The Seahawks handled their business in Miami behind Russell Wilson. But it wasn’t as easy as expected, and surprisingly, that’s on Number 3.
Yes, 12s, the Seahawks beat the Dolphins today without too much trouble, 31-16. Going to 4-0 is sweet, but there’s ample reason for concern in Seattle. Yes, the secondary could be better. The pass rush needs help, too. But today, Russell Wilson was only good, and that isn’t good news for the Hawks.
The game started off on a great note for the Seahawks. On Miami’s first drive, linebacker Cody Barton tipped a Fitzpatrick pass. One of last week’s heroes, Ryan Neal, fielded the popup with ease. Seattle took advantage as Chris Carson scored on a two-yard run, and there was much rejoicing. Not in Miami, but who cares, right?
The Hawks and Phins traded punts before Seattle mounted another scoring drive. This time, the Seahawks stalled and had to settle for a 55-yard Jason Myers field goal. He probably appreciated the chance to contribute, as it was only his second attempt of the year. Miami was lined up in an illegal formation, but Pete Carroll wisely kept the points on the board, rather than gamble on what would be fourth and three.
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Miami tacked on a field goal to make the score 10-6, Seattle. The Hawks drive stalled, though, and the Dolphins added another field goal to climb within one point. The Seahawks defense continued to give up yards through the air, as they have all season. They repeatedly came up big on key third-down plays, though, which was critical, as the offense wasn’t in sync.
Case in point was the spectacular 57-yard connection from Wilson to David Moore. DangeRuss was a bit off target and held Moore up just enough to allow the defender to push him out of bounds. Happily, it didn’t matter, as two plays later Wilson found Travis Homer in the end zone to put the Seahawks ahead, 17-9. I’ll give Russ credit; he moved the Hawks 75 yards in just 21 seconds to close out the first half. But those signs of trouble wouldn’t go away.
Seattle started the second half with the ball and drove to the Miami three-yard line. Wilson was just two for five on the drive, though, not including an incompletion that was wiped out by a Dolphins penalty. The Hawks capped the drive with an interception as Wilson was offline with his throw to DK Metcalf in the endzone. Wilson was under pressure, but this was a throw he makes 95 times out of 100. The score remained 17-9.
Dolphin’s QB Ryan Fitzpatrick flashed much more of his magic side than the tragic, as Miami mounted another drive that gave them three points. Again, the Seahawks couldn’t get any momentum, despite a big 18-yard run by Chris Carson. Miami took the ball downfield again, and the Hawks defense again held them to a field goal. The score was now 17-15, and the Hawks were officially in a tough battle.
Happily, Wilson snapped out of his funk after that. He finally connected with Tyler Lockett for the first time all day – hard to believe, right? Wilson looked back on form on this drive and hit a streaking David Moore in the end zone to put the Hawks back up by a score. Moore has clearly been taking lessons from Lockett, who seems to have patented keeping two toes on the turf, despite leaping about thirty feet in the air to make a spectacular catch. Seattle had some breathing room again, 24-15.
Fitzpatrick was picked off for the second time on the next drive, as Shaquill Griffin read the play all the way. It was a very heady play by Griffin and definitely good to see the pass defense come up big. This time, Wilson didn’t have to be spectacular. He just dumped a pass to Metcalf in the flat, who broke a weak tackle at the ankles and raced to the Miami one-yard line. Chris Carson punched it in, and Seattle suddenly was up 31-15.
Fitzpatrick wove some of his magic on Miami’s next drive, eventually scoring on a ten-yard quarterback draw. The Phins converted their two-point conversion, to pull within one score, 31-23. The good news for Seattle was that there was just 1:50 left in the game. Jacob Hollister fielded the onside kick with ease. The bad news for the Seahawks was that Miami had all three timeouts left, so they’d need to mount a drive to seal the win.
Chris Carson converted on a crucial third-and-three with 1:36 left in the game. As he always does, he kept those pistons churning after contact and made the first down by about an inch. And that was the game, as the Seahawks won, 31-23. Considering he had just 80 yards on the ground, Carson was huge today.
The Hawks had a lot of heroes in this game, which is how you win when your quarterback isn’t playing like some alien creature. Believe me, I’m not knocking Number 3. It’s actually a bit gratifying to know he can “slip” to just two touchdowns and one interception, and the Seahawks can still win. 4-0 is sweet, no matter how you get there.