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3 Up, 3 Down: Winners, Losers From Seahawks' 23-20 Heartbreaker in Pittsburgh

Taking the field without Russell Wilson for the first time since 2011, the Seahawks exceeded the expectations of many by taking the Steelers down to the wire in a hostile environment. Though they fell short in the end, there were several impressive performances that deserve recognition, as well as a few that ultimately led to the crushing defeat. Reporter Ty Dane Gonzalez dissects it all.

The Seahawks are 2-4, losers of four of their last five following a heartbreaking overtime loss to the Steelers at Heinz Field. It's time for "3 Up, 3 Down" as we break down the three best and worst performances from Sunday night's action. 

3 Up

QB Geno Smith

Though he coughed up the game-sealing turnover for the second week in a row, Smith once again fought valiantly in place of Russell Wilson. Despite having some not-so-great pass protection in front of him for most of the night, the nine-year veteran managed to complete 23 of 32 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown, and successfully led a two-minute drill to send the game to overtime. His last play of the night will be burned in the brains of fans and pundits alike, but overall, he proved the Seahawks can still compete with him at the helm. 

RB Alex Collins

After getting shutout through the first half, the Seahawks relied heavily on Collins to open up the third quarter and it paid dividends. On seven of nine plays, Collins had his number called, racking up 51 yards and capping off the drive with a two-yard touchdown to break the ice on Seattle's side of things. He was crucial in keeping his team relevant in this one, becoming its first 100-yard rusher since Chris Carson eclipsed the century mark in December of 2019. Interestingly, he did not see the field towards the end of Sunday night's events. No word was given on if an injury occurred or not. Nevertheless, it was a great night overall for No. 41. 

CB D.J. Reed

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In his third week back at right corner, Reed continues to look more and more like the player we saw at the end of 2020. He gave up some catches in this one, but in the end, he limited Steelers receivers to under 100 yards on the night and made a couple key deflections in big moments, including a third down against Chase Claypool. Between him and rookie Tre Brown—who deserves an honorable mention for his strong NFL debut—the Seahawks finally got some quality play from the cornerback position in Pittsburgh. 

3 Down

WR DK Metcalf

It ultimately didn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but Metcalf nearly sealed the Seahawks' fate himself. With 15 seconds left on the game clock, Smith found his All-Pro receiver on a quick out to set Jason Myers up for an easier game-tying field goal. But instead of going out of bounds to stop the clock, Metcalf inexplicably opted to turn upfield and was immediately stripped of the ball. Thankfully for Seattle, Freddie Swain was able to recover the fumble and get the ball back to the line of scrimmage in time for Smith to spike it. After a long, drawn-out official's review confirmed there was time left prior to the spike, Myers sent the game to overtime. However, this should not excuse Metcalf's blunder; he has to be more aware of the situation, especially in his third year of professional football. 

Seahawks' pass protection

While it improved at times as the game went along, Seattle's offensive line struggled to consistently give Smith a clean pocket to work from. In total, the unit was credited with five sacks on the night; however, the overall pressure numbers will likely turn out a lot higher. Of course, going up against the likes of Cameron Heyward and T.J. Watt is tough sledding, but this was an inexcusably bad outing for the most part. 

S Jamal Adams

Seattle emphasized getting Adams in the box more and letting him rush the passer, but the All-Pro struggled to generate much pressure on the night. The real issue here, however, was his inability to nab two potentially game-changing interceptions. On his first opportunity, though he was partially interfered with by Darrell Taylor, Adams should have been able to haul in a ball that was batted into the air deep in the Seahawks' red zone. On the second, with the Steelers looking to retake the lead late in the fourth quarter, Ben Roethsliberger fired a pass that bounced directly off Adams' chest and a piece of his facemask. Those two mistakes proved costly as Pittsburgh went on to put up 10 points on those drives, including the field goal that limited Seattle to a game-tying opportunity in the closing seconds of regulation.