Sunday’s loss to the Miami Dolphins was once again another frustrating, nail-biting heartbreaker. After an unfortunate penalty which negated an interception, the inability to put together a game winning drive and the inability to stop the Dolphins when it mattered the most, the Seahawks fell to Miami 24-21. In this review post, you will probably get the feeling that I am just venting about our constant struggles on the road but I think that is acceptable. Here are my thoughts and frustrations about Sunday’s game.
We Couldn’t Catch a Break I: The Seahawks were called for 10 penalties totaling 59 yards on Sunday. Most of these penalties were mental mistakes such as false starts and delay of game. There was also a couple holding calls and one personal foul penalty (which I will discuss in part II). Of course penalties are always a big problem but this week it felt like the penalty yardage added on to our plays were the difference in whether we converted for a first down or not. A lot of our penalties were called in the first half and we seemed to do a good job making adjustments for the second half, but unfortunately it was not enough in the end. With another huge road test next week, these simple mistakes need to be corrected in a big hurry.
We Couldn’t Catch a Break II: The toughest penalty the Seahawks had in this game came with 8:13 left in the fourth quarter. After forcing Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill out of the pocket, while scrambling to his right he threw a pass across his body which was intercepted by linebacker Bobby Wagner in the endzone for a turnover. However, on the play, safety Earl Thomas came rushing in towards Tannehill and after Tannehill released the ball Thomas could not stop his speed and momentum, jumping and crashing into Tannehill. Thomas was flagged for roughing the passer/blow to the head and the Dolphins got the ball first and goal at the three-yard line. Daniel Thomas punched it in for a Miami touchdown on the next play. Without those points, Seattle would have held on for the win. Here are my feelings about the penalty on Thomas. According to the rules no defensive player can make contact with the quarterback’s head with any body part. Unfortunately, Thomas was running at full speed and could not avoid crashing into Tannehill. What is Thomas supposed to do in a situation like this? Running that fast, it is nearly impossible to not run in to the quarterback. One could say Thomas could have just rammed into the quarterback with his shoulder but the play happened so bang-bang that you have virtually no time to think about how to try to stop him. Technically Thomas did commit a punishable foul, but I think the rule concerning running into the quarterback should be examined before the 2013 season.
Just Like In Detroit, Defense Couldn’t Step Up When It Mattered Most: After failing to put together a game-winning drive of their own, the Seahawks punted back to the Dolphins with 1:32 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins drive started at their own 10-yard line. In a minute and a half, Miami drove 65 yards to their own 25-yard line and then kicked the game winning field goal. The Seahawks defense continues to let me and the rest of the 12th Man down in crucial situations on the road. How can a unit so talented give up so many yards in such a short period of time at the end of the game? The Seahawks gave up 435 total yards of offense to the Dolphins, which is usually enough to lose a game just like what happened today. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, things do not get any easier with Chicago coming up next week.
Silver Linings: For all of the frustration and suffering that occurred on Sunday, here are some positive things I took out of the Dolphins game. After getting off to a shaky start, Russell Wilson settled down and completed 16 consecutive passes at one point in the game. If he had completed 17, he would have tied Warren Moon for the Seahawks record for consecutive passes completed in a game. Wilson ended the day 21/27 for 224 yards and 2 touchdowns. Wilson continues to improve but still is showing growing pains on the road. Next week Wilson and the Seahawks offense cannot afford to get off to a slow start… Jon Ryan had a great game punting this week. Ryan had 7 punts for a total of 280 yards (a 40 yard average). Six of these punts landed inside the 20-yard line. Ryan continues to show why he deserves to be the NFC punter in the pro bowl this season… Leon Washington tied Cleveland’s Josh Cribbs for the most kickoff return touchdowns in NFL history. He returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown which gave the Seahawks a 21-14 fourth quarter lead. One more kickoff return touchdown and Washington has the record.
Random Thoughts: The Dolphins had scored a total of 10 points in their previous two games. They scored 17 points in a 9-minute span in the fourth quarter on Sunday. Simply embarrassing… I don’t think I have seen a smaller crowd for an NFL game this season. There were TONS of empty orange seats at Sun Life Stadium on Sunday. No question I am putting bandwagon status on Miami Dolphins fans… Chris Myers and Tim Ryan I am begging you guys. Please go back to broadcasters training. It is turning into a fun game to see how many times you can screw up the play-by-play and commentary any given week… According to the Seahawks Twitter account, the team landed in Seattle Sunday night and immediately started preliminary preparations on next weekend’s game against Chicago. I like the idea. We may need all of the prep time we can get… The Seahawks wore blue jerseys and grey pants this week; the same combination we wore when we beat Carolina on the road in week 5. Too bad the combination didn’t work this time around… I am sick and tired of these close losses on the road. Honestly I would much rather see us get blown out on the road than see us lose these close games. I think watching us get blown out would be easier to handle… After our loss and the San Francisco 49ers win in New Orleans, I am starting to come to the very real realization that we may not catch San Francisco for the division. At this point our first concern and priority should be locking up a wild-card berth.
Seahawks Playoff Outlook: The Seahawks are 6-5 and based on tiebreakers are currently holding onto the 6th seed in the NFC playoffs. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Minnesota Vikings also have 6-5 records. Also in the playoff picture with 5-6 records are the Washington Redskins, Dallas Cowboys, and New Orleans Saints. Next Week’s matchups with potential playoff implications:
Seattle (6-3) at Chicago (8-3)
Tampa Bay (6-5) at Denver (8-3)
Minnesota (6-5) at Green Bay (7-4)
Like I noted in “Random Thoughts,” the Seahawks have already begun preparations for next Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. Be on the lookout for my preview of the Bears game on Saturday afternoon. Tough Loss guys but we’ll bounce back. Down but not out! Go Hawks!