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3 key plays & 3 key stats from Seahawks narrow win over Dolphins

The Seahawks escape opening weekend with a victory.

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks
Tyler Lockett doing Tyler Lockett things.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to a timely 75-yard drive very late in the fourth quarter, the Seattle Seahawks were able to escape the season opener with a victory over the Miami Dolphins by a final score of 12-10. An ankle injury to Russell Wilson looked like it was going to keep the Seattle offense from doing anything positive, but the quarterback was still able to orchestrate the game-winning drive with the help of Christine Michael, Doug Baldwin and some solid blocking on the offensive line.

Things were looking bleak for the Seahawks after Miami scored a late touchdown on a 2-yard Ryan Tannehill touchdown run, but the offense came alive in yet another comeback effort to move the team’s record to 1-0 to begin the season, as Cliff Avril sacked Tannehill to put the finishing touches on the game.

Key Plays

1. Kenny Stills drops a clear touchdown.

In a game that lacked any tangible success on offense until the very end of the fourth quarter, this would have been a huge play and would have put the Dolphins up 7-3 early in the second quarter, and may changed the complexion of the whole game.

2. Cassius Marsh blocks a pivotal field goal attempt.

Another missed opportunity by the Dolphins here, as this field goal would have tied the game at 6-6. Marsh made a great play to rise above the line and get a hand on the ball to preserve the three point lead, which proved to be a massive play after Steven Hauschka missed his only extra point attempt of the game.

3. Doug Baldwin puts the Seahawks up for good.

On a day in which he was mostly kept in check (as far as big plays are concerned), Baldwin exploded on the final drive of the game for Seattle, catching 3 passes for 33 yards (one of which was a fourth down conversion), including this game-winning touchdown on a beautifully-designed play.

Key Stats

1. Miami rushing yards - 64 yards on 20 carries (3.2 ypc)

The Dolphins had no answer for Seattle’s run defense, as the Seahawks refused to let Arian Foster and company get anything going on the ground. Miami’s inability to move the ball with their backs allowed the Seahawk defense to dominate the game.

2. Russell Wilson passing attempts - 43

We knew going into this season that this was going to be the year Russell Wilson officially became the focal point of the offense, and we saw that on Sunday. Even in a game where it would have been fine to keep everything on the ground, the Seattle offense let Wilson continue to air it out.

3. Jarvis Landry - 7 receptions, 59 yards

Landry was huge for the Dolphins on their touchdown drive, and was nearly the MVP of the game for his two 20+ yard catches leading up to Ryan Tannehill’s scoring run.

Quick Hitters

  • Hopefully there aren't any further repercussions from Russell Wilson's injury. After Ndamukong Suh accidentally stepped on Wilson's ankle while in pursuit of the shifty quarterback (a real accident, not a normal Suh "accident"). He wasn't able to drive off of his right foot with his normal ferocity, which affected a number of his throws. Of course, he also was unable to dance around the pocket as he is wont to do. Not to say that his improvisation always leads to positive results, but the unpredictability of the Seattle offense is part of what makes it so dangerous. A hindered Wilson takes away most, if not all, of that unscripted excitement.
  • Even while limited, however, Russell was still Russell when it mattered most on the final drive of the game. He stood tall in the pocket and delivered accurate throws when the team needed it most, including a few huge completions to Doug Baldwin.
  • The defense, for the most part, was spectacular. Aside from the late Miami touchdown drive, the Dolphins had been stifled at every turn, highlighted by a dominant run defense.
  • Nice game for Christine Michael. Thomas Rawls had a new nice runs, but Michael was the better runner overall on Sunday. When the Seattle offense needed a boost following Wilson's injury, Michael provided some pop.
  • The offensive line was mostly solid when it came to actually blocking, but still committed way too many penalties, whether they were all legitimate or not.

What it Means

It means that Seattle is 1-0! Hooray! Early in the season, everyone is just trying to survive, and even ugly wins are big wins. So while the offense looked shaky for nearly the entirety of the game, there’s plenty of time to improve. They’ll look to do just that and take the next step forward next week at the Los Angeles Rams.