Sunday, November 25, 2012
Wrap-up: Dolphins 24, Seahawks 21
By Mike Sando
Thoughts on the Seattle Seahawks' road game loss, 24-21, against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12:
What it means: The Seattle defense failed to hold a late-game lead on the road once again, same as the case was at Detroit. As a result, the Seahawks are 6-5 heading into a road game against Chicago in Week 13. Quarterback Russell Wilson was outstanding in this game, same as he was at Detroit and same as he has generally been since about Week 5. This isn't the time to consider the bigger picture, however. Seattle has blown prime opportunities to improve its playoff chances in a competitive NFC. Conservative play-calling on the Seahawks' final possession backfired.
What I liked: Leon Washington's 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown broke a 14-14 tie in the fourth quarter. This was Washington's first return touchdown since 2010 and it came at the right time for Seattle.
Wilson made one of the more impressive plays a quarterback can make. He faced immediate pressure up the middle on a third-and-12 play in the second quarter. He spun away from pressure, rolled hard to his left and rifled a pass across his body to Sidney Rice for a 26-yard gain along the left sideline. Wilson's feel for the pocket and scrambling ability kept alive drives. He completed 21 of 27 passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns with a 125.9 passer rating.
Rice and fellow receiver Golden Tate continued a recent trend of making plays. Tate's acrobatic diving catch for a 32-yard gain before halftime set up the tying 3-yard touchdown pass to Anthony McCoy.
Wilson, who had struggled in third quarters this season, completed all seven attempts for 66 yards and a touchdown during an 80-yard drive to the go-ahead touchdown on Seattle's first possession of the second half. Wilson also scrambled for 23 yards on the drive. He completed 16 consecutive passes at one point, nearly tying Warren Moon's franchise record of 17, set during the 1998 season.
The Seahawks' defense shut down the Dolphins' offense early. Rookie middle linebacker Bobby Wagner picked off a pass. Defensive end Chris Clemons beat Dolphins left tackle Jake Long for a sack.
What I didn't like: The running game wasn't good enough for Seattle, including when the team opted for repeated handoffs while trying to get into range for a field goal with the game tied, 21-21, late in the fourth quarter. Hindsight says the Seahawks should have tried a couple quick passes to move the ball forward. Wilson had been hot. The running game been struggling. The play-calling in that situation was questionable, at best.
Seattle's offense failed to gain a first down until the second quarter. The running game went nowhere early. Marshawn Lynch had a tough time finding running room most of the day. The Dolphins' Paul Soliai was a tough matchup for center Max Unger and the Seahawks' line.
A penalty against free safety Earl Thomas for an illegal hit on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill wiped out a second interception for Wagner, this one in the end zone. The penalty gave the Dolphins a first-and-goal situation, setting up the tying touchdown with 8:08 remaining in the fourth quarter. Thomas leaped to defend the pass. His momentum carried him into Tannehill. This was a killer penalty for Seattle. Penalties were a problem overall for Seattle, a change from recent form.
Seattle's defense busted coverage at key moments, including when Dolphins receiver Charles Clay got wide open for a 29-yard touchdown to tie the score at 21-21. Clemons' first-half sack was the only one Seattle recorded all game. Tannehill completed 18 of 26 passes for 253 yards with one touchdown, one pick and a 97.1 passer rating.
What's next: The Seahawks visit the Bears in Week 13.