O’Neil: Seahawks’ perfect record is no mirage because of their offense
The Seahawks allowed a season-low in passing yards on Sunday in Miami.
OK, Ryan Fitzpatrick still threw for 315 yards, but that’s an improvement over the hemorrhages Seattle’s secondary suffered the first three weeks.
The Seahawks held the Dolphins to just one touchdown, too. That was in addition to five field goals, but still, Miami didn’t reach the end zone until there was fewer than 2 minutes remaining in the game.
But while Seattle’s defense was a few notches below dominant in Sunday’s 31-23, it was at least recognizable. More importantly, it was enough for Seattle to improve to 4-0 for only the second time in franchise history.
Perfect seems like a strange adjective to hang on Seattle’s start given just how many yards Seattle has allowed, but perfect is exactly what Seattle’s record is. That record is not a mirage, but a reflection of how well Seattle’s offense is functioning.
That starts with Russell Wilson, who threw for a season-high 360 yards against the Dolphins and two more scoring passes, giving him 16 this season. It continues with DK Metcalf, who had 106 yards receiving, demonstrating all of the different ways he can impose his will upon a defense. He gained 37 yards on a catch in which he ran by the coverage, then in the second half gained 32 by running through the Dolphins’ defense on a receiver screen.
David Moore might have had Seattle’s two biggest catches in the game. His 57-yard reception in the final minute of the second quarter set up Seattle’s touchdown just before halftime and his 17-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter gave Seattle cushion after the Dolphins had cut Seattle’s lead to two points.
The Seahawks’ offense was so good that they led by 16 points in the fourth quarter on the road in a game where it failed to score on two of its red-zone possessions. Seattle went for it on fourth-and-3 in the second quarter and gave up a sack, and then in the third quarter Wilson threw a pass that was intercepted in the end zone, a scoring chance fizzling after Seattle drove 63 yards to begin the second half.
Seattle’s defense, meanwhile, it was good enough. It forced Miami to settle for a field goal each of the first two times the Dolphins got the ball inside the Seattle 20. More importantly, the Seahawks kept the backdoor locked tight, refusing to let anyone get behind them. That was a glaring problem in Week 3 against Dallas when Seattle’s secondary suffered primary burns, giving up four completions of more than 40 yards.
Miami’s longest completion on Sunday was 26 yards, and it only had two plays that gained 20 yards or more. The Dolphins’ only touchdown was scored on a quarterback scramble with less than 2 minutes remaining. After scoring on the two-point conversion, the Dolphins never saw the ball again.
The defense may not have been great, but it was good enough for Seattle to reach 4-0 for the first time in 2013. You remember that team, right? Everyone does.
Well, that team came much closer to losing in its first four games than this one. That sounds surprising especially when you consider needed to stop Cam Newton from the 1-yard line to beat the Patriots in Week 2 and intercepted Dak Prescott in the end zone to preserve a Week 3 win.
We all remember how good the Seahawks were in 2013, especially with that defense.
The Seahawks beat the Panthers 12-7 in Week 1, but only after Earl Thomas forced a fumble inside the Seattle 10 with about 5 minutes left. The Seahawks needed a defensive touchdown to force overtime at Houston in Week 4, a game they won despite only having 90 yards passing in the game.
Wilson had more than that in the first quarter of this week’s game in Miami, and while Seattle has a long way to go before it matches the success we saw in 2013, Seattle couldn’t have started this season any better in terms of its record, which is – yes – perfect.