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This Week In Defense: That one where the Seahawks D-line dominates the Dolphins

NFL: Miami Dolphins at Seattle Seahawks Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Narrative Of The Game: Adam Gase was the target of a lot of stories going in such as “Are the Seattle Seahawks in his head?” and “Is he ready for a head-coaching job?” I think the answer to both of those questions is yes. The Seahawks on the other hand, had all the praise heading into this one, especially on the defensive side. Even the bookmakers thought Seattle was gonna win with a bit of a statement out of the gate. So let’s kick back, watch the tape and see what happened.

First Quarter, 1:30, 4th and Inches: Arian Foster run up the middle for no gain. Tackled by Kam Chancellor.

This is one of those big plays that can hardly be overstated. I love Kam here but I love the defensive line more for the surge it gets. Leading up to this you had a big missed tackle in the open field by Earl Thomas (We’ll get to that...) and Gase is showing all the signs of his history (as defensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 48) against this football team. They were in field goal range; It's early, take the points.

On this play, the mechanics are pretty simple most of the time. Low man wins, but watch Jarren Reed here; The double team moves him far too late in the play for Foster to have an easy crack at the sticks. Shout out to Cliff Avril for knifing in for the redirect to Chancellor, who looks in football form.

Second Quarter, 14:01, 2nd and 10: Ryan Tannehill sacked by Frank Clark for -8 yards.

Check out this combo. Frank Clark (RE) Quinton Jefferson (NT) Michael Bennett (3Tech) Cliff Avril (LE)

Bennett and Avril have a history of tag-teaming tackle-guard combos for pass rush success. On this look, you can bet guys are calling this out on a 2nd and 10. Preoccupation can lead to mistakes though and on this Seattle just runs a little tackle-end stunt with Jefferson and Clark and Clark strolls in for the sack. It won't get any easier than this. My favorite part is how Jefferson effortlessly slides away from the guard and forces a response from the tackle.

Without knowing the Dolphins play-call, I can still say that this just should not ever happen. If this isn't a stunt though, Jefferson has a heck of a chance at a free run at Tannehill if the tackle picks up an outside rush from Clark. Take note of #99 as this isn't the last time he'll make an impact.

A little bit of context on this one before we move on. The previous play was a dropped pass by Kenny Stills that should have gone for six. Gase looks to dial up another deep pass from the looks of it, but alas, it’s a sack instead.

Third Quarter, 14:17, 2nd and 7: Ryan Tannehill sacked by Michael Bennett for -9 yards.

This one is all Bennett as he fights inside the guard-tackle gap. Now, for the love of God I cannot figure out what the left tackle is doing on this play. He doesn't slide to greet Bennett. It's like they're trying to react late or early and never find a rhythm on the line for Miami. This though, it's almost entirely a zero effort play by the Dolphins lineman here. Can someone tell me what he's thinking?

Fourth Quarter, 14:14, 3rd and 10: Pass for Landry complete for 14 yards. Tackled by Jeremy Lane.

This was a strange day because as dominant as ten guys were at times, Earl Thomas struggled to finish plays, took bad angles, or was late reacting. This is just one of those plays you can't excuse. Arian Foster had a 50-yard catch and run-past-Thomas earlier in the game that was tough. This one is right there, right there in the wheel house, it's set up. The Seahawks are blitzing and Miami throws behind it as Landry clears Lane just enough to let Tannehill lead him with the throw. Earl is right there. Of all the plays, this is the one that just had me lost. He hasn't really made a mistake like this since 2011 against Atlanta. It was unbelievable when I saw it live because it's completely out of character for him to do that.

Side Note: I was having the thought while watching the game about how Pete Carroll had said in his season wrap press conference last year, he was going to expand guys' education in football this and teach guys like Earl Thomas and Bobby Wagner offensive philosophies, how to read tells and get ahead of the game based on more complex concepts. I don't think this had anything to do with what we saw as Earl played great in preseason. We'll have to see how this goes moving forward. I feel like ET will get back on track.

Fourth Quarter, 4:12, 2nd and Goal: Run by Tannehill 2-yard run for a Touchdown Dolphins.

If you're wondering why I put Cassius Marsh's forced fumble here instead of Tannehill's touchdown, it's the old Field Gulls switcheroo. Calm down boys. It's only Week 1. We've got 15 more of these to go.

Game Wrap:

Kris Richard and Pete Carroll seemed to push all the right buttons for most of the game. If Earl Thomas is on, this game may look exactly like that Broncos vs Seattle Monday Night slug fest from 1992 where Cortez Kennedy dominated. That’s how bad the Dolphins looked outside of five plays.

My only concern is that Kris and Pete have all these new toys on the D-line, so they were trying to experiment and got caught a little bit. It’s a nice problem to have. It’s also nice to have that problem and still be 1-0.

Game Ball:

I could just give this to the entire D-line. They had a great game for the most part, but there’s only one man who can claim the prize this week: Michael Bennett. After there being concerns regarding his health (and perhaps his frustrations about his contract) Bennett was like a different dude. His sack is his only spotlight here, but his impact was well beyond that. In run defense he was great, in pass rush he was on it. I’ve never seen a first half to second half disparity like that.

Needs work:

Thomas had one of the worst days I’ve seen him have since 2011 against the Falcons and even then, if I ran it play by play vs the Falcon game he was still better in this game than that one. I expressed earlier that I didn’t think Pete’s “Re-education” this offseason was the concern here. Let’s see if Earl shakes this off next week. Something tells me we’re going to need him vs Todd Gurley in LA.