By: Peter Vandeventer | @PeteVandeventer
Despite not a great showing by either the offense or defense, when plays needed to happen happened as the Seahawks collect their first win in Miami since 1996 by the score of 31-23.
Seahawks let Russ Cook even when it wasn’t always clicking
This game was bound to happen. Russ wasn’t going to throw for 5 TDs every week. Whether he underperforms or the receivers underperform, or a combo of both, this was going to happen. The coaches’ response gives a glimpse into if his production and volume is going to continue or taper off. And if Sunday was any indication then it’s safe to say Seattle will actually let Russ cook. A quarter of the season in and it’s safe to assume that this offense is more than capable of continual production, especially without the likes of Josh Gordon or Phillip Dorsett.
24/34 with 360 passing yards is by no standards a poor performance but the offense stalled at times especially after a couple of momentum-killing drops by DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett. Even then, the Seahawks weren’t afraid to take shots and put the ball in Wilson’s hands.
Seahawks defense tightening up in the red zone
Not sure how often it happens but the defense held the Dolphins to 5 FGs within the first 58 minutes of the contest. The “every blade of grass” mentality strikes again. No matter how easily the ball appears to move down the field, you know the defense won't bend for anyone. If you think they’ll give it up for you, better think twice.
A huge reason for that is a big performance by Shaq Griffin, making a nice comeback after a not-so-great game vs the Cowboys last week. His play included a series of pass deflection in the red zone.
Run D could become a difference-maker down the stretch
A noticeable trend for the somewhat porous defense is how well they’ve been able to play the run early. Despite giving up over 100 yards rushing today, 47 of them were to Fitzmagic. On the season, the Seahawks have only given up more than 50 yards rushing to one carrier (Todd Gurley). Zeke, Cam Newton, and Gaskin have all been kept in *relative* check.
You can attribute the rushing totals to opposing teams having to play catchup with the Seahawks offense or you can point to the free yardage given through the air. Regardless, the front 7 has been able to do their part in keeping offenses one dimensional. Might seem a little far fetched talking about the rest of the season but Seattle can hang their hats on this part of the defense while the back end still irons out some wrinkles.
Players of the Game
No Jamal Adams, no problem.
Not really, but it’s more of a prase to how well Ryan Neal has been able to step up through the last 2 games.
Ryan Neal was on the practice squad two weeks ago and was one of two players active from the practice squad last week intended as a depth piece. But since being thrusted into the starting lineup since Adams went down last week, he has been surprisingly disruptive.
The team’s current leader in interceptions made several plays this week including destroying Myles Gaskin coming out of the backfield to hold them to an FG also grabbed the interception on the opening series to take some early wind out of the Dolphins sails.
All in all, Neal finished the day with 6 tackles and an interception, helping easy the worry for the Seahawks who are without all-pro Safety, Jamal Adams. Might be able to give him some more time to rest and return when he’s 100%.
This is pretty obvious but David Moore had one helluva game and was vital in the TD at the end of the half while also having a receiving TD to practically put the game on ice.
Moore finished 2nd on the team in receiving yards (95) only behind Metcalf (105) but was the beneficiary of key plays when it really mattered. For the time being, Moore will remain WR3 for the Seahawks and is more than capable of producing with a limited quantity of touches whether down the field or underneath. Regardless, Russ has undoubtedly built a strong connection with Moore and it’s only beginning to pay off.
Carson didn’t have a particularly stellar game but everything he did was better than expected.
After the game last week, not many thought Carson would suit up again this season. But after the MRI on his knee came back negative, he fought all week to play and did just that. Not only did he overcome his sprained knee this week, but he also got knocked pretty hard before the end of the 1st half but returned after going through the concussion protocol. All while battling his injuries, Carson finished the day with a pair of touchdowns and 100 all-purpose yards.
On a day where the offense wasn’t as potent as they’ve been, a strong rushing attack helped keep the lead throughout the 2nd half. Carson will make you pay if you don’t put enough bodies in the box and the Seahawks aren’t afraid to exploit that.
The team didn’t play up to their potential vs Miami but they did what needed to happen to finish the week 1-0, just like each of the last three weeks.
Next week, the Seahawks host the Vikings on Sunday night in what will be the 3rd time in three years that the two teams play. Despite the poor start to the season, the Vikings will be ready to play and will be ready to make the Seahawks work to stay undefeated.