PITTSBURGH — They threw five interceptions, they couldn't score on first and goal from the one and they lost their quarterback with a broken leg. The Pittsburgh Steelers had every reason to lose, except one--they were playing the Seattle Seahawks.
Barry Foster finished his 10th 100-yard game of the season with a go-ahead, four-yard touchdown run with 2:22 to play, and the Steelers withstood the turnovers and Neil O'Donnell's potential season-ending broken leg to beat the Seahawks, 20-14, Sunday.
"Whew, that was a relief," running back-wide receiver Dwight Stone said. "People were saying in the huddle, 'We can't lose to this team.' "
Seattle's league-leading defensive secondary intercepted Steeler passes on their first three possessions, but their NFL-worst offense couldn't manage a point off any of the turnovers. John Kasay, who had the winning kick in last Monday night's 16-13 overtime upset of the Denver Broncos, missed all three of his field-goal attempts to give the Steelers just enough chances to win.
Two of Bubby Brister's passes were intercepted after he relieved O'Donnell late in the third quarter. But Brister later directed the Steelers on a game-winning 80-yard drive, highlighted by his 27-yard completion to Stone on third and 17 and an 18-yard throw to Merril Hoge.
"If we had messed up one more time, they would have called the rescue squad for us," Brister said. "Maybe, in the past, this is a game we would lose, but now we can find the way to win them."
The Steelers (10-3), winners of seven of their last eight games, again were just good enough to win and clinch at least an AFC wild-card playoff berth because of losses by the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.
The Seahawks (2-11) again were just bad enough to lose.
"You just can't waste that many opportunities and come up with zero against a good football team," Seahawk Coach Tom Flores said. "We had good drives, but we came up empty too many times. We missed three field goals, and those were big points. What can you say? It's a shame."
The Steelers' offense has been Foster and little else, but it's still been enough to give Pittsburgh the best record in the AFC.
Brister, the starter for most of the last five seasons, probably is the Steelers' quarterback for the rest of the regular season. O'Donnell broke his right fibula while trying to avoid a third-quarter sack and is out indefinitely.
Foster carried 33 times for 125 yards and his 10 100-yard games are two short of the NFL record of 12 in a season, set by Eric Dickerson in 1984 with the Rams. His 10 are the most since Dickerson had 11 in 1986. Foster has 1,444 yards, and his 328 carries breaks Franco Harris' team single-season record of 316 in 1978.
A Seattle offense that has managed only 103 points in 13 games sputtered again, despite the defense's five interceptions.
"It was frustrating to the defense," said safety Eugene Robinson, who made three of the interceptions. "We needed those points, but we're not here to point fingers. If we lose and go down as the worst losingest team ever, we'll do it together."