It probably says something about the high standard the Seahawks and Russell Wilson have set in 2020 that a road victory in which Seattle scored 31 points and allowed just one touchdown felt like a struggle.
But this is the NFL, where road wins never come easily — and touchdown passes aren’t supposed to come with the ease Wilson has been throwing them this season.
But given the injuries on defense and Miami playing hard and flying around, there’s a lot to like in Seattle’s 31-23 victory over the Dolphins on Sunday.
None more so than the fact Seattle is 4-0 for just the second time in franchise history and heavily favored next week at home against Minnesota before heading into their bye week.
On to some grades.
Sure, Wilson threw his first actual interception of the year, his other having gone through the hands of Greg Olsen against the Patriots. And the fourth-down sack he took in the second quarter was a play he’d maybe like to have back.
But he also again made a handful plays only he can, such as the scramble and 57-yard pass to David Moore to set up the touchdown before the half. And he was on point with his calls and throws on the drive that gave Seattle the answer after Miami cut it to 17-15, revealing later that his headset went out on that drive and he had to call the plays himself.
It’s hard to argue, ultimately, with 360 passing yards and going 5 for 5 for 97 yards in the fourth quarter.
Chris Carson shrugged off the twisted knee from last week and again got the start, and then his first rushing touchdown of the season to cap Seattle’s first drive. But then he took a hard hit late in the second quarter and you wondered if he was going to be out for a while. Nope. Carson returned from having the wind knocked out of him and leapt over a guy in the second half and scored another touchdown on a really gutty day.
DeeJay Dallas saw his first career action and ran hard, and Travis Homer got the first touchdown of his career and then had a nice pickup of a blitz on a third down to free up Wilson to scramble for a first down on the first series of the second half.
Tyler Lockett dropped just his fourth pass since 2017, according to ESPN, and didn’t have a catch in the first half. But as might be expected, he rallied from that and had two on the game’s key drive in the fourth quarter.
Moore had one of the biggest days of his career with a 57-yarder to set up one touchdown and the fabulous leap and toe tap for the TD in the fourth quarter.
And DK Metcalf had another big day (four catches, 106 yards), while rookie Freddie Swain (two catches, 32 yards) continues to show a lot of promise.
Kind of a sneaky important day here as the tight ends had seven catches for 50 yards. Olsen had two catches to spark the scoring drive at the end of the first half. Jacob Hollister also had a recovery of the final onside kick.
At times it didn’t feel like the best day of the year for the offensive line, which also appeared to rotate more than it has all season, maybe due to the heat and humidity.
But then you look up and there’s another 31 points on the board, and for all the pressure Miami brought, it got just two sacks and four quarterback hits.
And while the running game didn’t put up huge numbers, it felt like there was some room to run when needed most.
Seattle held Miami’s tailbacks to 47 yards on 15 carries, and it felt like there was just enough pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick to make his life uncomfortable enough to throw two picks and what should have been another one or two more.
All six of the Seahawks’ quarterback hits came from linemen as Seattle relied on more of a four-player rush than anytime this season.
Anthony Rush, who began the year on the practice squad after being waived by the Eagles, just continues to be a revelation and teamed with Bryan Mone for a sack among three total tackles.
Rookie Alton Robinson continues to show flashes, coming up with a solo tackle on a third-and-three run when Miami was at the Seattle 9 midway through the fourth quarter.
What a huge day for K.J. Wright, who had eight tackles, three pass defenses and one forced fumble.
Cody Barton got his first start of the season with Wright again playing a lot of strongside linebacker as a result, and he could hardly have been better.
Wright had two early pass defenses but undoubtedly wished he’d been able to hang on to at least one of them. Wright’s pass defense was impressive all day as he later perfectly read a screen and had a big hit to force a fumble.
Barton, meanwhile, had the tip that turned into Ryan Neal’s early interception.
The beleaguered and injury-riddled secondary turned in its best game of the year in doing the No. 1 thing Pete Carroll asks — eliminating big plays.
The Seahawks gave up some yards but no play of longer than 26 yards.
Shaquill Griffin turned in what felt like a bounce-back game after some struggles this season, including a breakup of a pass in the end zone when Miami was threatening to take the lead early in the fourth quarter, and then the interception that helped break the game open in the fourth quarter.
And what a revelation Neal was at safety early, with an interception on the first series and two pass defenses overall, while Ugo Amadi continues to play well at nickel and had two pass breakups.
Jason Myers, who had been kind of quiet so far this season, hit a 55-yarder in the first quarter, and Michael Dickson continued his hot start to the season with a 58-yard punt that pinned the Dolphins at the 5 after Seattle was stopped ahead just 17-12.
Coverage also remained solid.