12th Man: Week 1 vs. Miami
As I’ve said before, and will certainly say again, the Seahawks love making games interesting.
Sunday’s game had all the makings of a crippling home loss to a team that wasn’t that great to start the season off 0-1. The offensive line play was dreadful, and it heavily impacted the team’s ability to sustain much of anything on offense. Russell Wilson was erratic when he wasn’t getting the ball out quickly, throwing a hideous interception on a scramble gone wrong, and sustaining an ankle injury (no thanks to Ndamukong Suh) in the third quarter that consumed his usual elusiveness. Tyler Lockett seemed out of it, with a couple of brutal drops he didn’t seem to shake off. Chris Conte showed up in an Earl Thomas costume and played terribly, missing several tackles and arriving late on some other big plays, too.
This is not to say the Seahawks had no help looking bad, the Miami Dolphins showed up to compete, and did just that. Their defensive line play was outstanding with Ndamukong Suh abusing the interior, slowing only when Mario Williams left the game in the second half with a concussion. The secondary play was better than expected, and Kiko Alonso was a name I heard way more than I wanted to. Ryan Tannehill showed poise under pressure, making plays where there should have been none, and Arian Foster looked, well, mostly like Arian Foster.
However, the Seahawks weren’t entirely bad and ugly – there was a lot of good, and that good kept them in the game and helped them escape with the win. Defensive backs not named Earl Thomas played very well, with Kam Chancellor making some of his trademark impact plays, and Richard Sherman and DeShawn Shead combining to allow two catches for two yards. Jeremy Lane played aggressively as well. The defensive line showed up and disrupted plays every chance they could get, against both the pass and the run. Cassius Marsh had himself a game, making a couple of big plays on special teams and when rushing the passer.
Late in the fourth quarter, when Ryan Tannehill ran in a touchdown, it felt like the game was almost over. It certainly was not. Russell Wilson finally settled in, despite the ankle injury, and led a 14-play, 75-yard drive, converting two fourth downs, and closing it out by dropping the only passing touchdown of the day into Doug Baldwin’s gloves. The point after would be blocked, leaving the score at 12-10. Miami would attempt to respond with 31 seconds remaining, to no avail. Seattle’s defensive line went to work once again, closing the game out with a fumble out of bounds (thanks Cassius!) and a sack at the one-yard line, courtesy of Cliff Avril. 1-0. On to the Rams.