Steelers lose wild one to Seahawks
SEATTLE — Ben Roethlisberger picked apart the vaunted defense of the Seattle Seahawks like no other quarterback has before.
Roethlisberger throwing for 456 yards wasn't enough for Pittsburgh on a day Russell Wilson managed to overshadow everyone.
Wilson threw a career-high five touchdown passes, including two TDs to Doug Baldwin in the final 8:12, and the Seahawks held on for a wild 39-30 win over Roethlisberger and the Steelers on Sunday.
Visiting Seattle for the first time in his career, Roethlisberger ignored the noise of the "12th Man" and put together the best passing performance ever against the Seahawks. His 456 yards topped the 455 of Philip Rivers in 2010, but that wasn't enough for Pittsburgh to keep pace with Cincinnati in the AFC North.
The reason: turnovers. Pittsburgh (6-5) threw four interceptions — two by Roethlisberger and two by Landry Jones — included a failed fake field goal attempt in the first half.
Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor both had interceptions in the fourth quarter as Seattle's secondary made just enough plays to fend off the Steelers.
"We feel like we can run it, we feel like we can throw it. Obviously we felt like the opportunities were there today in the pass game and they were. Just not enough largely, collectively to win," Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin said.
Roethlisberger completed 36 of 55 passes, but was in the locker room for Pittsburgh's last-ditch effort after Seattle had taken a 39-30 lead.
Roethlisberger was being checked out for a concussion and Jones' attempt at a late rally ended with Chancellor intercepting his pass at the Seattle 6 with 1:37 left.
Tomlin had no update on Roethlisberger after the game.
"All that stuff is going on behind me guys. I don't want to get into all of that," Tomlin said. "We are going to do what's appropriate and take care of our guys."
Before leaving, Roethlisberger had found gaps in Seattle's secondary like no other and with Antonio Brown having a quiet day. Hounded by Sherman for most of the game, Brown was held to six catches for 51 yards.
The beneficiary was Markus Wheaton, who had a career-high nine receptions for 201 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter that gave the Steelers a 27-26 lead. Wheaton became just the second wide receiver to top 200 yards receiving against the Seahawks.
"I think the chemistry was just there today," Wheaton said. "We did see a couple looks like that earlier in the year those two guys on the outside have been making a lot of splashy plays throughout the season, so obviously teams would want to take them away. The chemistry was just there today between me and Ben."
For all the offensive fireworks there were still a plethora of mistakes by the Steelers. Roethlisberger was intercepted by defensive lineman Ahtyba Rubin in the third quarter when Pittsburgh had a 21-14 lead and a chance to pull away.
Instead, two plays after Rubin's unlikely pick, Thomas Rawls was in the end zone and the Steelers' lead was 21-20.
Then there was the debatable decision for Pittsburgh to kick a field goal with 3 minutes remaining and trailing 32-27 rather than going for it on fourth-and-goal at the Seattle 4. Roethlisberger had taken the Steelers 71 yards in 14 plays, but Tomlin opted for a third field goal from Chris Boswell rather than the chance at a TD and taking the lead.
The decision backfired when on third-and-10 on the next possession Wilson hit Baldwin on a crossing route. Baldwin broke free for an 80-yard touchdown and the clinching score.
Baldwin finished with three touchdown catches and Jermaine Kearse caught a pair as Seattle (6-5) overcame losing tight end Jimmy Graham to a patellar tendon injury in his right knee early in the fourth quarter. Graham will miss the rest of the season.
Wilson finished 21 of 30 for 345 yards and connected on his final six passes of the game, three of them going for touchdowns.
"Our offense put up 30 points, they were moving the ball consistently throughout the game, so I definitely take blame for that defensively," Pittsburgh linebacker Arthur Moats said. "It's something we have to learn from."
Notes: Seattle CB Cary Williams was a healthy scratch and replaced in the starting lineup by DeShawn Shead. Williams was benched in the second half last week and had started 81 straight games. ... Wheaton had never had a 100-yard receiving game in his career. ... Pittsburgh LB Ryan Shazier, Seattle DL Demarcus Dobbs and FB Will Tukuafu all left the game with concussions.