Seahawks still undefeated after pulling away to beat Dolphins 31-23

Oct 4, 2020, 10:49 AM | Updated: 5:16 pm

The Seahawks are 4-0, and this time there wasn’t much drama in the final moments.

That’s not to say Sunday’s 31-23 victory over the Miami Dolphins was the least bit easy, however.

Seahawks win: Perfect record no mirage | Quick Hits | 710 reacts | Stats

Seattle had to shake off a sluggish offensive performance in humid Miami, and five field goals by Dolphins kicker Jason Sanders actually cut the Seahawks’ lead to 17-15 in the fourth quarter. That’s when Russell Wilson and his crew woke up, however, ripping Miami’s defense for two touchdowns in a matter of just 90 seconds of time on the clock, helped by cornerback Shaquill Griffin’s second interception of the season.

Safety Ryan Neal also had a pick of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, his coming on the opening drive of the game, setting up a TD drive that gave Seattle an early lead it never ceded.

Though Wilson threw his second interception of the year and struggled at times, he finished the game with 360 yards and two touchdowns on 24 of 34 passing. DK Metcalf led Seattle’s receivers with 106 yards on four catches, and Carson ran for 80 yards and two TDs on 16 carries.

And give the Seahawks’ defense credit. Despite being considerably depleted, especially with starting safety Jamal Adams and starting cornerback Quinton Dunbar inactive due to injury, Miami didn’t score a touchdown until inside the two-minute warning when Fitzpatrick scrambled in on a 10-yard run.

Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright had a huge game with eight tackles (six solo) and three passes defensed.

Seattle will take it 4-0 record into a Sunday night battle next week with the Minnesota Vikings.

Here’s a quarter-by-quarter look at the Seahawks’ win over the Dolphins.

First quarter

Seahawks 10, Dolphins 3

For all the concerns about Seattle’s thin secondary, it quickly went to work trying to dispel them.

Ryan Neal picked up right where he left off, ending Miami’s first drive with an interception after he ended Dallas’s last series in Week 3 with a pick. He came down with a Fitzpatrick pass deflected by Seahawks linebacker Cody Barton, giving Seattle a leg up just a few plays after it sent away the opening kickoff.

Neal jumped into the team lead for interceptions with two despite having been active for just the past two weeks, with Sunday being his first start (though Griffin would later equal him).

After Neal’s pick, the Seahawks’ offense had a short field and proved to have no problem jumping out to an early lead. Wilson connected with Metcalf on a 37-yard pass down the sideline on second down, then Carson took care of the rest. With a 5-yard reception and runs of 7, 3 and finally 1 yard, Carson got in the end zone to put Seattle ahead 7-0. It was his first rushing touchdown of the year but his fourth overall (he entered the game with three receiving TDs). It was also just the second of Seattle’s 16 TDs at the time to come on the ground.

The Seahawks’ defense built on its nice first series by forcing a three-and-out in its next opportunity. Although Fitzpatrick did throw a completion on third-and-4, it was called back for Miami’s QB making the pass past the line of scrimmage, resulting in a loss of down.

Seattle punted on its next drive, and while Miami got on the board with a 41-yard field goal by Sanders, the Dolphins had to settle for that after Neal blasted UW and O’Dea product Myles Gaskin on a screen pass for a stop on third down.

The Seahawks got those three points back with a 55-yard field goal by Jason Myers with seven seconds left in the quarter.

SEA – Chris Carson 1 rush (Jason Myers kick), 10:00
MIA – Jason Sanders 41 FG, 2:37
SEA – Myers 55 FG, :10

Second quarter

Seahawks 17, Dolphins 9

The Seahawks allowed the Dolphins to get within a point before letting Wilson cook his way to his first touchdown pass of the day.

With less than 30 seconds left before halftime, Wilson connected with David Moore on a huge 57-yard pass. Seattle was able to keep moving closer and closer to the end zone and keep stopping the clock until Wilson found running back Travis Homer on a 3-yard pass, pushing the Hawks up eight points after the Dolphins had briefly threatened their lead.

The Seahawks’ offense had come up empty on a promising drive in the middle of the quarter despite multiple third-down conversions on receptions by veteran tight end Greg Olsen. The biggest reason was an ill-fated fourth-and-3 attempt from the Miami 18 as a whole host of Dolphins defenders met at Wilson for a sack. It was the first time in 11 red zone trips this season at that point that Seattle failed to score.

The biggest news on that drive, however, was that Carson fumbled and stayed down, leaving the game to be evaluated for a concussion. He was deemed questionable to return near the end of the quarter. Seattle could ill afford losing Carson as No. 2 running back Carlos Hyde was inactive with a shoulder injury, and luckily he returned after halftime.

Miami had field goals by Sanders early and late in the second to cut Seattle’s lead to 10-9.

The Seahawks had a defensive highlight, at least, with defensive tackles Bryan Mone and Anthony Rush sandwiching Ryan Fitzpatrick for a sack on Miami’s last series of the first half.

Though Wilson had just one touchdown pass in the first half, he was an impressive 17 for 23 for 231 yards. Metcalf led Seattle receivers with 74 yards on three catches, while Olsen had a team-high five receptions for 35 yards before halftime.

MIA – Sanders 29 FG, 11:28
MIA – Sanders 45 FG, :29
SEA – Travis Homer 3 pass from Russell Wilson (Myers kick), :03

Third quarter

Seahawks 17, Dolphins 12

The bend-don’t-break Seahawks defense was in full effect in the third quarter, as the only scoring for either team was Sanders’ fourth field goal of the day.

Seattle’s offense surprisingly needed all the help it could get. Though the Seahawks were perfect in the red zone entering the game, they came up empty handed on a red zone trip for the second time Sunday when a Wilson pass intended for Metcalf in the end zone was picked off by Miami’s Xavien Howard. It was just the second time Wilson had been picked off all season, and the first to come on a pass that didn’t hit his intended receiver’s hands.

Howard’s interception came one play after Freddie Swain caught a pass from Wilson in the back of the end zone but couldn’t keep his foot inbounds.

The Seahawks had to punt for the second time on the day on their drive after Miami’s fourth field goal, putting pressure on the defense to preserve a five-point lead. At least Michael Dickson flipped the field for Seattle with a 58-yard punt, leaving Miami to start its series at its own 16.

MIA – Sanders 43 FG, 4:12

Fourth quarter

Seahawks 31, Dolphins 23

Once again, Seattle’s defense made a stand before Miami could find the end zone. On third-and-3 from the Seahawks 9, rookie defensive end Alton Robinson stopped Gaskin for a 2-yard loss, forcing the Dolphins to turn to Sanders for a fifth field goal, which he hit from 29 yards out.

The good news was that Seattle’s offense continued to prevent Miami from scoring its first touchdown of the day. The bad news was that Seattle’s offense had struggled so much that the Dolphins were in position to take the lead with just one more field goal.

Wilson appeared to take that as a cue, however.

First, Wilson got Tyler Lockett factored into the game for the first time all day, hitting him for passes of 9 and 30 yards on the first and third plays of the series, respectively. And inside the final six minutes of play, Wilson connected with Moore in the back corner of the end zone for a 17-yard score, pushing Seattle ahead 24-15.

Shortly after, Shaquill Griffin made his second pick of the season, giving Seattle the chance to lock up its fourth victory of 2020.

Wilson and the offense took care of that right away, with Metcalf hauling in a 32-yard reception to get Seattle to the 1, where Carson plunged in for his second TD of the game.

Down 16 points, Miami finally found the end zone on a 10-yard Fitzpatrick run with less than two minutes to go, and a pass to Preston Williams on the two-point conversion cut Seattle’s advantage to eight points. But the Seahawks recovered the ensuing onside kick and got a first down by about as little as humanly possible on a Carson run on third-and-3 to clinch the victory.

MIA – Sanders 29 FG, 8:35
SEA – David Moore 17 pass from Wilson (Myers kick), 5:30
SEA – Carson 1 run (Myers kick), 4:00
MIA – Ryan Fitzpatrick 10 run (Preston Williams pass from Fitzpatrick), 1:55

Rost: Seahawks’ D, far cry from last time they were 4-0, takes step forward

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