Steelers keep playoff hopes alive into Week 18 with 30-23 win over Seahawks

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) passes against the Seattle Seahawks in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jaylen Warren (30) tries to get past Seattle Seahawks cornerback Devon Witherspoon (21) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Najee Harris (22) reaches for a touchdown ahead of Seattle Seahawks defensive end Dre'Mont Jones (55) in the first half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

SEATTLE — Najee Harris rushed for a season-high 122 yards and bullied his way into the end zone for a pair of touchdowns, and the Pittsburgh Steelers kept their playoff hopes alive into Week 18 with a 30-23 win over the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Using a punishing running attack that faced little resistance from Seattle, the Steelers (9-7) pushed their way into the final week of the regular season with a chance at the postseason and ensured that Mike Tomlin’s team would yet again avoid a losing record.


Harris had not hit the century mark rushing this season, his closest coming when he ran for 99 yards against Cincinnati. But he combined with Jaylen Warren for a running punch that Seattle struggled to stop.

Harris averaged 4.5 yards per carry and reached the 100-yard mark for the first time since Week 17 of last season against Baltimore. Warren added another 75 yards rushing and scored on a 18-yard run in the first quarter.

Harris scored on a 9-yard touchdown run in the second quarter breaking several tackles on his way to the goal line before a final lunge to break the plane. In the third quarter, Harris scored on a 4-yard run with a big assist from his linemen pushing the pile into the end zone to give the Steelers a 24-17 lead.

Pittsburgh thrived against Seattle’s run defense that has been awful for more than half the season and finished with 202 yards rushing and a season-high 468 total yards. Pittsburgh was the sixth straight opponent to rush for at least 135 yards against the Seahawks.

Quarterback Mason Rudolph was 18 of 24 for 274 yards and hit the big throws when needed, none more important than a 34-yard completion to George Pickens on third-and-6 early in the fourth quarter. Pickens made a terrific diving finger-tip catch and led to Chris Boswell’s 26-yard field goal that gave the Steelers a 27-20 lead with 7:07 left.

Rudolph also hit Pickens for 24 yards with two minutes left and Seattle desperately needing a stop. Pickens had seven catches for 131 yards.

Seattle (8-8) had its two-game win streak snapped and while the Seahawks weren’t eliminated from the postseason, they will need a victory and a lot of help in Week 18.

Geno Smith threw for 290 yards and a 12-yard TD to Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the first half. Kenneth Walker III added 53 yards rushing and a 13-yard TD in the first half, but the Seahawks settled for three field goals in the second half and Smith committed one big turnover.

Nick Herbig forced and recovered a fumble sacking Smith with seven minutes left, giving the Steelers possession at the Seattle 16 and Boswell’s 21-yard field goal with 4:31 left pushed the Pittsburgh lead to 30-20.


Seattle took two major hits to its offensive line. Starting right tackle Abe Lucas played the entire first half, but went to the locker room early before the second quarter ended and was ruled out with a knee injury when the second half started.

Three plays into the third quarter, center Evan Brown had to be helped off the field and was ruled out with a concussion.

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