SEATTLE — Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren were dominant and Mason Rudolph was efficient again as the Pittsburgh Steelers used their strong rushing attack to dominate time of possession and silence the crowd at Lumen Field in a 30-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
The victory improves the Steelers to 9-7 on the season, securing the 17th consecutive non-losing season for the franchise and keeping their playoff hopes alive.
The question coming into the week had been whether Rudolph would get another shot after impressing against the Cincinnati Bengals last week, or if Kenny Pickett would return from his ankle injury.
Rudolph got the start, and Pickett was not even active, but the running game seemed determined to make who played quarterback nearly irrelevant.
Harris and Warren traded carries back and forth, running through, over, and around the Seattle defense with an impressive highlight reel of broken tackles, spin moves, stiff arms and pile pushes.
Warren scored first on an 18-yard scamper through the Seattle defense. Harris plowed through that same unit for a 9-yard score late in the second quarter, diving forward and stretching the ball to the goal line in traffic. He then later pushed the entire Seahawks defense into the end zone from four yards out in the third quarter.
Harris finished with 122 yards on 27 carries and the two scores, for a 4.5 yards per carry average. Warren had 75 yards on 13 carries and a touchdown and a 5.8 yards per carry average.
Rudolph sprinked in a few big plays, hitting Diontae Johnson for a big play to set up the second Harris touchdown and another to George Pickens late to help add a field goal to the lead. He finished a very efficient 18 of 24 for 276 yards, with a 112.2 passer rating.
Despite the ground-game dominance, the Steelers needed until the very end to salt the game away, thanks to a leaky defense that had a tendency to allow big plays. Kenneth Walker III had 53 yards on 10 carries and a touchdown and another 22 yards on three catches before a shoulder injury slowed him down in the second half.
Wide receiver DK Metcalf was the real thorn in the Steelers’ side, torching the team’s patchwork secondary for 91 yards on four catches. Jaxon Smith-Njigba added a 12-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter.
The game was within one score all the way until backup outside linebacker Nick Herbig stripped Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith on a sack in the fourth quarter. Herbig got the ball back himself, setting up a Chris Boswell field goal to make it 30-20. Boswell had three field goals in the game.
The Steelers will now need to beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 18 and get some help to earn a spot in the AFC playoffs.