The Seattle Seahawks are 4-0 for just the second time in franchise history. Three immediate impressions from the Seahawks’ 31-23 victory over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, their first victory in Miami since 1996:
A word on the defense
Normally, this space at the top of the page is reserved for only one man, Russell Wilson.
But we have to acknowledge the Seahawks’ defense here first and foremost.
The defense was not good in the first three games. It was, at times, abysmal.
So for the Seahawks to go to Miami, play another 10 a.m. game, and contend with the heat and humidity in South Florida … and hold the Dolphins out of the end zone, well, that deserves a gold star.
This wasn’t the wild shootout many of us expected it to be between two of the NFL’s worst defenses.
And this wasn’t a perfect game from Seattle’s defense. But it was a significant improvement, and that’s worth highlighting.
You’ve heard it before, but it’s worth repeating: This is a bend-but-don’t-break defense, and it has to play that way right now with major injury issues in the secondary — with star safety Jamal Adams (groin) and starting cornerback Quinton Dunbar (knee) both out Sunday (and with edge rusher Bruce Irvin and defensive back Marquise Blair both out for the season).
The Seahawks played a lot of soft coverage against the Dolphins, with a keep-the-ball-in-front-of-you mentality. And it worked well enough. The Seahawks didn’t allowed any plays of more than 22 yards, and stopping those big plays had to be priority No. 1 for this defense after so many issues vs. the Cowboys last week.
Ryan Neal, making his first start for the Seahawks in Adams’ place, had another interception on the fourth snap of the day — a leaping catch after Cody Barton tipped the pass high in the air. Ryan Fitzpatrick was hit by the Seahawks’ Benson Mayowa as he released the throw.
Shaquill Griffin added an interception in the fourth quarter, setting up the Seahawks’ final touchdown. Rookie Alton Robinson had a key third-down tackle of former UW star Myles Gaskin midway through the fourth quarter.
Bobby Wagner had a game-high 12 tackles, and K.J. Wright had one of the better games of his career — with eight tackles, one forced fumble, and a chance at three interceptions .
The Dolphins had to settle for four field goals until Fitzpatrick’s late touchdown.
He is human (and, yes, he is still the MVP)
Russell Wilson threw his first truly bad pass of the season, and it was intercepted in the end zone in the third quarter. The Seahawks had a chance to really start to pull away after an impressive drive to open the second half — marching to the Miami 6-yard line.
That’s when Wilson came under pressure, jumped and threw off-balance — and had his pass intended for DK Metcalf on a slant intercepted by Xavien Howard.
It was a bad throw, yes. But it was so shocking because Wilson has been so good — so, so, so good — so far this season, and our expectations of him have been raised so high that we expect him to never make mistakes. This was a good reminder — for him and for the team, that these things happen and that any victory in the NFL, especially on the road, are significant, no matter how you achieve them.
Speaking of achievements: Wilson made more history Sunday. With two more touchdown passes, he now has 16 TD passes through four games, tying Peyton Manning (2013) for the most through the first four games of a season.
Wilson finished 24 of 34 passing for 360 yards with two touchdown and one interception. He has a 16-to-2 touchdown-to-interception ratio this season.
There were legitimate questions about Chris Carson’s availability leading up to the trip to Miami, after his cheap-shot knee injury late in the game against Dallas last week.
But there he was Sunday, back in the starting lineup for the Seahawks.
Carson then took a scary helmet-to-helmet hit in the second quarter — it appeared he might have been knocked unconscious — and had to be evaluated for a concussion.
But there he was again, coming out of the locker room after halftime and back in the backfield for the start of the first series of the third quarter.
Carson had his first two touchdown runs of the season Sunday, and he finished with a season-high 80 yards rushing on 16 carries. He added three catches for 20 yards.
We know the Seahawks are putting the ball in Wilson’s hands more this season. But they know there are going to be games where they will have to run the ball effectively, and having a healthy (or healthyish) Chris Carson out of the backfield is a good place to start in that regard.