game over, right? Well, in what Mike Tomlin described as “an embarrassment”, the officials stopped the clock to review the play for some reason. The play stood, but the Seahawks were awarded three seconds to allow Geno a spike to trot out Jason Myers and tied the score at 20 with a 43-yarder at the buzzer. The visitors would then win the toss and advance into enemy territory. With a 3rd and 4 on the Pittsburgh 45, Seattle was dangerously closing in to Myers’ range for a game-winning kick. So that’s when T.J. Watt stepped in and sacked Smith for a loss of 13 and a punt. But the Steelers went nowhere with the opportunity and punted the ball back. Watt apparently had enough and burst through and sacked Smith again, jarring the ball free to be recovered by Devin Bush. Chris Boswell’s field goal of 37 yards sealed a 23-20 OT victory for Pittsburgh. It was a wild and crazy game that got the Steelers to .500 and they would not fall below that mark the remainder of the season.